D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine has accused the Commanders of withholding customers’ security deposits, effectively treating the money as organizational revenue.
Washington, D.C., Attorney General Karl Racine has filed a second lawsuit against the Commanders, accusing the team of cheating capital city residents out of deposits and season tickets.
According to CNBC, Racine’s lawsuit observes that, since about 1996, the Washington Commanders have sold “premium seating” tickets to fans.
The team promised that purchasers would receive refunds for their deposit within 30 days of the contracts’ expiration.
However, Racine claims that the Commanders often kept fans’ money, which the organization then used for its own purposes.
In his complaint, Racine states that, when fans asked for their deposits to be returned, the Commanders “intentionally complicated the return process by imposing extra, burdensome conditions that were not previously adequately disclosed.”
The Commanders have since issued a statement insisting that Racine’s allegations are mistaken.
“The Team has not accepted security deposits for over 20 years in the case of premium tickets and over a decade in the case of suites, and we began returning them to season ticket holders as early as 2004,” a Commanders spokesperson said on Thursday. “In 2014, as part of a comprehensive review, Team management was instructed to send notices to over 1,400 customers with deposits and return all security deposits requested.”
The same spokesperson added that the Commanders had hired a law firm and forensic auditors to analyze the team’s accounts.
These outside specialists, the team said, found no evidence that the Commanders had withheld security deposits that should have been returned or that the organization misused fans’ ticket funds.
Nevertheless, Racine contends that this latest complaint is “yet another example of egregious mismanagement and illegal conduct by Commanders executives who seem determined to lie, cheat, and steal from District residents in as many ways as possible.”
Racine said that a Commanders’ employee alerted the club’s corporate officers in 2009 that its premium seating deposit policy was being violated, but the team continued imposing additional burdens on consumers seeking refunds.
“As a result of these deceptive practices, the team illegally withheld hundreds of thousands of dollars from district residents,” Racine wrote.
The lawsuit notes that, as of March 2022, the Commanders still held an estimated $200,000 in unreturned security deposits.
Some of that money, Racine suggested, had earlier been converted and treated as team revenue.
The Commanders have said that they intend to defend themselves in court.
“Although the lawsuit repeats a lot of innuendo, half-truths and lies, we welcome this opportunity to defend the organization — for the first time — in a court of law and to establish, once and for all, what is fact and what is fiction,” a Commanders spokesperson said in a statement.