The NFL’s ongoing investigation into workplace sexual harassment claims made by Washington Football Team employees has revealed a potentially relevant 2009 settlement, and now club owner Daniel Snyder is fighting to prevent details of the agreement from being made public.
In an emergency motion reviewed by DailyMail.com that was filed in a Virginia federal court on Monday, Snyder’s attorneys declared that he intends to assert ‘privileges and privacy’ in the matter. The Washington Post was the first to report Monday’s motion, which revealed the 2009 settlement.
Specifics about the deal remain under seal, but Beth Wilkinson, an attorney investigating the sexual harassment claims for the league, is currently engaged in a legal battle with the club’s former counsel to reveal those details. The 2009 settlement involves ‘the nature of misconduct,’ according to court records.
This legal battle follows two separate Washington Post reports over the summer, in which at least 15 women made sexual harassment or other hostile workplace claims against club employees, nearly all of whom departed before or immediately after the accusations were revealed.
The NFL’s ongoing investigation into workplace sexual harassment claims made by Washington Football Team employees has revealed a potentially relevant 2009 settlement, and now club owner Daniel Snyder (pictured right with Washington coach Ron Rivera) is fighting to prevent details of the agreement from being made public
Specifics about the 2009 settlement remain under seal, but Beth Wilkinson (pictured), an attorney investigating the sexual harassment claims for the league, is currently engaged in a legal battle with the club’s former counsel to reveal those details. The 2009 settlement involves ‘the nature of misconduct,’ according to court records
Wilkinson was sued in federal court last month by David P. Donovan, the team’s counsel at the time of the 2009 settlement.
Donovan has tried to stop Wilkinson from unsealing the deal, or even revealing its existence, by arguing that publicizing the details would ‘undermine public confidence in the enforceability of confidential agreements.’ (Donovan also served as the team’s chief operating officer for three years)
The request was denied on November 17 and Donovan dropped the lawsuit a week later after U.S. Magistrate Judge Ivan Davis ruled that the allegations contained in the 2009 lawsuit are not sealable.
‘Simply because parties don’t like allegations don’t mean those allegations are sealable,’ Davis told Donovan’s lawyers at a hearing, according to a transcript obtained by the Post. ‘The fact that these details may come out, your client shouldn’t file a federal lawsuit.’
Davis’s ruling came with several caveats. For instance, the employee’s name and title will remain redacted, as will ‘references to the matter’ that led to the allegations.
Wilkinson was sued in federal court last month by David P. Donovan (pictured), the team’s counsel at the time of the 2009 settlement who hopes to stop her from revealing any information about the agreement, including its existence. Donovan argued that publicizing the details would ‘undermine public confidence in the enforceability of confidential agreements’
Wilkinson’s legal team has continued its efforts to unseal the settlement, arguing that it relates to her own investigation of the team’s allegedly hostile workplace.
After Wilkinson recently submitted redacted filings to the court, with an eye towards public disclosure, Donovan made his emergency motion on Monday seeking to delay that decision. Davis granted the motion on Monday afternoon.
Attorneys for Wilkinson and Donovan did not immediately return DailyMail.com’s request for comment, nor did spokespeople for the NFL and the Washington Football Team.
Snyder has agreed to allow current and former employees to speak with investigators by releasing them from nondisclosure agreements. He has also pledged to cooperate with investigators.
Wilkinson, who previously worked with the NFL, was actually hired by Snyder to conduct the investigation when the sexual harassment allegations from the 15 women were revealed over the summer. However, in August, the league assumed oversight of her investigation, and she now reports to the league office in New York.
The 15 accusers who spoke to the Post say they endured unwelcome sexual advances, comments about their physical appearance, and verbal abuse from co-workers or male supervisors. One female employee said she was called ‘f***ing stupid’ and asked to wear a tight dress in a client meeting ‘so the men in the room have something to look at.’
Redskins cheerleaders seen dancing as part of a 2004 event, where Tiffany Bacon Scourby claims Snyder suggested she spend some time with a close friend of his in a nearby hotel room
The Redskins promoted the 2013 calendar shoot on their website. Later a group of former cheerleaders claimed they were asked to pose topless in front of an all-male group of sponsors
The Post report cited former employee Emily Applegate and 14 mostly anonymous women, many of whom claimed they were left unsupported by an understaffed human resources department.
Snyder, himself, was accused of telling a team cheerleader named Tiffany Bacon Scourby in 2004 that she should go to a hotel room with a personal friend of his so the two could ‘get to know each other.’
He was also accused of warning the team’s cheerleading director to ensure the dancers are ‘skinny with big tits’ or he would ‘f***ing kill him.’
Snyder has denied both of these claims.
He recently apologized for the club’s failures without addressing any specific allegation.
‘Let’s be really clear: This is a human issue,’ Snyder told The Wall Street Journal in November. ‘I’m sorry that anyone was hurt, but we can change.
‘We are apologetic,’ added Snyder, who has replaced the team’s controversial name, its President, and the head coach since early summer.
WASHINGTON NFL TEAM EMPLOYEES ACCUSED OF MISCONDUCT OR NEGLIGENCE:
Former Washington Redskins director of pro personnel Alex Santos
Director of pro personnel Alex Santos: Six former employees and two reporters who covered the team told the Washington Post that Santos made inappropriate remarks to them about their appearances. He also asked them if they were interested in him romantically. In 2019, he allegedly pinched Rhiannon Walker, a reporter for The Athletic, and told her she had ‘an ass like a wagon.’ This resulted in an internal investigation. Another reporter, the Ringer’s Nora Princiotti, also accused Santos of harassing her. Santos, who declined to speak with The Post, was fired in July.
Team radio play-by-play announcer Larry Michael: Seven former employees told The Post that ‘the voice of the Washington Redskins’ frequently talked openly about female co-workers looks, often making sexually disparaging remarks. He was once caught on a ‘hot mic’ in 2018 discussing the looks of one intern, six sources told The Post. He is also accused of ordering employees to edit together a video of lewd behind-the-scenes outtakes from a 2008 calendar shoot. Michael, who declined to speak with The Post, retired after 16 seasons in July.
Former radio announcer Larry Michael (left) and former assistant director of pro personnel Richard Mann II (right)
Assistant director of pro personnel Richard Mann II: In a text message obtained by The Post, Mann told a female colleague that he and other men in the office debated whether she had plastic surgery on her breasts. He also warned another female coworker to expect an ‘inappropriate hug’ from him, adding, ‘don’t worry that will be a stapler in my pocket, nothing else.’ Mann declined to speak with The Post after being fired in July.
Former president of business operations Dennis Greene
President of business operations Dennis Greene: Five former employees told The Post that Greene asked female sales staffers to wear revealing outfits and flirt with wealthy season ticket holders and suite holders. Greene worked for the club for 17 years until 2018, when it was revealed that he had sold access to team cheerleaders at a bikini photo shoot in Costa Rica as part of a ticket package. According to a New York Times investigation, the 2013 calendar shoot did not involve any sex, but team officials did worry the cheerleaders by taking their passports. Some cheerleaders say they were required to be topless, although the shoot did not include any nudity. After a 14-hour shoot one day, nine of the 36 cheerleaders were reportedly asked to escort suite holders to a local nightclub. Several of the women began to cry, according to the Times. Greene declined to comment and has not worked for the team since being fired in 2018.
Chief operating officer Mitch Gershman: Former team employee Emily Applegate said he would routinely compliment her body while also regularly berating her for insignificant problems, like printer malfunctions. Her allegations were supported by two other female former employees. When contacted, Gershman told The Post, ‘I barely even remember who she is,’ adding that he ‘would apologize to anyone who thought I was verbally abusive.’ Gershman left the team in 2015.
Team president Bruce Allen: Although he is not accused of any misconduct, Applegate claims Allen must have known about the abuse she was receiving because ‘he sat 30 feet away from me… and saw me sobbing at my desk several times a week.’ The brother of former Virginia Governor and US Senator George Allen, Bruce Allen was fired after the 2019 season.
Majority owner Dan Snyder: A former cheerleader named Tiffany Bacon Scourby told the Washington Post Snyder suggested that she join his ‘close friend’ in a hotel room in 2004 so they ‘could get to know each other.’ The 55-year-old billionaire is also accused of belittling executives, according to three members of the executive staff. Specifically, he mocked Dennis Greene for being a college cheerleader, once allegedly ordering him to do cartwheels for his amusement. He’s reportedly quarreling with the team’s minority partners, who wish to unload their shares, but could likely get more if he were willing to sell too. Snyder remains the team’s majority owner.
Neither team owner Dan Snyder (left) or recently fired team president Bruce Allen (right) are accused of any misconduct, but sources did tell The Post that they should have been aware about the workplace culture, and neither did enough to stop it