Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder testified Thursday morning before a congressional committee that was investigating widespread allegations of workplace misconduct on his team, including claims by former employees that directly accused him of inappropriate behavior.
Snyder testified voluntarily under oath via videoconference from Israel, where, according to his lawyer, he celebrated the first anniversary of his mother’s death. Testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform ended with weeks of wrangling over the terms of his speech, culminating in an agreement announced early Thursday that Snyder would answer questions under oath.
Snyder’s testimony was given in private, and the information obtained may be released to the public at the committee’s discretion, although it was not clear if he planned to do so.
The topics on which Snyder would be questioned were expected to include direct allegations of misconduct against him. At a February congressional roundtable, a woman who was the team’s marketing and events coordinator revealed that Snyder put his hand on her hip during a work lunch in 2005 or 2006 and that she later resisted his attempts to push her into his limousine. Another former employee said on the same panel that Snyder hosted a work event at his Colorado home for which team leaders hired prostitutes. At the time, Snyder called the allegations “outright lies”.
Additionally, The Washington Post reported that a team employee accused Snyder of sexually harassing and assaulting her in 2009 before reaching a confidential $1.6 million settlement.
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Snyder was also expected to face questions from the committee about his findings that led the “shadow investigation” to prevent the NFL from examining his team’s workplace. The committee’s eight-month investigation found that Snyder used private detectives to harass and intimidate witnesses and created a 100-page dossier of victims, witnesses and journalists who shared “credible public allegations of harassment” against the team.
Snyder turned down two requests to appear at a June 22 hearing in which NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell testified before a committee. He cited a business conflict and later questioned the committee’s process as his attorneys negotiated the terms of his speech to Congress.
Snyder’s representatives argued that his voluntary appearance did not require him to be sworn in and disputed the committee’s position that a subpoena was necessary to force him to answer questions related to matters covered by non-disclosure agreements.
The committee, chaired by Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, Democrat of New York, agreed to allow Snyder to testify voluntarily after he pledged to give “full and complete testimony” about his role in creating a toxic working environment for commanders and any interference. with the NFL investigation “without the cloak of non-disclosure agreements or other confidentiality agreements,” according to a statement from a committee spokesman.
However, the committee said it was “ready to compel him to testify on any unanswered questions upon his return to the United States”, serving him with a subpoena.
The committee launched an investigation in October, four months later. The NFL fined the commanders $10 million. and asked Snyder to withdraw from most day-to-day operations upon completion of his own investigation into the team.
In June, Goodell testified that there had been a “substantial transformation” in the culture of commanders and the way people worked, adding that “the workplace for commanders today has nothing to do with the workplace that was described to this committee.”
But Goodell did not release a written report detailing the results of the league-sponsored investigation, prompting critics to accuse the NFL of covering up details of allegations of harassment and abuse against women, including some that may have included Snyder.
Last month, the committee released a 29-page memo detailing the findings of a study of the team’s operations, including Snyder’s role in undermining the NFL investigation.
Earlier this year, the NFL launched a second investigation into commanders based on allegations made against Snyder at the February congressional roundtable. In addition to the new allegations of workplace misconduct, the former longtime head of ticket sales accused the team of potentially illegal financial activities, including keeping “two sets of books” to hide hundreds of thousands of dollars of income that had to be split. with all 32 NFL clubs. In April, the committee took those claims, which the team rejected, to the Federal Trade Commission.
It’s unclear if the committee to remove Snyder will be his last major case. Many members of Congress will go on vacation in August. Maloney in particular faces a major challenge from Jerrold Nadler in keeping her seat because New York’s redistricting made her main race in August competitive.