Rich Rodriguez alleges accuser tried to extort $7.5 million from him
Former Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez is alleging that the woman who accused him of harassment tried to extort $7.5 million from him.
In a legal response from Rodriguez’s lawyers obtained by Anne Ryman and Craig Harris of the Republic, Rodriguez alleges that former assistant Melissa Wilhelmsen’s attorney contacted the coach with three untrue allegations of harassment in early November. The lawyer then demanded payment to resolve the complaint, demanding $7.5 million with a payment deadline set the day before Arizona’s bowl game on Dec. 27.
Rodriguez said he brought the extortion allegations to the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“Demanding the payment the day before the Bowl Game was vicious, cut-throat, and explainable only as the ultimate threat to extort Coach and Mrs. Rodriguez of the $7.5 million,” the filing said.
Wilhelmsen’s workplace misconduct claim against Rodriguez ultimately cost him his job, though he has repeatedly denied wrongdoing.