An explosive report from the Wall Street Journal states that WWE’s board of directors is investigating a secret settlement deal involving Vince McMahon and a former employee.
On Wednesday afternoon, WSJ reporters Joe Palazzolo and Ted Mann reported that the alleged January 2022 separation agreement worth $3 million dollars involved a former paralegal, who was hired in 2019 and engaged in a relationship with McMahon.
The report states that the board began its investigation in April and discovered other nondisclosure agreements involving former female employees making misconduct claims against McMahon and executive John Laurinaitis. According to WSJ’s sources, the previous nondisclosure agreements were tabbed as “millions of dollars” worth of payments.
The law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is overseeing the investigation and states that preliminary findings believe that McMahon used his personal funds to pay the former female employees, per the Wall Street Journal.
A spokesperson with WWE tells the Wall Street Journal that it is cooperating with the inquiry and classified the relationship between McMahon and the former employee as “consensual”.
McMahon’s attorney, Jerry McDevitt of K&L Gates, sent a letter to the Wall Street Journal and stated that the former employee made no allegations of harassment against McMahon and added that, “WWE did not pay any monies….on her departure.”
WSJ reports that members of the board of directors first learned of the $3 million agreement after receiving anonymous emails from an alleged friend of the ex-employee. The friend claimed that the former employee was hired at a salary of $100,000 and moved up to $200,000 after beginning a sexual relationship with McMahon with the email adding that McMahon is alleged that he “gave her like a toy” to Laurinaitis and claims McDevitt paid her millions of dollars to shut up.
WWE’s 12-person board of directors consists of Vince McMahon, Nick Khan, Stephanie McMahon-Levesque, Paul Levesque, Steve Koonin, Ignace Lahoud, Erika Nardini, Steve Pamon, Connor Schell, Man Jit Singh, Jeffrey R. Speed, and Alan M. Wexler.