Even after Vince McMahon, the former WWE executive, retired during an investigation into his hush money payments to women, news of extra payments continues to surface. The latest revelation concerns former President Donald Trump.
The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that $5 million of McMahon’s $19.6 million in unrecorded corporate spending in 2007 and 2009 went to Trump’s charitable foundation, the Donald J. Trump Foundation.
The payments were made during the years when Trump — who at the time was a reality TV star on NBC’s “The Apprentice” — appeared at WWE events, including WrestleMania 23 in 2007 and WWE’s Monday night show “Raw,” in 2009.
The WWE stated in a filing earlier this month that the company had discovered nearly $20 million in McMahon’s personal expenses directly related to the wrestling company’s operations and should have been disclosed to investors. That amount included $5 million that had nothing to do with the company’s investigation into his alleged misconduct, WWE said.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the $5 million went to Trump’s charity. One person reviewing Trump’s 2007 WrestleMania contract told the Journal that “Mr. Trump instructed Mr. McMahon to send a $4 million appearance fee to Mr. Trump’s charity.”
Trump’s appearance at WrestleMania in 2007 took place during a “Battle of the Billionaires” match in which Trump and McMahon used wrestlers as stand-ins to battle it out in the ring. The winner of the match got to shave the head of the loser. Trump’s wrestler won, which led to him shaving McMahon’s head.
The WWE had no comment on the payments to Trump.
McMahon found himself in the midst of a business storm in June when the Wall Street Journal reported that the company’s board was investigating him for agreeing to pay a secret $3 million settlement to a former employee he met. allegedly had an affair.
The Journal then reported in July that McMahon paid tens of millions of dollars to four women, including those in the earlier report, to cover up “accusations of sexual misconduct and infidelity.”
This led to McMahon stepping down as CEO last month and eventually retiring.
“Now that I am 77 years old, I feel it is time to retire as WWE chairman and CEO,” McMahon said in a statement.