Report: WWE Board Investigating Secret $3 Million Hush Pact By Vince McMahon Over Alleged Affair

Vince McMahon is under investigation by the WWE board.

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, the WWE board is investigating a secret $3 million settlement that Vince McMahon reportedly agreed to pay to a departing employee with whom he allegedly had an affair, according to documents and people familiar with the board inquiry.

Shelton Benjamin: If WWE Asks Me To Return, I Would. I Would Be A Fool Not To

A January 2022 separation agreement reportedly bars the now-former employee, who was hired as a paralegal in 2019, from discussing her relationship with Mr. McMahon or disparaging him.

The investigation reportedly began in April when other, older nondisclosure agreements involving claims by former female WWE employees of misconduct by Mr. McMahon and John Laurinaitis, the head of talent relations at WWE. The Wall Street Journal couldn’t determine how many previous agreements were being "scrutinized."

Board members reportedly learned of the $3 million agreement in a series of anonymous emails they received from someone who said the former WWE paralegal was a friend.

The first email, sent to board members on March 30, alleged that Mr. McMahon initially hired the woman at a salary of $100,000 but increased it to $200,000 after beginning a sexual relationship with her. The email to the board also alleged that Mr. McMahon “gave her like a toy” to Mr. Laurinaitis. The board is investigating the allegations in the email, the people familiar with the inquiry said. The former employee reportedly moved from the legal department in 2021 to become an assistant to Mr. Laurinaitis.

“My friend was so scared so she quit after Vince McMahon and lawyer Jerry paid her millions of dollars to shut up,” the initial email to the board said, referring to Mr. McMahon’s longtime lawyer, Mr. McDevitt, who negotiated the deal, according to people familiar with the board inquiry.

Outside counsel for the board is reportedly still collecting information about the other NDAs but has determined that the payments totaled in the millions of dollars. The board’s preliminary findings reportedly are that Mr. McMahon used personal funds to pay the former female employees who signed the agreements, including the one involving allegations against Mr. Laurinaitis.

The directors reportedly received a copy of the $3 million agreement from one of Mr. McMahon’s lawyers on June 12, one person familiar with the inquiry said. The nondisclosure agreement provided an upfront payment of $1 million to the former employee, with the remaining $2 million to be doled out over a period of five years, people familiar with the deal said.

A WWE spokesperson said the company is cooperating fully with the board inquiry and that the relationship with the ex-paralegal was consensual. He added that the company takes the allegations seriously and is dealing with them appropriately.

Near the outset of the inquiry, lawyers for the independent directors asked WWE, Mr. McMahon and Mr. Laurinaitis to turn over complaints or allegations about any relationships the executives may have had with company employees, one of the people said.

In recent days, the investigators reportedly learned of the other nondisclosure agreements involving allegations against McMahon and Laurinaitis.

Mr. McMahon and Mr. Laurinaitis did not respond to requests for comment by the Wall Street Journal.

In a letter to The Wall Street Journal, Mr. McMahon’s attorney, Jerry McDevitt, said that the former paralegal hadn’t made any claims of harassment against Mr. McMahon and that “WWE did not pay any monies” to the ex-employee “on her departure.”

The board’s eight independent directors have retained New York-based law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP to conduct the investigation.

Fightful will continue to update fans on the investigation as more is known.

Get exclusive pro wrestling content on Fightful Select, our premium news service! Click here to learn more.