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Commanders to pay $1.3M to settle Va. probe

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Published in Breaking News
Tuesday, 18 June 2024 16:12

The Washington Commanders reached a $1.3 million settlement with the Virginia attorney general as a result of a two-year investigation into how the franchise handled the return of season-ticket deposits.

Attorney General Jason Miyares said in a statement that the agreement calls for the organization to pay more than $600,000 in deposits plus another $700,000 in penalties and "costs to the investigation."

Miyares' office started looking into Washington on April 25, 2022, after information was relayed during a congressional investigation about possible financial improprieties levied by a former employee that included how the team handled returning the season-ticket deposits.

The events occurred when Dan Snyder owned the franchise; he sold the team last July to a group led by Josh Harris. A team source said they handed over business, financial and accounting documents to the attorney general and updated that office with findings of their own internal investigation.

"I am pleased that we were able to reach a fair and reasonable agreement with the Washington Commanders that requires restitution of unlawfully retained security deposits to consumers," Miyares said in a statement. "Our investigation found that the Commanders' prior ownership unlawfully retained security deposits for years after they should have been returned to consumers. I thank the team's current ownership for cooperating with this investigation, and for working towards rectifying the consumer harm we identified."

A team spokesperson said, "We are pleased that this settlement has been reached resolving issues that occurred under prior ownership."

According to a release, the investigation found that Washington "unlawfully retained significant sums of security deposits, often imposing additional conditions on consumers seeking refunds." It also found that in 2014 the team sent approximately 650 form letters to former season-ticket holders who had unrefunded security deposits. But, according to the report, Washington failed to "remit a single unclaimed security deposit to a state unclaimed property office, including to the Virginia Department of the Treasury, until at least 2023."

The Commanders must try to refund all remaining security deposits on dormant accounts or remit them to state unclaimed property departments in accordance with state law. The Commanders must refund security deposits on file within 30 days of when the contract expires. The Commanders must pay the Commonwealth $600,000 in civil penalties and another $100,000 to the attorney general's office for attorney fees and costs associated with the investigation.

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