Congress tells FTC that Commanders may have broken financial laws

The U.S. House Oversight & Reform Committee is indeed exploring potential financial improprieties within the Washington Commanders organization. The Committee now wants a federal agency to get involved.

According to the Washington Post, the Committee sent a 20-page letter to the Federal Trade Commission regarding allegations that the team may have withheld as much as $5 million in refundable deposits from season-ticket holders, and that the team may have hidden cash that was to be shared by all NFL franchises.

Former Washington employee Jason Friedman, who spent nearly a quarter-century with the organization, told the Committee that the team kept two sets of books, and that one set of financial information underreported ticket revenue to the league. The process of intentionally allocating revenue to the wrong event was known, according to Friedman, as “juice,” with the team allegedly spreading revenue that should have been shared with the league to non-NFL events at FedEx Field.

As bad as that sounds, it’s separate from an alleged scam to keep security deposits from season-ticket holders.

Friedman, according to the letter, “provided the Committee with information and documents indicating that the Commanders routinely withheld security deposits that should have been returned to customers who had purchased multiyear season tickets for specific seats, referred to as seat leases,” and that “team executives directed employees to establish roadblocks to prevent customers from obtaining the security deposits they were due — effectively allowing the team to retain that money.”

Author: Lucy Green