Vince McMahon under investigation for paying off employee

WWE, Vince McMahon (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
WWE, Vince McMahon (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

WWE CEO Vince McMahon is under investigation by the WWE board for a $3 million hush payment paid to a former employee after what he says was a consensual affair. The shocking news came on Wednesday afternoon via an article written by Joe Palazzolo of The Wall Street Journal (paid subscription).

WWE Head of Talent Relations, John Laurinaitis, is also a part of the probe due to his relationship with the woman as well. The former employee in question was a paralegal for WWE. According to the explosive report, the board received an anonymous email on March 30 from someone claiming to be a friend of the former employee who said that McMahon hired her friend and “initially hired the woman at a salary of $100,000 but increased it to $200,000 after beginning a sexual relationship with her.

The email to the board also alleged that Mr. McMahon “gave her like a toy” to Mr. Laurinaitis.” The e-mail also says that a deal was brokered by “Vince McMahon and lawyer Jerry”. Jerry is a long-time WWE lawyer, Jerry McDevitt. McDevitt said in a letter to The Wall Street Journal that “WWE did not pay any monies” to the former employee and also said she didn’t make claims of harassment.

Vince McMahon is under investigation after an alleged affair

In April, the WWE board began investigating the claims made in the e-mail. During the investigation, The Wall Street Journal said the board has “unearthed other, older nondisclosure agreements involving claims by former female WWE employees of misconduct by Mr. McMahon and one of his top executives, John Laurinaitis, the head of talent relations at WWE, the people said. The Journal couldn’t determine how many previous agreements were being scrutinized.”

The article goes on to say that “the board’s preliminary findings are that Mr. McMahon used personal funds to pay the former female employees who signed the agreements, including the one involving allegations against Mr. Laurinaitis, this person said.” The agreement

WWE’s board of directors includes McMahon, his daughter and Chief Branding Officer, Stephanie McMahon, her husband, and former wrestler, Paul “Triple H” Levesque, and WWE President, Nick Khan. According to the article, another board member, Man Jit Singh, is the lead independent director. The former Sony Pictures Home Entertainment executive is said to be leading the inquiry.

The board of directors were given a copy of the agreement three days ago. The former employee received $1 million upon signing the non-disclosure agreement. The remainder of the money would be paid out over five years. The employee was hired in 2019 as a paralegal, although she had never taken the bar exam, but did have a law degree. In 2021, she became an assistant for Laurinaitis.

Back on March 3, McMahon had his first sit-down interview in 15 years with WWE commentator and former NFL kicker, Pat McAfee. The interview included such boisterous quotes from McMahon like, “I’m not really an (expletive), I’m a nice person.”, “I’m wired differently.”, “I’m not like most billionaires, I’m wired different.”

On May 19, Stephanie announced on Twitter that she was taking a leave of absence “after taking this time to focus on my family.” She had served as the company’s CBO since 2013 and was recently named as one of Variety‘s Women’s Impact Honorees for impact in the field of media.

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In 1992, former WWF referee, Rita Chatterton, accused McMahon of sexually assaulting her. She taped an episode of Geraldo Rivera’s show, Now It Can Be Told. McMahon and his wife, Linda sued Chatterton and were represented by McDevitt. The lawsuit never went to trial. According to The Wall Street Journal, neither McMahon nor Laurinaitis have made statements about the probe. This is a developing story. Stay tuned to Daily DDT for the latest.