Report: $5 Million In Unrecorded Vince McMahon Expenses Connected To Donald Trump WWE Appearances
Vince McMahon failed to report his payments to the Donald Trump Foundation
While it already appeared to be the case, it has been confirmed by the Wall Street Journal that $5 million in unrecorded expenses from Vince McMahon were payments to the Donald Trump Foundation in 2007 and 2009, bringing the total in undeclared McMahon expenses to $19.6 million.
IRS filings showed that WWE sent exactly $5 million in contributions to the Donald Trump Foundation in 2007 and 2009, with $4 million in 2007 and a further $1 million two years later. Donald Trump appeared on WWE TV in both years, first through his involvement in the Battle of the Billionaires at WrestleMania 23. He then bought and sold Monday Night Raw on a 2009 episode of the red brand.
The payments were ultimately linked to Trump's TV appearances with a person who reviewed the former US President's contract for WrestleMania 23 telling WSJ that Trump directed Vince McMahon to pay a $4 million appearance fee to the Donald Trump Foundation. Trump then boasted following 'Mania that his appearance had been so successful that McMahon agreed to pay an extra $1 million.
Vince McMahon's attorney Jerry McDevitt rejected that the $1 million was a bonus, though, writing: "Mr Trump and WWE entered into a contract whereby WWE agreed to and did pay him personally an appearance fee of $1 million. At the same time, the McMahons made a personal contribution to the Trump Foundation of $4 million. There was no additional fee paid to Mr Trump, or any additional contribution to the Trump Foundation, due to the success of the event."
McDevitt stated that Trump received $100,000 for his 2009 Raw appearance and Vince McMahon and Linda McMahon donated $1 million to the Trump Foundation that year.
WWE were registered as the payees for the transactions but the funds actually came directly from Vince McMahon. A WWE attorney noted to WSJ that the payments should have been registered as business expenses since Vince McMahon was the principal shareholder of WWE and the payments benefited the organisation.
The majority of Vince McMahon's unrecorded expenses were related to the hush money and sexual misconduct allegations surrounding the 76-year-old. McMahon resigned as WWE CEO and Chairman on July 22 and his departure was hastened by investigations from the SEC and federal prosecutors being opened into the hush payments.