WWE board investigates CEO Vince McMahon for hush money claims
WWE Wrestling is investigating claims that married longtime CEO Vince McMahon has given female employees hush money payments, including a paralegal he reportedly paid $3 million after she doubled her salary while they were having an affair.
McMahon, 76, is married to Linda McMahon, a former Trump administration official, and the couple have two adult children, one of whom sits on the WWE board with her father.
According to a report by The Wall Street Journal on Thursday, the 12-member board hired a law firm to investigate allegations that McMahon paid off female employees — with his own money — after being charged with misconduct.
The investigation began in April after the board received emails from the friend of an unnamed 41-year-old paralegal.
McMahon has been CEO of the multi-billion dollar company since 2009 and is said to be worth $2 billion.
WWE wrestling investigates Vince McMahon over claims he paid women hush money after they accused him of misconduct, including a 41-year-old paralegal who says he gave her $3 million after they had an affair
McMahon is married to Trump aide Linda McMahon, who was the head of the Small Business Administration during Trump’s presidency.
She said McMahon hired her with a salary of $100,000, and then doubled that salary after they started having sex. She claims he then “passed her on like a toy” to John Laurinaitis, the head of talent at WWE.
The woman’s boyfriend said their affair ended, she received “millions” from McMahon through his attorney Jerry McDevitt.
McDevitt neither confirmed nor denied that McMahon had given the woman millions, or that they were having an affair, but he did say the woman never accused him of harassment.
He added that no money from the company was used to pay her off.
After receiving the claim from the paralegal’s friend, the board’s investigation uncovered more alleged payments to female employees of McMahon and Laurinaitis, dating back years.
Those allegations revolve around claims of unspecified misconduct, but it’s unclear whether the misconduct was sexual or of some other nature.
McMahon’s attorney did not immediately respond to questions Thursday afternoon and WWE did not issue any statement.
McMahon’s wife Linda with President Donald Trump in Mar-a-Lago in 2019. She now works at America First Institute
McMahon in the ring with Umaga at a WWE event in 2007. He began his WWE career as a ring announcer and is now reportedly worth $2 billion
Trump and McMahon at WrestleMania 23 2011 in Trump Tower. Trump played in the theatrical wrestling matches for years and had a public frenemy feud with McMahon
Trump and McMahon at the 2007 ‘Hair v Hair’ match, in which they each chose a wrestler to fight each other as part of their feud. Then they delighted fans with their own fake fight in the ring
It remains unclear whether he and Laurinaitis will remain at their posts.
Laurinaitis is also married, but it is unclear if he was married at the time of the charges; he married wife Kathy in 2016.
McMahon has been WWE CEO since 2009 and is worth $2 billion
Her daughters, Nikki and Brie Bella, are WWE stars known as The Bella Twins.
McMahon and his family occupy a quarter of the seats on the board; he is the president and his daughter, Stephanie, also sits on it with her husband.
His wife Linda was the administrator of the Small Business Association during Donald Trump’s presidency.
Now she works at the America First Institute. She has not yet commented on claims of her husband’s business or alleged payments to women.
The McMahon family has long been synonymous with the world of WWE.
He got involved through his own father, who gave him his first job as a ring announcer when he was a teenager.
McMahon then climbed through the ranks of the company, then called the Capitol Wrestling Corporation.
The company morphed into the World Wrestling Federation in the 1980s and World Wrestling Entertainment years later.
It is under McMahon’s leadership that the sport became commercially popular, attracting millions of fans around the world through television competitions and theatrical characters.