A woman formerly employed by the Trump National Golf Club filed a lawsuit against the Donald Trump-owned business Wednesday claiming she was pressured into sex by her supervisor and coerced by Trump’s personal lawyer into signing an illegal nondisclosure agreement.
Alice Bianco filed her lawsuit against the Bedminster, New Jersey, club in the state’s Middlesex County Superior Court. In her claim, first reported by Politico, Bianco makes a series of disturbing allegations about her experience as a server at the club in 2021 when she was 21.
Within her first month of employment, Bianco alleges, the club’s food and beverage manager, Pavel Melichar, began sexually harassing her by making her wear short uniform skirts and giving her a bottle of Cognac as a gift, which eventually led to him forcibly kidding her and asking her “what she was going to do for him” in exchange for her job security. Melichar, who was in his mid-50s, would show Bianco videos of Trump praising him “so that she knew he was powerful,” the lawsuit alleges.
Despite Bianco’s rejections, Melichar ramped up his harassment, the lawsuit claims, and “made it clear to her that he could make her life easy or hard.” He then allegedly “began to require [Bianco] to engage in sex as a quid pro quo for continued employment and ‘protection,’ as he called it,’” over the next two months, then retaliated against her with unfair work assignments and stolen tips when she demanded an end to the sexual harassment.
Trump’s personal lawyer Alina Habba then stepped into the fray after one of Bianco’s co-workers wrote a letter to the former president’s personal staff accusing Melichar and other supervisors of harassment, the lawsuit states. The filing claims Habba then approached her at work and said she “had heard” about her situation and could “help her,” pressuring the young woman to fire an employment lawyer she’d hired to counsel her in the matter.
Once Bianco was without legal representation, the lawsuit claims, Habba called her to a meeting in her car, identified herself as a rape victim and told her it was in Bianco’s best interest not to go public with her claims. Instead, Habba allegedly said, her best course of action would be to sign a nondisclosure agreement. Bianco signed it without seeing a copy of the agreement and received only a “paltry settlement,” the amount of which was not stated in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit asks the court to block the NDA’s enforcement, let Bianco keep the settlement money, force the club to pay her legal fees and refer Habba’s actions to the New Jersey Office of Attorney Ethics.
In statements to Politico, both Melichar and Habba brushed off Bianco’s claims.
“I don’t know anything about it and I have nothing to say,” Melichar said. Habba responded: “I always conduct myself ethically and acted no differently in this circumstance.”
The Trump National Golf Club at Bedminster did not immediately return HuffPost’s request for comment.
Trump is not named in Bianco’s lawsuit, but at least 26 women have come forward with sexual assault or harassment allegations against him throughout his career. Earlier this year, a federal jury held him accountable in one of the most high-profile of those accusations, finding him liable in the sexual assault of writer E. Jean Carroll in a department store dressing room in New York City in the mid-1990s.
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.