Until last year, the new CEO of the NFL Players Association, Lloyd Howell, served as the CFO of Booz Allen Hamilton. The firm recently cleaned up a massive financial mess.
According to it Washington Post, Booz Allen has agreed to pay $377 million to settle a long-running lawsuit by the federal government that alleged overcharging by the firm. The lawsuit alleged that Booz Allen inflated its invoices to cover losses in other areas of the business.
“This settlement, which is one of the largest procurement fraud settlements in history, shows that the United States will pursue even the largest companies and the most complex cases where taxpayer funds are alleged to have been stolen,”[ads1]; U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Matthew M. Graves said in a statement issued Friday.
The Mail explains that a criminal investigation into the situation was concluded in 2021. The Securities and Exchange Commission continues to explore the situation, as Booz Allen is a publicly traded company.
The case began when Sarah Feinberg, a former Booz Allen employee, resigned in August 2016 “after supervisors ignored or downplayed her warnings about compliance risks and did not support her push for change.” She then became a whistleblower.
according to Mailshe was assigned in 2015 “to work for the CFO and was assigned to a three-person team responsible for improving the company’s financial statements.”
Howell became CFO on July 1, 2016, about a month before Feinberg resigned.
It is unclear whether the NFLPA was aware of this situation when it evaluated Howell. Then again, everything about the pursuit and hiring of Howell is unclear, because the union insisted on an irrational and extreme degree of secrecy. The players who voted for Howell to be the new CEO were not even aware of his candidacy until the week the vote was held. To this day, the other candidates for the job are not known by the ordinary members of the union.
Although there are no specific allegations of wrongdoing by Howell, his title and the general circumstances make the case an object of curiosity and an occasion for due diligence. Did the player representatives who voted for Howell know about a controversy that overlapped with his tenure as CFO? Did the NFLPA’s executive committee, which apparently hand-picked Howell for the job and arguably engineered his selection, hide the information from the player representatives who voted?
Or did the executive committee not know either?
Although Booz Allen denies wrongdoing as part of the settlement, it is paying $377 million to settle a claim that it defrauded the federal government. If union leadership didn’t know about this, that’s a problem. If union management knew about it and didn’t disclose it to the player representatives who voted, that’s a problem.
The fact that the rank-and-file members of the union will probably never know whether management was aware of the Booz Allen controversy because of a brazen view that strict confidentiality equals good governance is also a problem.