Specifically, records show that from 2009-2015, the Club made inappropriate and/or
unexplained accounting entries or adjustments that reduced shareable revenues held in two ways:
Sponsor, Broker, and Customer Misclassifications. Working with forensic accountants, the Investigation identified, for the 2011-2015 seasons, approximately $9 million, which appears to have been shielded by misclassifying shareable revenues held in accounts related to certain large sales to sponsors and brokers and customers (the “Sponsor, Broker and Customer Misclassifications”). A significant portion, approximately $7 million, comprises revenues derived from NFL tickets sold or bartered with sponsors at falsely undervalued prices or revenues from amenities connected to NFL games that were diverted to special events. Contemporaneous emails discussing these revenues indicated a clear intent to falsify revenue records in order to avoid sharing. For example, July 2010 communications reveal that the Commanders determined that a “less obvious” way to “avoid the VTS implications” on an NFL hospitality tent sold to a sponsor was to redirect the revenue ($17,773) to hospitality tents for a Virginia Tech college game, even though “the deal does not reference VT” and they “wont [sic] ship the tickets to them.” When an employee asked if it was “kosher” to “just redirect the revenue to a nonshareable [sic] dept,” a senior executive, replied “its [sic] fine.” Other Sponsor, Broker, and Customer Misclassifications appear to have involved: (i) selling NFL tickets through brokers or on internet ticket sales platforms and then classifying the resulting revenue as special event revenue; (ii) reclassifying revenue from NFL tickets as non-shareable revenue in hospitality accounts (for special events); and (iii) recording forfeited security deposits on NFL season tickets, as “miscellaneous income.”24
Deferred Income Transfers. Given the acknowledged use of special events accounts to improperly shield NFL revenues from sharing, a forensic accounting review was performed on certain transfers of revenues from NFL-related accounts to special event accounts. This review identified that, for the 2009-2015 seasons, an additional $44.49 million of ticket, parking, license and other revenues originally recorded by the Club in an account that was identified as holding NFL-related revenues appears to have been transferred to non-shareable special events accounts (the “Deferred Income Transfers”). The Club recently provided information showing that the Club’s accounting practices involved commingling shareable football-related and non-shareable special event revenues in the original account. Despite this, because of the absence of available accounting documentation to support the appropriateness of the vast majority of these transfers and the inconsistencies and apparent weaknesses in the Club’s historical accounting practices, the Investigation could not conclude how much of the Deferred Income Transfers represent legitimate non-shareable revenues or reflected improper revenue shielding practices, including those identified in the Sponsor, Broker, and Customer Misclassifications.
In order to determine whether, in fact, the Deferred Income Transfers included
unreported shareable revenues, we identified for the Club the specific general ledger journal
These categories of potentially misclassified revenues occurred in the following seasons: 2011 ($0.33 million); 2012 ($3.00 million); 2013 ($1.79 million); 2014 ($1.88 million); 2015 ($2.03 million).