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WWE probes $3 million payment from Vince McMahon to female employee, report says

WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon speaks to an audience
WWE Chairman and Chief Executive Vince McMahon speaks to an audience during a fan appreciation event in Hartford, Conn., in 2010.
(Jessica Hill / Associated Press)
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World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.’s board is looking into a secret $3-million payment that Chief Executive Officer Vince McMahon made to a female former employee with whom he allegedly had an affair, according to the Wall Street Journal, which cited people familiar with the board’s action.

McMahon had other nondisclosure agreements regarding alleged misconduct with female employees that the board was investigating, the newspaper reported, citing the people.

The probe, which began in April, also reportedly unearthed similar pacts made with former female workers on behalf of John Laurinaitis, a former wrestler who manages talent relations for WWE. The paper said it couldn’t determine how many such pacts were being reviewed.

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A spokesperson for WWE didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. McMahon and Laurinaitis also could not be reached by Bloomberg News.

The board so far has concluded McMahon paid the settlements with his own money, the newspaper reported, citing one of the people familiar with the situation.

McMahon’s attorney, Jerry McDevitt, told the paper in a letter that the former employee, a paralegal, hadn’t made any claims of harassment against his client. McDevitt wasn’t immediately available to comment.

McMahon, 76, built WWE into a household name, offering professional wrestling matches on TV and in arenas. His daughter, Stephanie, also an executive at the company, took a leave of absence in May.

WWE shares fell about 1.2% in after-hours trading before recovering. They were up about 36% this year through Wednesday’s close.

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