(Reuters) -Washington, DC Attorney General Karl Racine has filed a civil lawsuit against Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder, the team, the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell for colluding to deceive people about an investigation into the team’s toxic workplace culture in a bid to protect its profits.
The NFL fined the Commanders $10 million last year after an independent investigation by attorney Beth Wilkinson found numerous female employees reported having experienced sexual harassment, but the full report was never released.
“The Commanders and Dan Snyder lied to DC residents about what they knew about a toxic culture of sexual harassment and then they entered into a secret agreement with the NFL and Commissioner Goodell that kept the truth from DC residents – all in an effort to protect them profits,” Racine said on Thursday.
“In DC, you can’t lie to consumers to enrich yourself and get away with it. That’s what this lawsuit is about: standing up for DC residents who were deceived and misled. No one – not even Mr. Snyder – is above the law.”
Attorneys for the team told ESPN that Snyder had acknowledged that an unacceptable workplace culture had existed within the organization for several years and had apologized many times for allowing that to happen.
“Although the lawsuit repeats a lot of innuendo, half-truths and lies, we welcome this opportunity to defend the organization,” the attorneys said.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league had made public a summary of Wilkinson’s findings and rejected the “legally unsound and factually baseless allegations made today by the DC Attorney.”
Racine said he planned to subpoena Snyder, Goodell and others for sworn testimony and said defendants could face millions of dollars in penalties.
He is also seeking a court order to force the NFL to