A Congressional committee is expanding the focus of its ongoing investigation into the Washington Commanders amid new accusations regarding how owner Dan Snyder and the front office tracked finances.
In an exclusive report by A.J. Perez of Front Office Sports, sources with knowledge of the ongoing investigation confirmed that "at least one person familiar with the team's financial health" has already spoken to committee investigators and the committee is now focused on whether the NFL franchise used "two books" of financial information to falsely represent the team's money situation.
Perez reports that the "timing and number of subpoenas," as well as the individuals targeted by the committee, wasn't "immediately known" at the time of publication on Thursday (March 31), but reiterated that investigators are "seeking through a series of interviews, most on the condition of anonymity, for fear of retaliation or because details of the investigation have not been made public."
Front Office Sports reports Snyder received a large debt waiver from the NFL's owners during the league's annual meeting last year, with a large portion of the money being used to finance the nearly $1 billion purchase of the remaining 40% of ownership that he didn't already possess.
The Congressional committee is reportedly attempting to access interviews and documents in relation to accusations that the franchise committed deceptive accounting practices, which violate the league's Constitution and Bylaws requiring all teams to submit a certified audit report each year.
Investigators were also notified about allegations that the Washington franchise had a pay disparity among male and female employees.
Last July, the then-Washington Football Team was fined $10 million as a result of the NFL's investigation into the franchise's workplace culture.
NFL.com confirmed the fine "will be used to support organizations committed to character education, anti-bullying, healthy relationships and related topics" at the time.
Additionally, Tanya Snyder, who was promoted to co-CEO just prior to the fine, was reported to oversee the franchise's day-to-day duties and represent the franchise at league functions as her husband turned his focus "on a new stadium plan and other matters," NFL.com reports.
Attorney Beth Wilkinson began an independent investigation into the Washington Football Team in July 2020 amid numerous accusations of sexual harassment by former employees during a 15-year span detailed in a column by the Washington Post published last summer.
In April 2021, Front Office Sports' reported the investigation examined former team employees and email accounts, which revealed "a toxic work environment and contain troubling exchanges, including nude photos and other inappropriate correspondence," a source with knowledge of the probe confirmed.
A specific exchange included Donald Wells, the franchise's first openly gay employee who previously directed the WFT's cheerleading squad for 12 years, who has publicly lobbied for Dan Snyder to be held accountable for years of workplace harassment that existed within the organization.
“They took advantage of (the cheerleaders) and did things to other people in the office, including me,” Wells told Front Office Sports. “What went on there was way worse than that (email). My gosh.”
However, the email exchange showed that Wells was implicit of that behavior.
“She is a fat cross-eyed, crazy chick,” Wells wrote from his WFT email account in September of 2007 after a member of the cheerleading team put in her notice via FOS. “… I am sure she will enjoy taking trashy pictures while she eats her big macs :).”
Wells said he didn't recall sending the email mentioned in FOS' report.
In March 2021, the NFL approved Snyder's application to buy out the franchise's minority owners.
Snyder's $450 million debt waiver was approved by the league's finance committee, an NFL spokesperson confirmed to ESPN on March 24, which was initially reported by Tyler Dunne of GoLongTD.com. The rest of the league's majority owners will vote during the NFL's annual meeting next week on whether to approve the deal, with Snyder needing approval from 24 of the 32 owners for the transaction to pass.