World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. WWE CEO Vince McMahon is reportedly the subject of an internal corporate investigation regarding a $3 million payment to a former female employee with whom he allegedly had an affair.
What Happened: The Wall Street Journal, citing documents and people familiar with the board inquiry, reported the former employee was hired as a paralegal in 2019 and had signed a non-disclosure agreement last January that prevents her from discussing the nature of her relationship with McMahon.
The WWE board began its investigation into McMahon in April and reportedly discovered older non-disclosure agreements involving former employees and either McMahon or John Laurinaitis, the head of talent relations at the company and a former wrestler who performed under the name Johnny Ace. The payments made to former employees reportedly totaled millions of dollars.
What Happens Next: The WWE board has appointed New York City-based law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP to conduct the investigation, according to the Journal’s unnamed sources, who added that McMahon paid off the former employees with his personal funds rather than corporate money.
McMahon’s attorney, Jerry McDevitt, informed the Journal that the former paralegal did not raise harassment claims against McMahon and “WWE did not pay any monies … on her departure.”
The board’s independent directors are conducting the investigation – McMahon is a board member, along with his daughter Stephanie McMahon and her husband Paul Levesque, who performed as a wrestler under the name Triple H. Stephanie is on a leave of absence as the company’s chief brand officer, citing the need to “focus on my family.”
The 76-year-old McMahon has been married since 1966 to Linda McMahon, formerly the company’s CEO and also served as head of the Small Business Administration during the Trump administration.
Photo: Vince McMahon with Paul Levesque; courtesy of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff / Flickr Creative Commons
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