Commanders settle with Washington, D.C., on ticket deposits

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Washington Commanders have settled a lawsuit with the District of Columbia attorney general’s office over fans’ season-ticket deposit money.

Attorney general Brian L. Schwalb on Monday announced the agreement that returns $200,000 to fans and pay $425,000 to the district to resolve allegations related to the deposits. Predecessor Karl A. Racine filed the consumer protection lawsuit late last year before leaving office, and Schwalb picked up the case.

The district’s investigation showed the team deceptively kept fans’ deposits for years after ticket contracts expired, improperly used that money and in some cases made it difficult to reclaim the money.

“Rather than being transparent and upfront in their ticket sale practices, the Commanders unlawfully took advantage of their fan base, holding on to security deposits instead of returning them,” Schwalb said in a statement. “Under this settlement agreement, our office will maintain strict oversight over the Commanders to ensure all necessary steps are taken to reimburse fans for the refunds they are entitled to.”

The district still has a civil suit ongoing against the Commanders, owner Dan Snyder, the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell over what the attorney general’s office called collusion to deceive residents about the team’s toxic workplace culture. A league investigation into the team yielded a $10 million fine but no written report, which prompted outrage and a congressional review.

The Commanders previously settled with Maryland on season-ticket holder deposits by agreeing to return money and pay the state $250,000.

Under the terms of the settlement with the district, the Commanders must conduct a public records search for contact information for affected fans and attempt to notify them, disclose the refund process on their website and provide the attorney general’s office with regular reports documenting their progress.

A team spokesperson did not immediately respond to a message from The Associated Press seeking comment.

The series of lawsuits in the Washington area were among the latest turns in the team’s tumultuous run under Snyder, who along with wife Tanya hired a firm in November to explore selling part or all of the team. That came amid multiple investigations and two weeks after Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said there was “merit to remove” Snyder.

Two groups, one led by Josh Harris and Mitchell Rales that includes Magic Johnson and another by Canadian billionaire Steve Apostolopoulos, have submitted fully financed bids to buy the Commanders. It’s unclear how soon a sale could happen; Snyder must first choose his preferred bidder and send to the league for approval.


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