Through much of 2011 and 2012, American record-setting swimmer Dagny Knutson was, by her own admission, in “kind of a fog.”
Just months after leaving her native North Dakota in the summer of 2010 for an Orange County-based USA Swimming elite training program designed to serve as a pipeline to the Olympic Games, Knutson found herself without a coach and financial support, and battling severe depression and an eating disorder.
In April 2011, Knutson, encouraged by her attorney, accepted a financial agreement with USA Swimming that was worth less than her original deal with the sport’s national governing body, she said.
Knutson filed a lawsuit in Orange County Superior Court this week against that attorney, Richard J. Foster, the former USA Water Polo president and longtime powerbroker in national and international swimming and aquatic sports. The suit alleges fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and financial abuse of a dependent adult.
Knutson alleges in the suit that while counseling her to accept the 2011 settlement, Foster failed to reveal to her alleged conflicts of interest stemming from his representation of the original contract’s architect, then-USA Swimming national team director Mark Schubert, in contract negotiations and a civil suit.
In filing the suit against Foster, Knutson said she wanted to get “my story out there because I don’t want this to happen to anyone else.”