Home / Articles / Dan Snyder conducted 'shadow investigation' in attempt to discredit accusers, House committee says - The Athletic

Dan Snyder conducted 'shadow investigation' in attempt to discredit accusers, House committee says - The Athletic

Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder and his legal advisers conducted a "shadow investigation" and built a "dossier" in an apparent...

  • Posted on 22nd Jun, 2022 16:19 PM
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Dan Snyder conducted 'shadow investigation' in attempt to discredit accusers, House committee says - The Athletic Image

Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder and his legal advisers conducted a "shadow investigation" and built a "dossier" in an apparent attempt to discredit accusers, reporters and others central to allegations of extensive workplace misconduct, according to findings from the House Oversight and Reform Committee that were released Wednesday.

The side investigation occurred as attorney Beth Wilkinson and her legal team were tasked with investigating Washington’s organization on behalf of the NFL. According to the 29-page document from the Oversight Committee, Snyder’s attorneys made efforts to "convince the Wilkinson law firm that Mr. Snyder was not responsible for the toxic workplace culture and that instead, it was Bruce Allen, the team’s former president, who should have been the focus."

Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney released the document to members of the committee ahead of Wednesday morning’s hearing designed to explore the historically wrought culture within the Washington organization. The committee’s findings include allegations that Snyder, in addition to the use of private investigators, "abused the subpoena power of federal courts to obtain private emails, call logs, and communications in an effort to uncover the sources of the Washington Post’s exposés, undermine their credibility, and impugn their motives."

A statement from a spokesperson on behalf of Snyder said the release of the findings demonstrated "the outcome of the House Oversight Committee’s investigation into the Washington Commanders was predetermined from the beginning."

"The committee’s decision to release a ‘report’ and introduce legislation prior to the hearing is proof-positive this was always going to be little more than a politically-charged show trial, not about uncovering the truth," the statement reads. "Hopefully, the committee will utilize its resources going forward for more pressing national matters, instead of an issue a football team addressed years ago."

Snyder will not attend the hearing, citing a prior overseas obligation among his objections. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will participate virtually.

The Oversight Committee’s investigation includes information regarding Snyder’s handling of harassment allegations. The team’s former chief operating officer from 2001 to 2006, David Pauken, testified to the committee that upon learning a member of the team’s coaching staff had “groped” a public relations employee, Snyder declined to take action against the coach and instead declared that the employee who had been groped "stay away from the coach."

The committee’s investigation also alleges that Snyder and his representatives sought derogatory information regarding Allen, whom Snyder fired in December 2019. They also collected over 400,000 emails from Allen’s inactive Commanders email account and provided them to the NFL and the Wilkinson law firm during the league’s investigation.

Some of the emails, including exchanges between Allen, former Raiders head coach Jon Gruden and NFL general counsel Jeff Pash, later became public in various news reports. "Mr. Snyder’s efforts to target his former team president were apparently successful," the committee document states. "The NFL launched a ‘targeted review’ of Mr. Allen’s emails, which involved examining troubling exchanges between Mr. Allen, former Raiders Coach Jon Gruden, and Jeff Pash."

Goodell will state in his opening remarks, which The Athletic obtained, that “the workplace in Washington was unprofessional and unacceptable in numerous respects: bullying, widespread disrespect toward colleagues, use of demeaning language, public embarrassment, and harassment.”

Goodell also will detail various changes within the organization since the initial allegations surfaced based on several recommendations from the league, and subsequently, "the workplace at the Commanders today bears no resemblance to the workplace that has been described to this committee."

The league fined Snyder and the Washington organization $10 million, and the owner has not attended league or committee meetings. Goodell maintains that, "to the best of my knowledge, has not been involved in day-to-day operations at the Commanders" despite contradictory evidence.

Dan Snyder conducted 'shadow investigation' in attempt to discredit accusers, House committee says - The Athletic View Story

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