A former worker at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J, said she was sexually harassed and coerced into having sex with her supervisor and then tricked into signing a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) by Trump lawyer Alina Habba.
In the lawsuit obtained by Politico, Alice Bianco alleged that the club’s food and beverage manager Pavel Melichar repeatedly forced himself on her; retaliated against her with “unfair job assignments”; and in 2021 forced her “to engage in sex as a quid pro quo for continued employment and ‘protection.’”
When the matter was brought to the club’s attention, Bianco said she got a call from human resources and decided to hire an attorney. At that point Habba, a member of the club, approached the then-21-year-old Bianco “pretending to be her friend” and promised to help her.
“During the next couple days, Ms. Habba continued the process of grooming Plaintiff, pretending that they were friends, calling and texting her, stating that she only wanted to help her ‘two really good friends,’ meaning Ms. Bianco and Donald Trump,” the lawsuit says.
She then turned Bianco against her attorney so she was left with no legal representation and pressured her into signing a NDA, which she claimed would not be taxed and would include payments for therapy. The lawsuit noted that neither of those things are true since New Jersey had barred NDAs in cases of workplace harassment two years earlier, in 2019.
After Bianco signed the agreement Habba warned her to “not try to sell her story to the media because she would owe Trump the settlement proceeds and the media would only pay about $3,000,” the suit says.
Bianco had no idea Habba worked as an attorney for Trump until weeks after she signed the agreement, which was also drafted by Habba’s law firm.
“I didn’t know my rights. I didn’t know Alina wasn’t supposed to discuss a case with me without my lawyer,” Bianco told Politico in a statement. “I didn’t know New Jersey had banned non-disclosure agreements for victims of sexual harassment. All I knew was that the person claiming to be my friend and advisor threw me in the trash as soon as she pressured me into silence.”
The suit says the NDA left Bianco “afraid to speak about her harassment for fear of draconian and illegal penalties.”
Bianco does not seek any new monetary damages. Instead, she is asking the court to stop the club from enforcing the NDA, be allowed to keep the initial settlement money (which the lawsuit describes as “paltry”) and have the club pay her legal fees. The suit also seeks to refer Habba to the New Jersey Office of Attorney Ethics for ethics violations.
Habba told Politico in a statement: “I always conduct myself ethically and acted no differently in this circumstance.”