WWE Board Investigating ‘Secret’ Vince McMahon Settlement, per Report
According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, the WWE board is investigating a multimillion dollar settlement chief executive Vince McMahon agreed to pay a now-former employee he was having an affair with.
The employee was hired as a paralegal in 2019, and the separation agreement dated January ’22 states she cannot disparage him or discuss their relationship. The investigation was reportedly launched in April, and per WSJ, the probe has “unearthed other, older nondisclosure agreements involving claims by former female WWE employees of misconduct” by McMahon and head of talent relations, John Laurinaitis.
A WWE spokesperson confirmed to WSJ that the relationship with the former paralegal was consensual. McMahon’s attorney said in a statement to the Journal that the woman did not make harassment claims against the chief executive, adding that “WWE did not pay any monies” to the former employee “on her departure.”
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New York-based law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP has been retained by the WWE board’s eight independent directors to investigate the matter. According to preliminary findings, McMahon had paid former female employees who had signed agreements using personal funds. The law firm will assess compliance and human-resources program as well as company culture.
The board was notified of the alleged settlement through a series of anonymous emails from someone who identified as the former WWE paralegal’s friend, WSJ reported. The first email came near the end of March, alleging that the woman was hired on a $100,000 salary, but after a sexual relationship began between the employee and McMahon, he increased it to $200,000. Additionally, the email reportedly said the former WWE paralegal was given to Laurinaitis “like a toy.”
On June 12, the board reportedly received a copy of the settlement agreement, which detailed the NDA and how there was a $1 million upfront payment and the remaining $2 million would be paid over the course of five years.
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