- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 26, 2022

Lisa Banks, the attorney who represents 40 former Washington Commanders employees, said in a radio interview Sunday that client Tiffani Johnston has spoken with NFL investigator Mary Jo White on multiple occasions. 

White, the former chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, is overseeing with the league’s second probe into owner Dan Snyder and his Commanders. 

The NFL hired White in February after Johnston told members of Congress that Snyder harassed her at a work dinner by putting his hand on her thigh underneath a table and later trying to coax her into his limo. 

Johnston did not participate in the league’s first probe of the Commanders that was conducted by Beth Wilkinson as the former cheerleader and marketing manager said she feared retaliation from Snyder

The scope of White’s investigation has expanded in recent months to include allegations that the Commanders committed financial improprieties. Jason Friedman, Washington’s former vice president of sales, told Congress that the Commanders skirted the league’s ticket revenue sharing program and withheld refundable security deposits from season-ticket holders. Friedman’s allegations also prompted the attorneys general from the District and Virginia to look into the matter.  

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell testified during last week’s hearing hosted by the House Oversight and Reform Committee that Snyder — who fiercely denies the allegations — could face new punishment depending on the outcome of White’s probe. 

A source with knowledge of the situation said that Friedman has also spoken with White. 

“I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ll see a good, honest report coming out of there and I think that will have some information that is important and newsworthy and have an impact,” Banks said on 106.7 The Fan. 

The NFL has committed to releasing a written report of the investigation, something it didn’t do last year for Wilkinson’s inquiry.  The reason for the change, Goodell said, is that the new allegations were “brought to the Committee in a public setting.” 

Banks was asked if she knew when White’s report would be released. After all, the NFL reported the findings of Wilkinson’s probe on July 1, 2021, following up with a $10 million fine on the franchise. The league also said then that Snyder was voluntarily giving up day-to-day control of the franchise for several months. 

Will the league take a similar approach and dump the news again just before the Fourth of July? 

“I’m not getting any indication of precisely when,” said Banks, who also represents Friedman. “I do know it’s a matter of weeks not months.” 

The NFL declined to comment.

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, an Illinois Democrat who has helped spearhead the Oversight committee’s probe of the NFL and Commanders, said last week he’s waiting to see if White’s conclusions will help inform the panel’s next steps. 

“I hope it’s done in a timely way because we need to have accountability,” Mr. Krishnamoorthi said. 

At Wednesday’s hearing, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, a New York Democrat who chairs the committee, announced she plans to issue a subpoena to Snyder so that he would testify at a deposition set for this week. 

The committee did not issue the subpoena to Snyder on Friday, a source close to the owner said. The two sides continue to haggle over the specifics of the situation, with the committee asking Snyder’s lawyer to accept the service of the subpoena on his behalf. Snyder’s attorney rejected that request — replying in an email to the committee she was not authorized to accept the subpoena, the source said. Snyder’s lawyer still holds concerns over due process and asked Friday to set up a phone call for Monday to address the issues, the person added. 

A spokesperson for the committee did not respond to a request for comment. 

“We’re going to continue to work with the committee as much as they need us to,” Banks said. “We’re going to continue to work with Mary Jo White and her team for whatever they need. … We are trying to stay active and nimble in terms of providing any investigatory bodies with whatever information they need.”

Correction: An earlier version misreported the day the House Oversight committee announced plans to subpoena Dan Snyder

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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