Get ready for another not-so-independent independent investigation.
The Washington Commanders have announced that former California state court judge and former U.S. attorney Debra Wong Yang will investigate the claims made last week by former Washington employee Tiiffani Johnston. Debra Wong Yang, who is employed by the law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, was appointed by Pallas Global Group. The press release from the Commanders points out that Pallas Global Group is “led by former Assistant United States Attorneys Bonnie Jones and Tiffany Moller.”
Johnston claimed last week during a Congressional hybrid round table hearing that team owner Daniel Snyder placed his hand on her leg and left it there until she moved it away during a group dinner. She also claimed that Snyder tried after the dinner to cajole her into his limousine.
“The Team is committed to a thorough and independent investigation of Ms. Johnston’s allegation, and pledges full cooperation with the investigation,” the press release declares. “At the conclusion of the investigation, Ms. Yang will report her findings to Pallas Global Group, and those findings will be released to the public.”
It looks good in isolation. In context, it stinks to high heaven.
The owner of the organization who has hired two layers of lawyers to handle the investigation already has called the allegation made by Tiffani Johnston “outright lies.”
“[T]he allegations leveled against me personally in today’s roundtable — many of which are well over 13 years old — are outright lies,” Daniel Snyder said last week in a release. “I unequivocally deny having participated in any such conduct, at any time and with respect to any person.”
The team SHOULD NOT be hiring the investigators for this. The league should be hiring, managing, administering, directing, etc. the probe. Snyder has already publicly called Johnston a liar. Any effort to explore the situation that is initiated by the team he owns is poisoned from the get go, because the guy who has selected the investigators already has prejudged the case.
At the end of the day, Debra Wong Yang will have to decide whether Johnston or Snyder is lying. One of them is paying her bill. The other one is not.
Also, why didn’t Snyder simply hire Beth Wilkinson to continue the work she completed last year? Mull over that one. We’ll have more to say about it, eventually. The answer quite likely resides in the penultimate paragraph of this post.