Washington Football Team owner Dan Snyder reportedly attempted to interfere with the NFL’s investigation into sexual harassment and hostile workplace claims against the club with the help of attorneys, private investigators, and an attempt to bribe a woman who accused the billionaire of sexual misconduct in 2009.
As reported by the Washington Post, Snyder sought to prevent former employees from speaking to independent investigator Beth Wilkinson, a prominent attorney who was originally hired by the Washington Football Team (WFT) in 2020 to investigate the hostile workplace allegations against the club.
The NFL took control of the investigation in 2020 and Wilkinson began reporting to commissioner Roger Goodell’s office until July of 2021, when the probe was concluded, the team was fined $10 million, and Snyder temporarily stepped away from day-to-day control of the franchise.
Washington Football Team owner Dan Snyder (pictured) reportedly attempted to interfere with the NFL’s investigation into sexual harassment and hostile workplace claims against the club with the help of attorneys, private investigators, and an attempt to bribe a woman who accused the billionaire of sexual misconduct in 2009
As reported by the Washington Post, Snyder sought to prevent former employees from speaking to independent investigator Beth Wilkinson (left), a prominent attorney who was originally hired by the Washington Football Team (WFT) in 2020 to investigate the hostile workplace claims against the club. The NFL promptly took control of the investigation in the summer of 2020 and Wilkinson began reporting to commissioner Roger Goodell’s office until July, when the WFT was fined $10 million and Snyder temporarily stepped away from day-to-day control of the franchise. The NFL did not release the findings of that investigation, citing privacy issues, but one revelation did surface in December of 2020 when the Washington Post reported that Snyder had settled a sexual misconduct claim for $1.6 million in 2009. The specifics of the allegation are not clear, but the incident reportedly occurred on Snyder’s private plane returning from the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas. References to the allegation also surfaced in separate court filings, which have been reviewed by DailyMail.com. The woman’s allegations were reported to the team’s general counsel at the time, David Donovan (right), who led an investigation that exonerated the billionaire owner and accused the woman of lying about her accusations against Snyder, according to The Post. Wilkinson reportedly attempted to interview Snyder’s 2009 accuser as part of her probe
When Snyder’s attorneys reportedly learned that his accuser still intended to speak to investigators, Donovan sued Wilkinson in federal court in an effort to bar her from speaking to NFL officials about the settlement
Allegations against team employees ranged from inappropriate comments to the creation of a lewd behind-the-scenes video from a cheerleader calendar shoot in 2008, according to a 2020 Washington Post report. Snyder, himself, was accused of making inappropriate comments to one cheerleader, but he denied the claim. Nearly all of the accused employees have left the team or were dismissed.
The NFL did not release the findings of that investigation, citing privacy issues, but one revelation did surface in December of 2020 when the Washington Post reported that Snyder had previously settled a sexual misconduct claim for $1.6 million in 2009.
The specifics of the accusation are not clear, but the incident allegedly occurred on Snyder’s private plane returning from the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas. References to the allegation also surfaced in separate court filings, which have been reviewed by DailyMail.com.
The woman reported her allegations to the team’s general counsel at the time, David Donovan, who led an investigation that exonerated Snyder and accused the woman of lying about her accusations, according to The Post.
Later, she sued the club and eventually agreed to a confidential $1.6 million settlement.
Wilkinson reportedly attempted to interview Snyder’s 2009 accuser as part of her probe.
But although Snyder pledged he would cooperate with Wilkinson’s probe, the accuser’s attorney, Brendan Sullivan, reportedly alleged that the billionaire attempted buy his client’s silence in 2020. Sullivan made the claim in a letter that was later included in a court filing, according to The Post.
And when Snyder’s attorneys reportedly learned that the woman still intended to speak to investigators, Donovan sued Wilkinson in federal court, in an effort to bar her from speaking to NFL officials about the settlement.
Sullivan declined to comment on the case when contacted by DailyMail.com. Wilkinson also declined to speak with the Washington Post.
Snyder’s attorneys have issued a denial.
‘Untrue,’ said A. Scott Bolden of the law firm Reed Smith, which represents Snyder. ‘It did not happen. Absolutely no effort was made by me or any Reed Smith lawyers to dissuade anyone from speaking with Beth Wilkinson or otherwise cooperating with her investigation, nor was any money offered to anyone not to cooperate. Anyone suggesting something to the contrary is lying.’
Snyder’s attorneys also filed petitions in federal court in an apparent attempt to publicly identify former employees who spoke to the Washington Post in 2020.
According to the Post, one judge suggested that Snyder was trying to ‘burden and harass’ former employees who were speaking to the media.
Furthermore, Snyder’s private investigators contacted former employees or their friends and relatives, which many saw as an act of intimidation, according to The Post.
A similar accusation surfaced in October, when former WFT employee Melanie Coburn told Fox News that private investigators had questioned her about former club president Bruce Allen – one of Snyder’s perceived enemies who was fired in Washington after a 3-13 season in 2019.
‘He sent over a dozen private investigators to my colleagues’ homes across the country … to show up on cheerleaders’ doorstops and ask them what their relationship with Bruce Allen was,’ Coburn said.
Allen was the recipient of racist and homophobic emails from longtime NFL coach and television analyst Jon Gruden – emails that surfaced in the NFL’s hostile workplace probe into the WFT.
Melanie Coburn, a former employee of the Washington Football Team, speaks to reporters during the NFL football owners meeting on Tuesday in New York. Coburn, who worked with the team’s cheerleaders for 14 years, claims Snyder leaked the emails in an effort to push blame for the team’s sexual harassment scandal onto Allen. She has also called on the NFL to release the findings of its investigation into the Washington Football Team
In the emails, which Gruden sent when he worked as an on-air analyst for ESPN, the decorated coach used a racist trope to describe players’ union executive director DeMaurice Smith, an African American, and called commissioner Goodell a ‘f*****.’
There has been speculation that the emails were leaked by the Snyder or his employees.
NBC’s Peter King, a veteran NFL reporter, wrote that ‘several smart people in the league think the leaks come from the Snyder camp’ and that reporting has since been matched by the Washington Post.
Coburn, who worked with the team’s cheerleaders for 14 years, also claimed Snyder leaked the emails in an effort to push blame for the team’s sexual harassment scandal onto Allen.
Bruce Allen, the recipient of Gruden’s emails, was fired in Washington in 2019 following a 3-13 season. Since then, he and team owner Daniel Snyder have battled each other in court over severance pay and Snyder’s claim that Allen spread false information about him to a website
‘I believe Dan Snyder leaked these emails,’ Coburn told Fox News on October 19. ‘I believe he’s trying to put all the blame on Bruce Allen.’
‘I feel like he’s trying to pin everything on Bruce, right, and place all the blame for all of the bad culture on him, which just isn’t true.’
Snyder’s attorney, Jordan Siev, denied Coburn’s accusations in a statement to DailyMail.com.
‘Any suggestion by Ms. Coburn that anyone associated with the Washington Football Team was behind any leaks concerning Jon Gruden is categorically false and part of a pattern of misinformation being spread by Ms. Coburn,’ Siev said.
Allen did not respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.
If Coburn’s claim is correct, this wouldn’t be the first time Snyder shared a portion of these emails.
Redacted versions of some of Gruden’s emails were also filed in federal court last June as part of Snyder’s efforts to compel Allen to produce discovery in a separate defamation lawsuit filed in India against a tabloid website. Several of the emails included in that court filing and reviewed by DailyMail.com are among the messages leaked to the Times.
Snyder was attempting to prove Allen was involved in a plot to falsely connect him to disgraced investor Jeffrey Epstein, the financier and convicted sex offender who committed suicide in prison in 2019.
Jon Gruden’s racist, homophobic, and misogynistic messages were included among 650,000 emails in the NFL’s 10-month probe into hostile workplace and sexual harassment allegations against the Washington Football Team (WFT). As a result of the investigation that ended in July, the club was fined $10 million and Dan agreed to cede day-to-day control of the franchise to Tanya. The 58-year-old Gruden resigned earlier this month after the emails he sent to then-WFT president Bruce Allen between 2011 and 2018 surfaced in The New York Times and Wall Street Journal
His motion directing discovery from Allen in the case was dropped in April.
The two have also been at odds over over several issues, including Allen’s severance, which Snyder was forced to pay in full in 2020.
The league’s WFT report, in which the emails were contained, remains a contentious issue.
Citing confidentiality concerns, Goodell has refused calls to issue a report on the league’s 10-month investigation.
In October, an NFL spokesman denied to DailyMail.com that the league was trying to protect Snyder, but according to The Post, former team employees took notice that the leaked emails spared the billionaire any embarrassment while serving to damage Allen’s reputation.
WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM SEXUAL HARASSMENT FALLOUT:
Majority owner Dan Snyder: A former cheerleader named Tiffany Bacon Scourby told the Washington Post that Snyder suggested that she join his ‘close friend’ in a hotel room in 2004 so they ‘could get to know each other.’ The 56-year-old billionaire is also accused of belittling executives, according to three members of the executive staff. Specifically, he’s accused of mocking Dennis Greene for being a college cheerleader, once allegedly ordering him to do cartwheels for his amusement. Snyder has privately settled one sexual harassment allegation, according to The New York Times and Washington Post. Snyder remains the team’s official owner, but has stepped away from day-to-day involvement with the club and made his wife Tanya co-CEO as the league imposed a $10 million fine.
Dan Snyder (left) still owns the Washington Football Team, but has ceded day-to-day control of the franchise following the NFL’s investigation into sexual harassment claims against the club. He has since accused now-former team president Bruce Allen (right) of conspiring to spread false information about him to an Indian website
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 Allen was not accused of sexual harassment or verbal abuse, Applegate claims he must have known about her problems 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 found himself at the center of Jon Gruden’s email controversy in October of 2021 when the now-former Raiders coach’s racist, homophobic messages were mysteriously leaked to the media. Bruce Allen was fired after the 2019 season, when Washington went 3-13.
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 he resigned in 2018.