Daniel Snyder conducted “shadow investigations” into accusers, according to the House Committee


Daniel Snyder conducted "shadow investigations" into accusers, according to the House Committee

Placeholder when loading item promotions

Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder and members of his legal team conducted a “shadow investigation” and compiled a “dossier” targeting former team members, their attorneys and journalists in order to discredit his accusers and spread the blame on allegations common misconduct within the team, according to the findings of the inquiry conducted by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

Additionally, Snyder hired private investigators and attorneys to uncover inappropriate emails and evidence aimed at convincing the NFL and Beth Wilkinson, who was conducting a league-sponsored investigation into sexual harassment at the organization, that Snyder’s longtime team president Bruce Allen was primarily responsible for all workplace problems.

The preliminary findings were released in a 29-page memo by Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (DN.Y.), the committee chair, to other committee members ahead of Wednesday’s Capitol Hill hearing on the commanders’ workplace, the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, detailed to testify under oath. Snyder declined to participate, objecting to the date and terms.

“This memorandum describes evidence uncovered by the committee showing that the NFL and the commanders, although publicly, have touted the hiring of a respected DC attorney [Wilkinson] To privately conduct an internal investigation into Commanders’ toxic workplace, Commanders owner Daniel Snyder launched a shadow investigation to discredit his accusers in the eyes of the NFL and to offer an alternative target for the investigation,” Maloney wrote in her memo. “Bound by an agreement to pursue a common interest and common legal strategy, the NFL and the Commanders ultimately buried Ms. Wilkinson’s findings.”

Team representatives and an attorney for Snyder did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday morning. Asked for comment on the committee’s findings, an NFL spokesman referred to Goodell’s prepared remarks for Wednesday’s hearing.

The document reveals details of the 2009 sexual assault allegation against Daniel Snyder

“It took a lot of courage on the part of many to relive their painful experiences and tell their individual stories,” Goodell said in part. “Nobody should experience jobs like the ones they describe, especially in the National Football League. I can tell every victim in no uncertain terms that their willingness to come forward has contributed to a vastly improved workplace.

“I realize that the Washington workplace was unprofessional and unacceptable on many counts: bullying, widespread disrespect towards colleagues, use of degrading language, public embarrassment and harassment. In addition, for an extended period of time, the commanders had a woefully deficient staff function, particularly in relation to reporting practices and record keeping.”

The hearing comes a day after the Washington Post reported that an employee of the team accused Snyder of sexually harassing and assaulting her in April 2009, three months before the team agreed to pay the woman $1.6 million in im Payable under a confidential settlement, according to legal correspondence received from the Post. Snyder has called the woman’s claims “baseless” and said the team only agreed to a settlement at the direction of an insurance company.

“Mr. Snyder’s attorneys used their shadow investigation to compile a 100-slide dossier of emails, text messages, phone records and social media posts from journalists, victims and witnesses supporting credible public allegations of harassment against the commanders had raised.” Maloney wrote in the 29-page memo.

The dossier put together by Snyder’s representatives, according to the committee’s investigation, included Post reporters detailing allegations of sexual harassment in the team’s workplace and attorneys Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, representing more than 40 former team employees.

“Mr. Snyder’s legal team made several presentations to the NFL during Ms. Wilkinson’s investigation, including one that included a 100-page PowerPoint slide detailing the private communications and social media activities of journalists and former employees were,” read Maloney’s memo.

This 100-slide dossier was created from “information obtained through abusive litigation tactics and private investigators targeting victims and witnesses to the commanders’ toxic work environment,” the committee noted. Snyder’s goal, Maloney wrote, “appears to have been to present the NFL with an exculpatory narrative that shows he was not responsible for the commanders’ toxic work environment, but was the victim of a coordinated smear campaign.”

The NFL fined the team $10 million last July based on the results of Wilkinson’s investigation. The league also announced at the time that Snyder would hand over control of the day-to-day operations of the franchise to his wife Tanya, the team’s co-CEO, for an indefinite period. Since then, she has represented the team at league meetings.

The committee’s investigation found that Snyder and his attorneys sent private investigators to the homes of former team cheerleaders to seek derogatory information about Allen and combed through more than 400,000 emails on Allen’s dormant team account to convince the NFL that Allen “responsible for the team’s toxic work culture.”

What to Expect When Roger Goodell Testifies in House Commanders Inquiry

Snyder fired Allen after a decade as team president in December 2019. Allen was not immediately available for comment.

Attorneys representing Snyder made the Allen emails available to Wilkinson’s firm and the NFL, the committee found. An attorney for Snyder “identified Bruce Allen’s specific inappropriate emails to demonstrate that Bruce Allen had created a toxic environment at the Washington Commanders,” Maloney’s memo said.

Several of those emails later appeared in the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, including some in which then-Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden, during his seven-year correspondence with Allen while Gruden was working for ESPN, used racist, homophobic and used misogynist language. Gruden resigned from the Raiders after the emails broke.

Tanya Snyder told other NFL franchise owners at a league meeting in New York in October that neither she nor her husband were responsible for the leaked emails, according to several people present at the meeting at the time.

Gruden sued the NFL in November, accusing the league and Goodell of using leaked emails to “publicly sabotage Gruden’s career” and urge him to resign. The NFL has said it would not leak Gruden’s emails.

The league is now conducting a second investigation into Snyder, which is being overseen by attorney Mary Jo White. Goodell has pledged to release those results after refusing to release Wilkinson’s results, saying that Wilkinson only provided an oral report to the league.

Maloney’s summary of the congressional investigation noted that the NFL’s original contract with Wilkinson required them to provide a written report and make recommendations, but the league later “changed its plan.” Maloney’s memo blames the team and the NFL for obstructing investigations by both Wilkinson and the congressional panel.

The memo also cites instances where Snyder took no action against coaches and senior staff, but penalized female staff for engaging in consensual relationships with male staff. David Pauken, the team’s former chief operating officer, told the committee that when Snyder learned that a coach had groped a public relations officer, Snyder refused to take action against the coach, instead ordering that the public relations officer be “dated coach stays away”.

Pauken also testified that Snyder fired female employees who had consensual relationships with male members of the team or its employees. He cited the firing of two cheerleaders over relationships with former tight end Chris Cooley.

“The female employees were fired, the male employee was — there were no consequences other than being barred from additional sex with the cheerleaders,” reads Maloney’s summary.

Another former team COO, Brian Lafemina, testified that when Snyder was briefed on sexual harassment complaints against former broadcaster Larry Michael, he denied the allegations, saying Michael was a “sweetheart” who “didn’t know anyone.” would hurt”. Michael later resigned.

Former team leader Jason Friedman told the committee that the team’s culture “glorifies drinking and womanhood.”

The committee previously detailed Friedman’s allegations of financial irregularities against the team in a letter to the Federal Trade Commission. The team denied these allegations.

At a congressional roundtable in February, Tiffani Johnston, a former cheerleader and marketing manager for the team, told committee members that Snyder molested her at a team dinner by placing his hand on her thigh and pushing her toward his limousine. Snyder called the allegations leveled directly at him “outright lies.”

Tiffani Johnston, a former Washington Commanders team employee, testified on February 3 that team owner Dan Snyder molested her at a team dinner. (Video: The Washington Post)
You May Also Like