Update: Dan Snyder responds in court, calls the allegations in 2009 meritless
In a filing tonight, Snyder said the '09 allegations of sexual misconduct were "meritless," that the team settled b/c of its insurance carrier and that a minority owner is leading “an extortion campaign” (via @TheWillHobson, @lizclarketweet, @bethreinhard) https://t.co/PPsKLzy002— Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog) December 24, 2020
The drama surrounding Dan Snyder this offseason hasn’t gone away, it just comes in waves that hit you in the face every few weeks. There have been some minor and major developments recently that stem from Snyder’s very public feud with three minority owners of the Washington Football Team(Fred Smith, Dwight Schar, and Robert Rothman).
There have been lawsuits filed, plenty of accusations from both sides, NFL arbitration, and reports Snyder will need to buy them out. Washington has fired executives in the wake of multiple scandals that have been exposed this year, and they are still conducting a full investigation that could lead to severe punishment from the league.
The latest scandal was reported by the Washington Post this morning. There were stories about the settlement of a sexual misconduct case involving a former Washington employee and owner Dan Snyder. The details have now been confirmed. The team paid a former employee $1.6 million in a confidential settlement in 2009. Snyder was accused of sexual misconduct from an incident on his private plane.
The alleged incident occurred on Snyder’s private plane on a flight returning from the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas, said the person, who was not authorized to discuss the matter and spoke on the condition of anonymity. In court records filed Monday as part of an ongoing feud among the team’s owners, Snyder’s business partners referenced the woman’s allegation, calling it “a serious accusation of sexual misconduct.”
The former employee was fired after the team said she lied to their attorneys.
Though the woman had been terminated for cause, she and the team agreed that her personnel file would be changed to show that she voluntarily resigned. The team also provided the woman with a letter of recommendation, signed by Mitch Gershman, then the team’s chief operating officer, which described her as “well-respected by her colleagues here at The Washington Redskins and around the NFL” and said she “will be an asset to another organization.”
The team hired attorney Beth Wilkinson to conduct a full review, but that investigation was taken over by the NFL in August. This was supposed to be a full transparency probe into all of the workplace issues that have been brought up by numerous former, and current employees. That didn’t stop them from suing Wilkinson to keep a confidential settlement from the public.
On Nov. 9, David Donovan, the team’s former general counsel, sued Wilkinson in an effort to stop her from disclosing information relating to a confidential settlement from 2009. Donovan dropped the case, but after a judge ruled that some documents should be made public, lawyers for the team intervened to propose redactions that would keep details of the settlement private.
The New York Times ran a story on the feud between Snyder and the three minority owners 3 days ago, which led to another court filing.
In a court filing on Monday, attorneys for the minority owners accused “Mr. Snyder or his agents” of being the sources of information that was the basis for a story published Saturday by the New York Times. Adam Van Grack, an attorney for minority owners Robert Rothman, Frederick Smith and Dwight Schar, declined to comment.
In that story, which focused on the escalating tensions between Snyder and the three owners seeking to sell their minority shares, the Times reported that in the wake of investigations by the team and an outside law firm into 2009 allegations, “The team fired the woman because it said she lied to the team’s lawyers.”
The story said the financial settlement that year was reached to avoid any potential negative publicity if the woman sued Snyder. The amount of the settlement was not specified.
In a court filing Monday, the minority owners said, “This self-serving and one-sided framing of a serious accusation of sexual misconduct against Mr. Snyder, which depicts the victim as someone who ‘lied’ and portrays the settlement solely as a payment ‘to avoid negative publicity if the woman sued,’ further confirms that Mr. Snyder or his agents are the source of the leaks of confidential information.”