Vince McMahon (L) and Donald Trump attend a WWE press conference at Austin Straubel International Airport on June 22, 2009 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Mark A. Wallenfang | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images
Former World Wrestling Entertainment boss Vince McMahon paid $5 million of about $20 million unaccounted expenses to Donald Trump’s foundation in 2007 and 2009, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal.
The report comes weeks after McMahon retired as CEO of the company amid silence investigations he made in connection with alleged sexual misconduct. WWE has since said the board’s independent investigation into the matter is “substantially complete.”
While the bulk of the $20 million in payments went to women who accused McMahon and another WWE executive of sexual misconduct, another $5 million was used for unrelated purposes, according to a recent securities filing.
The $5 million represented charitable donations to the now-disbanded Donald J. Trump Foundation, the Journal reported, citing sources. The donations were given over two years that Trump has appeared at televised WWE events.
The WWE did not immediately return a request for comment.
Trump dissolved this foundation as part of a 2018 settlement with the New York State Attorney General’s Office, when a lawsuit alleging that Trump misused the charity’s funds for his 2016 presidential campaign to seek legal settlements. pay and promote his business.
This news comes less than a month after the Securities and Exchange Commission and federal prosecutors launched an investigation into the $14.6 million in payments McMahon made to settle sexual misconduct allegations.
The $5 million in membership fees should have been cataloged as a business expense because McMahon was a majority shareholder and the payments benefited the company, a WWE attorney told WSJ.
The first of the two appearances resulted in a $1 million fee to Trump and a $4 million personal contribution from the McMahons to his foundation. For his second appearance, Trump received $100,000 and McMahon and his wife, Linda, donated $1 million to the foundation.
Although the $5 million on the foundation’s tax return was listed as coming directly from WWE, the company said in its security filings this month that the payments came directly from McMahon in person.
Vince McMahon is still WWE’s largest shareholder, despite leaving the company. He bought the company from his father some 40 years ago and turned it into a global powerhouse. His daughter, Stephanie McMahon, now works as co-CEO along with executive Nick Khan.
Linda McMahon was head of the Small Business Administration in Trump’s cabinet. Trump, who hosted two Wrestlemania events in Atlantic City in the 1980s, has been inducted into the WWE’s Hall of Fame.
Read the full report from The Wall Street Journal.