A woman accused Washington’s owner, Dan Snyder, of sexually harassing and assaulting her on a team plane in 2009, and the team subsequently paid $1.6 million to settle her claims, according to a document obtained by The Washington Post.
The Post reported Tuesday that it obtained a letter from a lawyer working with the team detailing the woman’s allegations while arguing that her allegations are not credible. The $1.6 million settlement was previously disclosed in legal files related to more recent investigations by the team, but details of the woman’s allegations have not been disclosed. The woman agreed not to sue the team or publicly disclose her allegations as part of the settlement.
Snyder denied the woman’s allegations, according to the letter, and an investigative team accused her of composing the allegations in an attempt to blackmail him.
The contents of the letter were revealed a day before a scheduled hearing by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, which investigates workplace culture for the Washington team. Snyder declined a committee call to testify, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell He was to testify from a distance.
The NFL fined the team $10 million and Snyder pulled out of its day-to-day operations after an investigation by attorney Beth Wilkinson exposed a workplace culture that was abusive to women. But the association refused to publish a written report on Wilkinson’s findings.
The commission has since uncovered an allegation of sexual harassment by Snyder. Former team employee Tiffany Johnston told the committee that Snyder touched her during the team dinner and tried to force her into his limousine, which Snyder denied.
This led to a new investigation with the NFL-ordered team led by Mary Jo White, a former US attorney and chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission. White is also looking into allegations of financial wrongdoing by a former vice president of sales for the team. The NFL said White’s results will be made public.
The letter obtained by The Post was written by Howard Shapiro, an attorney at WilmerHale law firm, who helped the team investigate the woman’s allegations. Shapiro wrote that the woman’s allegations were “false on purpose.” He declined to comment on the Washington Post.
According to the letter, the woman accused Snyder of asking her to have sex, groping and trying to undress in a private, partitioned area in the back of the team’s plane during the return flight from a flight to Las Vegas.
The letter stated that none of the other passengers on the flight supported the woman’s account. Others said the plane’s aft area door was open for most of the flight and that other passengers and flight attendants were frequently in that section, according to the letter.