The Washington Commanders NFL team has settled a lawsuit with the District of Columbia Attorney General’s office over fans’ season ticket deposit money.
Attorney General Brian L. Schwalb announced yesterday (Monday) that the agreement with Pro-Football Inc (owners of the Commanders) will see the return of $200,000 (£161,000/€183,000) to fans, and that the franchise must pay $425,000 to the district to resolve allegations relating to the deposits.
Karl A. Racine initially filed the consumer protection lawsuit last year before leaving office, with Schwalb picking up the case. The district’s investigation found that the team had kept fans’ deposits for years after ticket contracts expired, improperly used the money and made it difficult to reclaim the finances.
Schwalb said: “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.
“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 alleged collusion to deceive residents about the team’s toxic workplace culture. An investigation by the NFL into the team yielded a $10m fine but no written report, prompting a congressional review.
In 2021, the Commanders settled with the Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and the Consumer Protection Division over its security deposit practices.
The terms of the settlement with the district will see the Commanders conduct a public records search for contact information for affected fans and attempt to notify them, disclose the refund process on the team’s website and provide the Attorney General’s office with regular reports.
A Commanders spokesperson told The Associated Press: “We have not accepted security deposits or seat licenses in more than a decade and have been actively working to return any remaining deposits since 2014.
“We are pleased to have reached an agreement on the matter with the DC Attorney General and will work with the office to fulfil our obligations to our fans.”
The Commanders also denied all of the allegations made by the district in the settlement agreement, according the NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero.