At the end of last Thursday’s press conference regarding the consumer-protection lawsuit file by D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine against the Commanders and the NFL over the Beth Wilkinson investigation, Racine was asked about allegations of financial improprieties that had been made against the club.
Said Racine, “There will be more news on that next week.”
And there is. Racine’s office has announced the filing of a new lawsuit against the Commanders for “implementing an illegal scheme to cheat District ticket holders out of their deposits for season tickets and use the money for its own purposes.”
In a press release, Racine accuses the team of “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.”
Last week’s lawsuit seemed to reflect an overly aggressive interpretation of the relevant laws, given that it arises from the idea that D.C. residents were somehow harmed by efforts to conceal internal wrongdoing unrelated to direct dealings with customers. This one has much more relevance, since it alleges that the team essentially picked the pockets of paying customers who live in D.C. by collecting security deposits and not paying them back.
The Commanders have acknowledged a recent effort to refund security deposits. Given the applicable requirements for surrendering unclaimed property to the state, it may not be enough to simply mobilize the payback process. Also, the consumers may be entitled to interest and/or other amounts beyond simply getting their money back.