WWE chairman Vince McMahon is reportedly under investigation by the company’s board for an alleged secret $3 million payment to a former employee he supposedly had an affair with.
The 12-member board, which also includes McMahon’s daughter, Stephanie McMahon, and son-in-law Paul Levesque (better known as Triple H), learned of the alleged settlement agreement from anonymous emails from someone who claimed to be a friend of the woman, who was a paralegal at WWE, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
An email was reportedly sent to the board March 30 and claimed the woman’s salary was increased after McMahon began a “sexual relationship with her” and then McMahon “gave her like a toy” to the head of talent relations, John Laurinaitis.
According to the Wall Street Journal, a separation agreement was reached that bars the former employee from discussing the relationship or disparaging McMahon. The woman was first hired in 2019.
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The board’s investigation into the issue began in April, when other nondisclosure agreements over misconduct claims from former workers against McMahon and Laurinaitis were revealed, according to the report.
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The New York-based law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP has reportedly been retained to investigate the claims and assess the company’s culture.
A WWE spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal it is fully cooperating with the board’s investigation and maintained the relationship between McMahon and the paralegal was consensual. A letter to the paper from McMahon’s lawyer, Jerry McDevitt, said the woman hadn’t made any claims of harassment against McMahon, and the company “did not pay any monies” to the woman “on her departure.”
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McMahon bought the company, then called the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), from his father in 1982 and helped build it into what it is today.