Report: WWE Investigating Secret $3 Million Hush Payment By Vince McMahon Over Alleged Sexual Relationship
Hush payment from Vince McMahon over an alleged affair
Vince McMahon is currently under investigation from the WWE board over a secret $3 million settlement the WWE Chairman agreed to pay a departing employee he allegedly had an affair with, the Wall Street Journal have reported. The settlement signed in January 2022 prevents the former employee from speaking about her relationship with McMahon and from disparaging him.
Board members found out about the settlement through a series of anonymous emails from an individual who claimed to be a friend of the former employee. The first email was received on March 30 and alleged that McMahon initially hired the woman as a paralegal in 2019 on a salary of $100,000. Her salary then increased to $200,000 once she began a sexual relationship with McMahon. The first email also alleged that McMahon "gave her like a toy" to WWE Head Of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis and she became an assistant to Johnny Ace in 2021.
Furthermore, the first email stated: "My friend was so scared so she quit after Vince McMahon and lawyer Jerry paid her millions of dollars to shut up." That lawyer was Jerry McDevitt, McMahon's longtime attorney and he negotiated the deal, WSJ reported.
A copy of the $3 million settlement was received by WWE directors on June 12 and the nondisclosure agreement revealed a $1 million upfront payment was to be made to the former employee. The remaining $2 million would be paid over five years.
This seemingly isn't the only nondisclosure agreement related to Vince McMahon, though, and the WWE board's investigation unearthed other older NDA's which included claims of misconduct against McMahon and Laurinaitis from former female WWE employees.
WWE board's outside counsel, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP are conducting the investigation and their findings in recent days showed the payments, that were made using McMahon's personal funds, totalled millions of dollars. The WWE board investigation is headed by WWE President Nick Khan.
A WWE spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal that the company is cooperating fully with the inquiry and that the relationship with the former employee was consensual. WWE are also taking the allegations seriously and they are being dealt with appropriately.
Jerry McDevitt stated that the former employee had made no claims of harassment against McMahon. He also said "WWE did not pay any monies" to the former employee when she left.