Dan Snyder and Bruce Allen were once so close that the longtime executive often could be seen by the Washington Commanders owner’s side before and after every game. But Thursday’s report from the House Oversight and Reform Committee served as the latest reminder of the rift between the two men.
Mr. Allen testified in a September deposition that the Commanders hired private investigators to follow him, adding that Mr. Snyder was “very involved in the entire operation” of the franchise. Mr. Snyder, in a July deposition, tried to blame the team’s workplace misconduct on Mr. Allen and said trusting him was a “bad decision.”
Mr. Snyder hired Mr. Allen in late 2009 and fired him in December 2019.
“From time to time he would remind me, ‘I want to know everything. Don’t let me find out about it,’” Mr. Allen said in his deposition. “Maybe we put a claim in on trying to pick up a player on a waiver wire; or we’re talking about a trade that made the media, and he read it. He had to know about it. “
Mr. Allen testified he was concerned about what Mr. Snyder might do in light of his testimony, saying he imagined that he would continue to be “spied on and harassed.” He recalled how in March of 2021, his wife was concerned because she saw a car running outside their new Arizona home. Mr. Allen said he went to confront the man in the morning.
“The gentleman stepped out of the car and he said, ‘Hi, Mr. Allen,’” Mr. Allen said. “I said, ‘Well, that’s interesting. You need a cup of coffee? Are you here to serve me with a subpoena or something?’ He said. ‘No, we’re just here to follow you,’ and something like ‘document your actions.’”
Mr. Allen said the man, who identified himself as a former FBI agent, showed his credentials and said he was working on behalf of the Commanders, then known as the Washington Football Team. The man, Mr. Allen said, revealed he had an associate on the other side of the block, “in case I drove out the other way.”
Mr. Snyder, meanwhile, said he was “unaware” that Reed Smith — the law firm representing him — sent any private investigators to Mr. Allen’s home. But in his nearly 11-hour deposition, the embattled billionaire expressed frustration with Mr. Allen.
Specifically, he said made the wrong decision in 2018 when he decided to fire former president of business operations Brian Lafemina instead of Mr. Allen.
“They couldn’t coexist,” Mr. Snyder said. “I chose the wrong one.”
Asked to expand on why he felt like he should have fired Mr. Allen instead, Mr. Snyder said he realized it after realizing the “ workplace environment culturally needed to be fixed.” The owner pointed to Mr. Allen’s infamous 2019 press conference remark in which he referred to Washington’s culture as “damn good.”
“We just didn’t believe him,” said Mr. Snyder, who said he told his wife, Tanya, that very night of the remark that the team didn’t have a good culture.
Mr. Snyder noted that days before Mr. Allen’s press conference remark that TMZ had an article that showed then-Washington coach Jay Gruden smoking what it appeared to be marijuana. Mr. Snyder fired the coach following an 0-5 start, leading to Mr. Allen’s presser.
“We were doubting whatever he was saying,” Mr. Snyder said of Mr. Allen.
The owner also told lawmakers he felt Mr. Allen’s “homophobic, misogynistic emails” were “rather shocking.”
Some of Mr. Allen’s emails, uncovered as part of Beth Wilkinson’s investigation into the Commanders, featured nude and scantily dressed women and crass language.
The emails, which Mr. Allen sent to Jon Gruden and others, were leaked to the media and ended up costing the then-coach of the Raiders his job.
Since Mr. Snyder fired Mr. Allen, the two have had multiple legal battles. The parties went to arbitration after Mr. Snyder tried to withhold severance pay, while Mr. Snyder also tried to subpoena Mr. Allen as part of a defamation lawsuit against an India-based media company.