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Miyares announces $1.3M settlement with Washington Commanders

Chris Graham
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The Washington NFL team, dating back to 1997, entered into long-term contracts with season-ticket holders that required some to pay refundable security deposits, and then kept significant sums from those deposits in the team’s coffers, with the franchise imposing additional conditions on ticket holders seeking refunds.

“I think it’s safe to say that what we saw here with Washington is they just viewed their fans as a way to get a buck, the previous ownership, the way they treated their security deposits,” Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares told NBC4 in Washington on Tuesday, as his office announced a settlement with the team’s new ownership group ensuring the return of hundreds of thousands of dollars to consumers impacted by the team’s failure to return ticket deposits.

Miyares’ office opened an investigation into the matter in 2022. The investigation traced the issue with the security deposits to the era of Jack Kent Cooke, who sold the team to Daniel Snyder in 1999.

The contract language required the franchise to return the security deposits within 30 days of the contract coming to an end, but according to Miyares, the NFL team retained significant sums of security deposits, and made it hard on consumers seeking refunds.

Among the findings from the AG office investigation, in 2014, the team sent approximately 650 form letters to former season-ticket holders with unrefunded security deposits on file, representing that it would remit unclaimed funds to state unclaimed property offices.

Despite that commitment, the team failed to remit a single unclaimed security deposit to a state unclaimed property office, including to the Virginia Department of the Treasury, until at least 2023.

As a result of the investigation, more than $600,000 in deposits has been returned to approximately 475 season ticket holders to date. Additionally, the team has agreed to pay $700,000 in penalties and costs to resolve this investigation.

“I am pleased that we were able to reach a fair and reasonable agreement with the Washington Commanders that requires restitution of unlawfully retained security deposits to consumers,” Miyares said. “Our investigation found that the Commanders’ prior ownership unlawfully retained security deposits for years after they should have been returned to consumers. I thank the team’s current ownership for cooperating with this investigation, and for working towards rectifying the consumer harm we identified.”

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham, the king of "fringe media," is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].

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