Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder offered to testify via video conference before the House Oversight Committee in late July, according to a letter his attorney sent to chairwoman Carolyn Maloney on Thursday. But, his attorney stated, they have yet to hear from the committee about the dates they submitted.
In the letter obtained by ESPN, Snyder’s attorney, Karen Patton Seymour, told Maloney (D-New York) that she has not heard from the committee since a June 30 phone call to discuss Snyder’s conflicts on other proposed dates for a deposition. The committee had offered for Snyder to be interviewed remotely on July 6 or 8, according to the letter, and Seymour wrote that she offered July 28 or 29.
The House is in session until July 29 and will be off in August.
The committee has been investigating Washington’s workplace culture since October.
“We remain committed to securing Mr. Snyder’s testimony on the toxic work environment at the Washington Commanders following his failure to appear voluntarily at the Committee’s hearing and his continued refusal to allow his attorney to accept service of a subpoena,” a committee spokesperson told ESPN in a statement Thursday. “We are continuing to negotiate with his counsel to ensure the Committee can obtain the full and complete testimony we need, and we are reviewing her latest correspondence.”
The committee is trying to serve Snyder with a subpoena to testify, but a spokesperson for the committee said last week that his lawyer has not yet accepted it. The sides continue to negotiate the terms under which Snyder would testify.
In the letter to the committee, Snyder’s attorney said he would voluntarily testify, which according to Dave Rapallo, Georgetown University’s Federal Legislation Clinic director and the Democratic staff director of the House Oversight Committee from 2011 to 2021, is an important difference from being subpoenaed.
“If you’re under subpoena, you have to answer the question posed,” Rapallo said. “If it’s voluntary, and you’re not under subpoena, you don’t.”
Many of the employees and former employees who participated in the NFL’s internal investigation of the Commanders’ workplace culture, which resulted in a $10 million fine in July 2021, signed nondisclosure agreements, commonly called NDAs.
If Snyder voluntarily appears, Rapallo explained, “Snyder could say to the committee, ‘I’m not permitted to answer the question because there’s a NDA. He can claim he can’t answer because of the NDA unless there’s a subpoena.”
In her letter, Seymour said that Snyder planned to be in Israel for “much of July” and “into August” to observe the one-year anniversary of his mother’s death. Seymour said she’d travel to Israel for Snyder’s video deposition, which would be conducted in private, but the committee can opt to release all or part of the transcript.
Seymour stated in the letter that she had previous work duties in Europe on the earlier proposed dates. She was also in Europe for work on June 22 when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell testified at a hearing on the investigation.
The Commanders are scheduled to start training camp on July 27, with the team’s first preseason game against the Carolina Panthers on Aug. 13.
Snyder regularly attended his team’s training camp until recent years. In 2019, he did not arrive to camp until August due to vacation plans. In 2020, he did not attend because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He did not attend last year after his wife Tanya assumed responsibility for day-to-day operations of the team after the NFL levied a record-setting $10 million fine, following the league’s internal investigation of sexual misconduct and workplace culture within Washington’s franchise.
At the NFL league meetings in March, Goodell said Snyder would not represent the team on a daily basis for the “foreseeable future” and that they would discuss his return “at some point.” According to a league source, that discussion has not yet happened. Snyder traveled to France in June to attend an awards ceremony the same week he had been invited by the committee to testify with Goodell. During Goodell’s testimony on June 22, Maloney announced she planned to subpoena Snyder for a deposition.
“Rather than show up and take responsibility for his actions, he chose to skip town,” Maloney said during her announcement to subpoena Snyder. She noted at the time Snyder’s yacht was docked in France. Snyder’s 305-foot yacht the Lady S was located just off the eastern coast of Corsica in the Mediterranean Sea on Thursday morning, according to the website vesselfinder.com.