World Wrestling Entertainment’s board is investigating a confidential $3 million settlement that CEO Vince McMahon agreed to make for a former employee over an alleged affair, according to The Wall Street Journal Wednesday report.
The dismissal agreement, which was signed in January, aims to prevent the former employee from discussing her relationship with McMahon or making derogatory comments about him, according to the newspaper. An email sent to members of WWE’s board of directors on March 30 states that the 76-year-old McMahon hired the former employee, 41, at a salary of $100,000, then gave her a raise to $200,000 after the alleged sexual relationship with her began.
The report, citing documents and accounts of people familiar with the board’s investigation, said the board investigation began in April and revealed other nondisclosure agreements over the years that include allegations of misconduct by former employees against McMahon and John Laurents, WWE’s head of talent relations.
An email sent to the board of directors regarding the former WWE employee, who was hired as a legal assistant in 2019, claimed that McMahon gave the woman to Laurinaitis “like a game.” The report said the council was investigating the email allegations. The newspaper reported that the board hired law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett to conduct the investigation and that payments from other non-disclosure agreements, other than those related to the former employee, amounted to millions of dollars.
ESPN’s request for comment was not returned from WWE on Wednesday night. The newspaper reported that a WWE spokesperson said the company was cooperating fully with the board’s investigation and that the relationship between the paralegal and McMahon was consensual.
McMahon bought the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) from his father, Vincent J. Austin and John Cena.
WWE is a publicly traded company, but McMahon still holds a majority shareholder vote.
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