Daniel Snyder led the 'shadow investigation' of the accused, the panel concludes

Daniel Snyder led the ‘shadow investigation’ of the accused, the panel concludes

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Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder and members of his legal team conducted a “shadow investigation” and compiled “files” targeting former team employees, their lawyers and journalists in an attempt to discredit his prosecutors and shift the blame after allegations of widespread misconduct. behavior in the team. workplace, according to the findings of an investigation conducted by the House Oversight and Reform Commission.

Moreover, Snyder hired private investigators and lawyers to uncover inappropriate emails and evidence in order to convince the NFL and Beth Wilkinson, who led the investigation into sexual harassment in a league-sponsored organization, that Snyder’s longtime team president Bruce Allen was primarily responsible for any what issues in the workplace.

Preliminary findings are described in detail in the 29-page memorandum of the Republican Carolin B. Maloney (DN.I.), the committee’s chairwoman, is expected to testify under oath to fellow committee members ahead of Wednesday’s hearing on Capitol Hill on Wednesday about the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s post. Snyder refused to participate, opposing the date and conditions.

Live updates: Roger Goodell will testify before Congress on the culture of the commander’s job

“This memorandum describes the evidence uncovered by the Committee which shows that, although publicly, the NFL and commanders praised the engagement of a prominent DC attorney [Wilkinson] to conduct an internal investigation into the toxic workplace of Commanders, privately, Commanders owner Daniel Snider has launched a shadow investigation in an apparent attempt to discredit his prosecutors in the eyes of the NFL and offer an alternative target for investigation, “Malonei wrote. . Note. “Linked to an agreement of common interest and a common legal strategy, the NFL and its commanders eventually buried Mrs. Wilkinson’s findings.”

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

“Many needed considerable courage to relive their painful experiences and tell their individual stories,” Goodell said in part. “No one should experience jobs as they described, especially not in the National Football League. I can unequivocally say to every victim that their willingness to step in has contributed to a significant improvement in the workplace.

“It is clear to me that the workplace in Washington was unprofessional and unacceptable in many aspects: harassment, widespread disrespect for colleagues, use of degrading language, public embarrassment and harassment. Moreover, over a long period of time, commanders have had a terribly deficient human resources function, especially in terms of reporting and record-keeping practices. ”

The document reveals details of charges of sexual assault against Daniel Snyder in 2009

The hearing came a day after The Washington Post reported that a team employee accused Snyder of sexual harassment and assault in April 2009, three months before the team agreed to pay the woman $ 1.6 million as part of a confidential settlement, according to obtained legal correspondence. from The Post. Snyder called the lawsuits of that woman “undeserved” and said that the team agreed to the settlement only with the instructions of the insurance company.

“Mr. Snyder’s lawyers used their shadow investigation to create 100-slide files with emails, text messages, phone notes and social media posts of journalists, victims and witnesses who made credible public allegations of harassment against the commander,” Malonei wrote in a 29-page letter.

The files compiled by Snyder’s representatives, according to the committee’s investigation, included Post journalists who detailed allegations of sexual harassment in the team’s workplace and lawyers Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, who represent more than 40 former team employees.

“Sir. 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 communication and social media activities of the Washington Post and former employees,” Meloni said. letter.

The 100-slide dossier was made from “information obtained through the misuse of litigation tactics and private investigators targeting victims and witnesses of the commander’s toxic work environment,” the committee found. Snyder’s goal, Maloney wrote, “seems to have devised a liberating narrative to present to the NFL, showing that he was not responsible for the commander’s toxic work environment, but was a victim of a coordinated defamation campaign.”

The NFL fined the team $ 10 million last July, based on the findings of Wilkinson’s investigation. The league then announced that Snyder would leave control of the franchise’s day-to-day operations indefinitely to his wife, Tanja, co-executive director of the team. Since then, she has represented the team at league meetings.

The committee’s investigation revealed that Snyder and his lawyers sent private investigators to the homes of former team fans who sought derogatory information about Allen and reviewed more than 400,000 emails on Allen’s inactive team account in an attempt to convince the NFL that Allen was “responsible for toxic team work culture. ”

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

Lawyers representing Snyder gave Wilkinson’s firm and the NFL Allen’s emails, the committee determined. Snyder’s lawyer “identified specific inappropriate emails from Bruce Allen in an attempt to show that Bruce Allen created a toxic environment in the Washington Commanders,” Maloney’s memorandum 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 John Gruden used racist, homophobic and misogynistic language during seven years of correspondence with Allen while Gruden worked for ESPN. Gruden resigned from the Raiders after the emails were discovered.

Tanja Snyder told her fellow NFL franchise owners at a league meeting in New York in October that neither she nor her husband were responsible for the leaked emails, several people present at the meeting said 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 pressuring him to resign. The NFL said it had not leaked Gruden’s emails.

The League is now conducting a second investigation against Snyder, supervised by attorney Mary Joe White. Goodell promised to publish those findings, after he refused to publish Wilkinson’s findings and said that Wilkinson submitted only an oral report to the league.

Maloney’s summary of the congressional investigation states that the original NFL contract with Wilkinson required her to submit a written report and make recommendations, but that the league later “changed its plan”. Maloney’s memorandum accuses the team and the NFL of obstructing the investigations of both Wilkinson and the congressional council.

The letter also cites cases in which Snyder did not take any action against coaches and senior staff, but punished employed women for engaging in consensual relationships with male staff. David Pauken, the team’s former chief operating officer, told the committee that Snyder, when he learned that the coach had touched a public relations officer, refused to take action against the coach and instead ordered PR officers to “stay away from the coach”.

Pauken also testified that Snyder fired employed women who were in consensual relationships with male team members or his staff. He stated that two fans were fired due to their relationship with former team Chris Cooley.

“Employees were fired, and a male worker – there were no consequences except that he was banned from having additional sex with cheerleaders,” Maloney’s summary reads.

Another former executive director of the team, Brian Lafemina, testified that Snyder, when informed about the complaints of sexual harassment against former broadcaster Larry Michael, rejected the accusations, saying that Michael was “love” that “would not hurt anyone”. Michael later resigned.

Former executive director of the team Jason Friedman told the committee that the team’s culture “glorifies drunkenness and femininity”.

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

At a congressional roundtable in February, Tiffany Johnston, a former cheerleader and team marketing manager, told board members that Snyder harassed her at a team dinner, putting his hand on her thigh and pushing her toward his limo. Snyder called the accusations made directly against him “open lies”.

Former Washington Commanders employee Tiffani Johnston testified on February 3 that team owner Den Snider mistreated her at a team dinner. (Video: The Washington Post)

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