Sports World News Daniel Snyder conducts ‘shadow investigation’ of whistleblowers, House committee finds
Furthermore, Snyder hired private investigators and attorneys to unearth inappropriate emails and evidence in an attempt to convince the NFL and Beth Wilkinson, who are conducting a league-sponsored investigation into of sexual harassment within the organization, that Snyder’s longtime team president Bruce Allen bears primary responsibility for any problems in the workplace.
The preliminary findings were detailed in a 29-page memo from Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (DN.Y.), chair of the committee, sent to committee members ahead of the hearing. on Capitol Hill Wednesday about the Commander’s workplace where NFL commissioner Roger Goodell works. is expected to testify under oath. Snyder declined to participate, protesting the date and terms.
“This memo describes evidence discovered by the Commission that demonstrates that although publicly, the NFL and Commanders have touted the hiring of a reputable DC attorney. [Wilkinson] In order to conduct an internal investigation into the Commanders’ malicious workplace, Commanders’ owner, Daniel Snyder, has privately launched a shadow investigation in an apparent attempt to dislodge the Commanders. credibility of his accusers in the eyes of the NFL and provide an alternative target for the investigation,” Maloney wrote in her post of the memo. “Bounded together by an agreement to pursue a common interest and a common legal strategy, the NFL and the Commanders ultimately buried Ms. Wilkinson’s findings.”
Group representatives and attorneys for Snyder did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday morning. An NFL spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the committee’s findings Wednesday.
The hearing comes a day after The Washington Post reported that an employee of the group accuse Snyder of sexually harassing and assaulting her in April 2009, three months before the team agreed to pay the woman 1.6 million dollars as part of a confidentiality agreement, according to legitimate correspondence obtained by The Post. Snyder called the woman’s claims “futile”. and said the group had agreed to settle only under the guidance of an insurance company.
Snyder’s attorneys used their shadow investigation to create a 100-page profile with emails, text messages, phone records and social media posts from journalists , victims and witnesses who have made credible allegations of harassment against the Commanders,” Maloney wrote in the 29-page memo.
The dossier was compiled by representatives for Snyder, which, according to the commission’s investigation, includes Post reporters who detailed allegations of workplace sexual harassment by the group, and attorneys Lisa Banks. and Debra Katz, who represent more than 40 former employees of the group.
“Mr. Snyder’s legal team made numerous presentations to the NFL during Ms. Wilkinson’s investigation, including one involving a 100-page PowerPoint slide detailing personal communications practices. and social networks of journalists and former Washington Post employees,” Maloney’s memo said.
That 100-slide portfolio was made up of “information obtained through abusive litigation practices and private investigators targeting victims and witnesses about the Commanders’ toxic work environment.” ,” said the committee. Snyder’s goal, Maloney wrote, “seemed to be a satirical narrative to present to the NFL showing that he was not responsible for the Commander’s toxic work environment but was instead the victim.” of a coordinated smear campaign.”
NFL $10 million team fine July last year, based on the results of Wilkinson’s investigation. The league also announced later that Snyder would hand over control of the franchise’s day-to-day operations to his wife, Tanya, the team’s co-CEO, for an indefinite period. She has represented the team at league meetings ever since.
The commission’s investigation found that Snyder and his attorneys sent private investigators to the homes of former team cheerleaders to search for derogatory information about Allen and review more than 400,000 emails. on Allen’s inactive team account in an attempt to convince the NFL that Allen was “responsible for the team’s toxic work culture. ”
Snyder fired Allen after a decade as team president in December 2019. Allen was not immediately available for comment.
Attorneys representing Snyder provided Wilkinson’s company and the NFL with Allen’s emails, the committee found. An attorney for Snyder “identified the inappropriate Bruce Allen emails specifically in an attempt to demonstrate that Bruce Allen created a toxic environment at Washington Command,” Maloney’s memo said.
Some of those emails later appeared in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times, including several in which then-Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden used racist, homophobic language gay and incoherent during the seven years he spent with Allen while Gruden worked for ESPN. Gruden resigns from the Raiders after the emails were revealed.
Tanya Snyder tell NFL franchise owners at a federation meeting in New York in October for which neither she nor her husband was responsible for the leaked emails, multiple people present at that meeting said at the time.
Gruden sued the NFL in November, accused the federation and Goodell of using the leaked emails to “publicly sabotage Gruden’s career” and pressure him to resign. The NFL has said that it did not leak Gruden’s emails.
The league is currently conducting a second investigation into Snyder. supervised by attorney Mary Jo White. Goodell pledged to publish those findings, after he refused to publish Wilkinson’s findings and said that Wilkinson had only submitted an oral report to the federation.
Maloney’s summary of the congressional investigation notes that the NFL’s original contract with Wilkinson called for her to submit a written report and make recommendations, but the league subsequently “changed the your plan”. Maloney’s memo accuses the team and the NFL of obstructing investigations by both Wilkinson and the congressional committee.
The memo also cites instances where Snyder took no action against coaches and senior staff but punished female employees for engaging in consensual relationships with male employees. David Pauken, the team’s former chief executive officer, told the committee that when Snyder learned that a coach had been spying on a public relations officer, Snyder refused to take action against that coach and instead which directs that PR staff “stay away from that coach”.
Pauken also testified that Snyder fired female employees who had consensual relationships with male team members or team employees. He cited the firing of two cheerleaders because his relationship with former cast member Chris Cooley was no longer relevant.
“The female staff member was fired, the male employee – with no other consequences than he was restricted from having additional sex with the cheerleaders,” Maloney’s synopsis said.
Another former COO of the group, Brian Lafemina, testified that when Snyder was notified of sexual harassment complaints against former broadcaster Larry Michael, he denied the allegations by saying that Michael was a “lover” who “won’t hurt anyone”. Michael later resigned.
Former team executive Jason Friedman told the committee that the team’s culture “glorifies drinking and playing with women”.
The committee had previously detailed Friedman’s allegation of financial impropriety against the group in a letter to the Federal Trade Commission. The team has denied those allegations.
At a Congressional roundtable in February, Tiffani Johnston, a former cheerleader and marketing director of the team, tell the committee members that Snyder molested her at a team dinner, placing his hand on her thigh and forcing her toward his limo. Snyder called the accusations directed against him “totally lies.”