In a letter to the Federal Trade Commission, Washington’s commanders on Monday vehemently denied allegations of financial misconduct, citing why the state agency should not investigate.
22-page letter from panel lawyer Jordan Sieve – FTC President Lina M. Sent to Khan and received by ESPN – denies allegations made by Jason Friedman, former employee of the group. NFL, to increase its revenue. Besides the letter, there were 83 pages of signed affidavits, emails and texts.
Paul Szczenski, the team’s former finance director 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 anyone else.”
Those 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 vice president of sales and customer service. He was fired in October 2020, two months after Jason Wright took over as team captain.
The FTC acknowledged receiving the letter, but generally did not specify whether it would investigate the matter. It may also be transferred to the Attorney General in Maryland; Washington DC; And Virginia. All were copied in a letter to the FTC.
Mitch Gershman, Washington’s former chief executive, says Friedman’s letter was based on Friedman’s claims were “unsubstantiated” and “false and irresponsible” and “pure speculation.” Sexual harassment in the Washington Post article. Friedman did not work in the field of accounting, so Gershman et al said that not all financial discussions are private. Friedman worked at the team’s ground in Landover, Maryland, about an hour from training facilities in Ashburn, Virginia, where the finance and accounting departments worked, according to the letter.
Furthermore, the letter stated that the committee had never had the opportunity to respond to Friedman’s allegations. It portrayed Friedman as a disgruntled former employee who, until recently, persuaded many in the company, including Wright, via email and text message to allow him to return. Praised him in 2020.
In January, he emailed Wright, “I had a year to think about my past shortcomings. I’m learned, and I’m sorry for these shortcomings. If you welcome me, I will be there to help. Just a moment’s notice.”
Friedman said the system deliberately categorized the revenue for the Standing-Room-only tickets as revenue collected from college games and concerts, thereby allowing them to pocket the money and share a portion with the league. He said he failed to withdraw the security deposit on season tickets and affected 2,000 customers at a cost of $ 5 million.
But Washington’s letter says there is evidence that it did not divert revenue from NFL games to other events. On May 6, 2014, Friedman sent an email to Stephen Choi, Washington’s chief accountant, requesting help 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 instructed him to use $ 11 extra “juice” for a ticket to the Navy-Notre Dame game later that year. “Juice” is a term used to describe the hidden income of a team, Friedman said. Washington’s letter stated that “juice” is a slang word for “a reversal in revenue.”
Teams must share 40% of their revenue with the other 31 teams. But the college game was considered a non-dividend earner, 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 the accountants, who freed Friedman from the chain. In an August email, Tray Flight, who was listed as manager of the team’s ticket finance department, told Choi and Shensky that “the Navy license fee has been transferred to 14RedRev”. It is now considered 2014 Redskins revenue; 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 the FedEx field was not subject to those audits. Washington’s letter states that this is not true.
In his affidavit, Szczenski said, “There are no types of events that are ‘excluded’ from external audits; concerts, college football games and football matches are all part of the team’s audited financial statements and may be subject to scrutiny.” Former General Adviser David Donovan said the same thing in his affidavit.
The letter also states that the House committee should not have relied on Friedman’s testimony as to when the revenue-sharing scheme took place. Friedman said it happened “primarily from 2010 to 2015”. Washington’s letter states that the group has written off $ 27 million from the NFL, which limited revenue sharing due to payments for approved projects in 2013 and ended two years later. The letter states that the exemption was known to the team’s accounting and finance department but was “unknown to Friedman.” Prior to that, Washington had a 15-year discount, which ended in 2012 because it paid for the stadium.
The letter also states that Friedman was wrong about how the group handled security deposits. He said that since the acquisition of the Snyder team in 1999, it has created artificial barriers to make it harder for customers to collect security deposits. Or they will target deposits from people who have forgotten what they did, or who have inherited seats, or who do not know that something exists. In corporate accounts, he said, the name of the contract may change over time and, once again, the new person may not know about the initial deposit. Friedman, team executives, told employees to make it harder for customers to withdraw their deposits by increasing the number of steps required to receive cash. Some deposits were withdrawn.
Also, Friedman told the House Committee that after a year as Snyder’s owner, the group had stopped collecting security deposits. Donovan, who left the team in 2011, said Friedman never brought the charges against him. In his affidavit, Szczenski stated that the only deposit that was converted into income occurred when the customer 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 the customers in 2014 is also included in the letter. Boxes are included to check that the name and address in the account are correct. It includes the return address of the letter for refund and the email address that customers may send instead.
In addition, the group’s unclaimed property, including the group’s security deposits, was reviewed in 2014 by the Virginia Treasury Department’s unclaimed property division, which fully accessed the team’s security deposit information. Following the review, the department did not recommend further action, but instead the group claimed $ 7,330.15 as “abandoned property” to the state as unclaimed funds.
Finally, the letter stated that the committee did not approve of Friedman’s practice of selling public tickets to brokers in 2009.
Friedman told the House committee he had fallen for the practice, and told the committee that Choi and Kershman had been told to misrepresent their ticket status. Friedman said there were no public tickets available to potential customers, pushing them to buy club-sized seats. According to the letter, the NFL has no policy against selling to ticket brokers in 2009. It also said that none of the agreements made by Friedman 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 outlay for the team, Mr. No sense in telling you now – I don’t wanna ruin the suprise. “
Donovan said in his affidavit that he recommended to Snyder to remove Friedman after the incident. Instead of dismissing Friedman, he accused her of receiving a pay rise.
Friedman’s lawyers, Lisa Banks and Debra Godz, said on Monday that their client “stands in support of 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 allowed to do so, it is prepared to defend itself publicly against these allegations.
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