Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder conducted a “shadow investigation” into allegations that he had promoted a toxic work culture in his organization, and worked closely with the NFL to monitor and eventually bury the findings of the official internal investigation. A Democrat-led committee in the U.S. House of Representatives said Wednesday.
The U.S. House of Commons Oversight Committee released a 29-page memo this morning on its findings, backed by more than 600 pages of assurances, on the morning of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Among other allegations described in the letter of formal notice, the Committee found evidence during the eight-month investigation that Snyder had used the power of subpoena available to foreign litigants to obtain correspondence from former President Bruce Allen and other former employees. According to the memo, the goal was to give the NFL a case that Allen was guilty of the team’s toxic work environment and that former employees planned to disparage him.
The committee says Snyder used a mutual interest agreement between commanders and the NFL to “try to lead the way” to an independent investigation into a team led by lawyer Beth Wilkinson and to discredit accusers, including those mentioned in reports published in The Washington. Post providing “derogatory information” to the NFL and Wilkinson.
Snyder has repeatedly refused to appear at Wednesday’s hearing, telling the committee he intends to leave the country on business.
When asked by the NFL on Wednesday, the NFL provided the NFL Committee with a copy of Goodell ‘s remarks, in which it reiterated that “Washington’ s job was unprofessional and unacceptable in many ways” and that “today ‘s job is not similar to the job described to the Commission.”
Representatives of Snyder and the commanders did not immediately comment to ESPN on Wednesday. A spokesman for the committee’s Republican rating member, James Comer (R-Kentucky), who has explicitly said Congress should not involve commanders in the investigation, declined to comment on the memo on Wednesday.
According to a memo written by commission chairman Carolyn Maloney (D-New York), Snyder and her attorneys compiled a “100-slide file” in November 2020 that “appears to be based on private text messages, emails, phone logs, and phone transcripts and social media posts from nearly 50 people.”
Snyder’s lawyers submitted 100 slides, including information about Washington Post journalists, to the NFL and the Wilkinson team, according to the memo, with the goal of “compiling an apologetic narrative for submission to the NFL showing that he was not responsible for the Commanders’ toxic work environment but instead he is the victim of a coordinated defamation campaign. “
In the memorandum, the Committee’s investigators describe in detail how Snyder’s lawyer obtained some of the private information used in the file. In 2020, Snyder filed a defamation lawsuit against Media Entertainment Arts Worldwide in India. As part of that case, Snyder used “a powerful litigation tool available to foreign litigants to force telephone calls, emails, and other documents from former employees and others,” the memo said.
“Mr Snyder ‘s careful investigation [petitions] He points out that he did not focus on discovering the sources of the MEAWW articles, but on those behind the Washington Post ‘s revelation, “the memo states.
The committee’s investigators list several former employees who were summoned, as well as Jessica McCloughan, the wife of Scot McCloughan, the former director general of Commander. The Committee’s investigators point out how the federal judge ruled that McCloughan’s requests for documents went “much further than anything related to defamatory MEAWW articles.”
The judge called the summons “false, unnecessarily invasive” and “it may be less of a bona fide attempt to obtain evidence to support India ‘s claims than an attempt to burden and harass people previously involved in Washington football.
The committee’s investigators say Snyder would also “target” Allen with a petition to Arizona, in which Snyder’s lawyers told the court that the documents show that Allen was the source of The Washington Post’s reports. Investigators note that Snyder’s lawyers collected 400,000 emails from Allen’s passive Commander email account and forwarded them to the NFL and Wilkinson.
NFL representatives told committee staff that Snyder’s attorneys “identified specific inappropriate Bruce Allen emails in an attempt to show that Bruce Allen had created a toxic environment in the Washington commander,” which prompted a “targeted review” of NFL Allen emails, which in turn led to an inquiry into the “worrying debates between Mr Allen, former Raiders coach Jon Gruden and [NFL lawyer] Jeff Pash, “says the memo. These emails led to Gruden being fired after they were leaked to the media last year.
The letter of formal notice states that the NFL received at least 16 briefings from Wilkinson’s law firm about his findings between August 2020 and June 2021, including at least four written briefings, and that Goodell was given a “personal review” at least twice. Goodell said in his prepared remarks that “we did not receive a written report of Ms Wilkinson’s findings.”
The memo also describes allegations made by David Pauken, chief executive of the commanders from 2001 to 2006, who told the committee that Snyder was aware of sexual harassment against women workers but refused to do anything, and personally decided to dismiss women workers who had consensual relationships with men and sexualized and derogatory girls.
According to the committee’s memo, “Pauken acknowledged that Mr Snyder was responsible for the overly sexual nature of the cheerleading program and ridiculed Mr Pauken for opposing his vision.”
In a statement to Congress, Pauken said he did not like “the way the NFL sexualizes stimulants.” Pauken admitted that Snyder, along with another team leader, demanded that the team offer sponsors and suite owners access to cheerleader photo shoots as an “experience that could be sold.”
“I never allowed that,” Pauken admitted.
Pauken also described how Snyder repeatedly questioned Pauken’s sexuality, asking Pauken if he “liked girls.” Pauken explained in his statement, “That everyone who likes girls likes cheerleaders, and if you don’t like it, if you don’t like cheerleaders, you might not like girls. That was my understanding of where he was going.”
Pauken also described how Snyder “objectified Commander’s cheerleaders and made brutal comments about their physical appearance,” according to the committee’s memo. When Pauken was called to Snyder’s box before the game, he admitted how Snyder remarked to a friend, “Do you think Dave is gay?” to which a friend answered, “Yes, he must be gay.”
According to Pauken, “Snyder would say yes, he has to be gay. As ugly as these cheerleaders are, Pauken, are you gay? You have to be gay. How can you have such a stimulus team?”
According to the memo, the committee found evidence that Snyder had ordered the dismissal of two cheerleaders with former casual Chris Cooley for “entering into a romantic relationship”. Pauken admitted that when he found out about the relationship, he shared it with Snyder, who decided to fire both encouragement girls.
“The female employee was fired, but the male employee had no consequences other than being banned from having sex with stimulant girls,” Pauken said.
The committee’s memo states: “Snyder’s decision was part of a pattern of dismissal of women who consensually had sex with male members of the team’s football operations in order to ‘minimize distractions and
temptation to players’.”
In his statement, Pauken also told committee investigators that when Snyder learned that a member of the team’s coaching team had fumbled with the public relations officer, Snyder refused to take action against the coach and ordered the fumbled employee to “keep away from the keepers.” coach. “
Pauken told the commission: “I knew the importance of things that were important to them [Snyder]. It was a new coach and we were not going to disturb that new coach. And so we were going to solve the problem as best we could. “
Another former CEO, Brian Lafemina, told Committee investigators on his resignation that in 2018 the subordinate had reported feeling uncomfortable interacting with former “Washington Commanders’ Voice” Larry Michael after Michael kissed him on the forehead. put her on the cheeks and commented on her appearance.
Lafemina testified that when she told Snyder, she replied, “Larry was a darling and that Larry wouldn’t hurt anyone.”
The committee staff members noted in their memo that Michael had been accused by several employees of sexual misconduct for several years and that, according to materials submitted to the NFL committee, he was left with a video in which he made obscene remarks about the commander’s trainee.
Michael resigned shortly after The Washington Post first filed charges against him in 2020.
The committee’s memo also shared details about former employee Jason Friedman, who accused the team of financial irregularities during his testimony and sent a letter to Congress saying he witnessed Snyder try to push another former employee into Tiffan’s Johnston waiting limousine. after Snyder put his hand on a woman’s thigh under a dinner table about 13 years ago.
Friedman told congressional investigators that the team’s culture “praised drinking and dealing with women” and that Snyder personally “pushed employees to drink too much,” the memo said.
“People were afraid of losing their jobs because they had seen so many others lose their jobs,” Friedman admitted.
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