Commanders to pay $1.3M to settle Va. season-ticket deposit probe

Commanders reach $1.3M settlement in season-ticket deposit probe (0:25)

The Washington Commanders have reached a $1.3 million settlement with Virginia's attorney general following a two-year investigation regarding season-ticket deposits. (0:25)

The Washington Commanders reached a $1.3 million settlement with the Virginia attorney general as a result of a two-year investigation into how the franchise handled the return of season-ticket deposits.

Attorney General Jason Miyares said in a statement that the agreement calls for the organization to pay more than $600,000 in deposits plus another $700,000 in penalties and "costs to the investigation."

Miyares' office started looking into Washington on April 25, 2022, after information was relayed during a congressional investigation about possible financial improprieties levied by a former employee that included how the team handled returning the season-ticket deposits.

The events occurred when Dan Snyder owned the franchise; he sold the team last July to a group led by Josh Harris. A team source said they handed over business, financial and accounting documents to the attorney general and updated that office with findings of their own internal investigation.

Miyares said they worked with Harris' group, pointing out where the previous ownership had "fallen short" in refunding the deposits. Miyares said the new ownership group was helpful.

"This was a problem the current ownership did not create, they inherited it, but I appreciate the fact that they were willing to talk and get it resolved rather than going through what would've been probably several years of litigation," Miyares said. "It was clear from our perspective that so many of the season-ticket holders were just treated as a commodity. Nothing surprises us anymore, but this was a pretty blatant act for sure."

A team spokesperson said, "We are pleased that this settlement has been reached resolving issues that occurred under prior ownership."

According to a release, the investigation found that Washington "unlawfully retained significant sums of security deposits, often imposing additional conditions on consumers seeking refunds." It also found that in 2014 the team sent approximately 650 form letters to former season-ticket holders who had unrefunded security deposits. But, according to the report, Washington 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."

The Commanders must try to refund all remaining security deposits on dormant accounts or remit them to state unclaimed property departments in accordance with state law. The Commanders must refund security deposits on file within 30 days of when the contract expires. The Commanders must pay the Commonwealth $600,000 in civil penalties and another $100,000 to the attorney general's office for attorney fees and costs associated with the investigation.

"We are glad this is resolved," Miyares said. "When corporate actors are misbehaving, when you have bad corporate actors, we're going to protect consumers. We're going to hold them accountable. And that's exactly what we did here."

In April 2023, the Commanders settled with the D.C. attorney general's office for the same issue, agreeing to pay $200,000 to fans and $425,000 to the district.