• Tue. Sep 20th, 2022

Washington commanders vehemently deny financial irregularities in letter to Federal Trade Commission

ByChad J. Johnson

Apr 18, 2022

In a letter to the Federal Trade Commission, Washington commanders vehemently denied allegations of financial misconduct on Monday, citing why the state agency shouldn’t be investigating.

A 22-page letter from panel attorney Jordan Sieve — FTC Chairwoman Lina M., sent to Khan and received by ESPN — denies the allegations by former panel employee Jason Friedman. NFL, to increase its income. Besides the letter, there were 83 pages of signed affidavits, emails and texts.

Paul Szczenski, the team’s former chief financial officer for more than eight years, said in a signed affidavit: “I can say without a doubt that I did not help maintain a ‘second set’ of books, or whoever that was. whatever else.”

These points were reported by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform in a letter to the FTC last week, highlighting allegations made by Friedman, who spent 24 years in the company’s ticket division as a vice president of sales and customer service. He was let go in October 2020, two months after Jason Wright took over as team captain.

The FTC acknowledged receipt of the letter, but generally did not say whether it would investigate the matter. It may also be transferred to the Attorney General of Maryland; Washington D.C.; And Virginia. All were copied in a letter to the FTC.

Mitch Gershman, former Washington chief executive, said Friedman’s letter was based on Friedman’s claims being “unsubstantiated” and “false and irresponsible” and “pure speculation.” Sexual harassment in the Washington Post article. Friedman did not work in the accounting field, so Gershman et al stated that not all financial discussions are private. Friedman worked at the team’s land in Landover, Md., about an hour from the training facility in Ashburn, Va., where the finance and accounting departments worked, according to the letter.

Moreover, the letter stated that the committee never had the opportunity to respond to Friedman’s allegations. He described Friedman as a disgruntled former employee who until recently persuaded many at the company, including Wright, via email and text message to allow him back. Congratulated him in 2020.

In January, he emailed Wright: “I’ve had a year to reflect on my past shortcomings. I’m educated, and I’m sorry for those shortcomings. If you take me in, I’ll be there for you. help. Just a moment.

Friedman said the system deliberately categorized standing room ticket revenue as revenue collected from college games and concerts, allowing them to pocket the money and share a game with the league. He says he failed to withdraw the security deposit on subscriptions and affected 2,000 customers at a cost of $5 million.

But Washington’s letter says there is evidence he did not divert NFL gaming revenue to other events. On May 6, 2014, Friedman emailed Stephen Choi, Washington’s Chief Accountant, requesting assistance with additional ticket sales and revenue processing.

It was mentioned in the email that Friedman charges $55 per ticket, but they are fixed at $44 on the system. The difference will be written as a fake license fee. According to the email, Choi asked him to use $11 in extra “juice” for a ticket to the Navy-Notre Dame game later that year. “Juice” is a term used to describe a team’s hidden income, Friedman said. Washington’s letter said “juice” is a slang word for “an income inversion.”

Teams must share 40% of their income with the other 31 teams. But the college game was considered a no-dividend, meaning Washington would receive an additional $162,360 without losing a stake in the revenue-sharing board.

In Washington’s letter, Choi sent the email to accountants, who released Friedman from the chain. In an August email, Tray Flight, which was on the team’s ticket finance department manager list, told Choi and Shensky that “Navy license fees have been transferred to 14RedRev “. He is now considered the Redskins’ income in 2014; The email includes an accounting screenshot of $162,360 listed under 14RedRev.

The letter pointed out that the group is subject to an annual audit by BDO and is audited every several years by NFL auditors Ernst & Young. Friedman alleged that revenue from non-NFL events in FedEx’s domain was not subject to these audits. Washington’s letter states that this is not true.

In his affidavit, Szczenski said, “No type of event is ‘excluded’ from external audits; concerts, college football games, and soccer games are all part of the team’s audited financial statements and subject to scrutiny. Former General Counsel David Donovan said the same thing in his affidavit.

The letter also says the House committee should not have relied on Friedman’s testimony as to when the revenue-sharing scheme took place. Friedman said this happened “mostly from 2010 to 2015”. The letter from Washington says the group reversed $27 million from the NFL, which limited revenue sharing due to project payments approved in 2013 and ended two years later. The letter says the exemption was known to the team’s accounting and finance department but was “unknown to Friedman.” Before that, Washington was on a 15-year discount, which ended in 2012 because it paid for the stadium.

The letter also says Friedman was wrong about how the group handled security deposits. He said that since acquiring the Snyder team in 1999, it has created artificial barriers to make it harder for customers to collect security deposits. Or they will target repositories of people who forgot what they did, or inherited seats, or don’t know something exists. In business accounts, he said, the name of the contract can change over time and, again, the new person may not be aware of the initial deposit. Friedman, the team’s leaders, told employees to make it harder for customers to withdraw their deposits by increasing the number of steps needed to receive cash. Some deposits have been removed.

Additionally, Friedman told the House committee that after a year as Snyder’s owner, the group stopped collecting security deposits. Donovan, who left the team in 2011, said Friedman never filed a complaint against him. In his affidavit, Szczenski said the only deposit that was converted into income occurred when the client failed in the contract. He said he earned an additional $200,000 over a 10-year period.

A copy of the letter sent by the company to customers in 2014 is also included in the letter. Checkboxes are included to verify that the account name and address are correct. It includes the refund letter return address and the email address that customers can send instead.

In addition, the group’s unclaimed property, including the group’s security deposits, was reviewed in 2014 by the Virginia Department of Treasury’s Unclaimed Property Division, which has full access to information about the security deposits of the team. Following the review, the department did not recommend any further action, but instead the group claimed $7,330.15 as “abandoned property” from the state as unfunded funds. claimed.

Finally, the letter stated that the committee did not approve of Friedman’s practice of selling public notes to brokers in 2009.

Friedman told the House committee he fell for the practice and told the committee that Choi and Kershman were asked to misrepresent the status of their ticket. Friedman said there were no public tickets available to potential customers, prompting them to purchase club-sized seats. According to the letter, the NFL has no policy against selling tickets to brokers in 2009. It also said that none of the deals Friedman made had been approved by the team’s finance or legal department. The letter alleges that Friedman used a rubber stamp of Gershman’s signature and allowed him to “keep the contracts secret.”

“When [Snyder] Informed, he was not happy,” Gershman said in his confession. With significant financial expenses for the team, Mr. Needless to tell you now – I don’t want to spoil the surprise. “

Donovan said in his affidavit that he recommended Snyder fire Friedman after the incident. Instead of firing Friedman, he accused her of receiving a raise.

Friedman’s attorneys, Lisa Banks and Debra Godz, said Monday that their client “supports his testimony, which is true and based on his experience with the team.” He will gladly answer any follow-up questions from Congress, the FTC, or any government agency. If authorized to do so, he is prepared to publicly defend himself against these allegations.