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 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.
"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," a Commanders spokesperson said in an email to The Associated Press. "We are pleased to have reached an agreement on the matter with the D.C. attorney general and will work with the office to fulfill our obligations to our fans."
The Commanders also denied all of the allegations made by the district in the settlement agreement, per NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero.
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.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.