Washington Football Team owner Dan Snyder tried to prevent a woman who accused him of sexual misconduct from speaking with D.C. attorney Beth Wilkinson as part of her investigation into the franchise last year, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.
The Post reported that Wilkinson learned of the 2009 allegation shortly after she began her investigation. According to the Post, when Wilkinson tried to interview the former team employee, Snyder’s attorneys worked to prevent that from happening.
Last December, the Post reported that the team had reached a $1.6 million settlement with the woman, who had threatened to sue the Washington owner. The woman said the sexual misconduct took place on Snyder’s private plane. The settlement agreement did not detail the allegations, and neither Snyder nor the team admitted to any wrongdoing.
In its story Tuesday, the Post reported that Snyder’s attorneys had offered the woman more money to maintain her silence. The woman’s attorney, according to the Post, wrote a letter to Snyder’s lawyers that was filed in federal court about the attempt to block Wilkinson from speaking to her.
The Post, citing a review of court records and interviews with dozens of people connected to the Washington Football Team or the NFL, reported that Snyder hired private investigators who were viewed by potential witnesses as trying to interfere with the NFL’s investigation.
A. Scott Bolden of the law firm Reed Smith, which represents Snyder and the team, released a statement in response to the Post’s story that said, “Untrue. 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.”
Meanwhile, the latest revelations prompted two members of Congress — who had already asked the NFL for transparency about its probe into sexual harassment and other improper conduct within the Washington organization — to now ask the league to provide evidence of Snyder’s interference with the investigation.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat who is chairwoman of the House Oversight Committee, and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, an Illinois Democrat who is chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, made their latest request Tuesday.
“While Mr. Snyder publicly stated that he wanted independent investigators to ferret out the truth, today’s reporting suggests that he was privately trying to obstruct the efforts of the very investigator he hired in an effort to conceal damaging information,” Maloney said in a news release issued by the Oversight Committee’s majority staff. “These disturbing revelations have only strengthened the Committee’s commitment to uncovering the truth in this matter.”
Added Krishnamoorthi: “Snyder will stop at nothing. To get to the bottom of this story, [the] NFL must immediately turn over all evidence of Snyder’s interference and the other documents we requested over a month ago.”
Wilkinson did not submit a written report to the NFL after her nearly yearlong investigation into the workplace culture of the Washington Football Team. Her report was announced on July 1. The organization was fined $10 million by the NFL.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.