According to WWE, Vince McMahon paid $5 million to Donald Trump’s fund.
Vince McMahon (L) and Donald Trump at the WWE press conference at Austin Strobel International Airport on June 22, 2009 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Mark A. Wallenfang | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images
Former World Wrestling Entertainment head Vince McMahon paid $5 million to the Donald Trump Foundation in 2007 and 2009 out of an estimated $20 million previously unaccounted for. new report from The Wall Street Journal.
The report comes weeks after McMahon stepped down as the company’s CEO amid investigations into silence payments he made in connection with alleged sexual harassment. WWE has since said that its board of directors’ independent investigation into the matter is “virtually complete”.
While most of the $20 million in payouts went to women who accused McMahon and another WWE executive of sexual harassment, another $5 million was used for unrelated purposes, according to a recent securities announcement.
The magazine, citing sources, said the $5 million represented charitable donations to the now-disbanded Donald J. Trump Foundation. Donations were made during the two years that Trump appeared at WWE television events.
WWE did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Trump dissolved the fund as part of a settlement with the New York State Attorney General’s Office in 2018, when the lawsuit alleged that Trump abused charity funds for his 2016 presidential campaign to pay legal fees and promote his business.
The news comes less than a month after the Securities and Exchange Commission and federal prosecutors launched an investigation into McMahon’s $14.6 million payments to settle sexual harassment allegations.
The $5 million in fees had to be listed as a business expense because McMahon was a major shareholder and the payments benefited the company, a WWE lawyer told the WSJ.
For the first of the two appearances, Trump received a $1 million honorarium and the McMahons’ personal contribution of $4 million to his foundation. For his second appearance, Trump was paid $100,000, while McMahon and his wife Linda donated $1 million to the foundation.
While $5 million was listed on the foundation’s tax returns as coming directly from WWE, the company said in its security filings this month that the payments came directly from McMahon personally.
Vince McMahon is still the main shareholder of WWE despite leaving the company. He bought the company from his father about 40 years ago and turned it into a global powerhouse. His daughter Stephanie McMahon now serves as co-CEO alongside CEO Nick Hahn.
Linda McMahon served as chief of staff for small businesses in the Trump cabinet. Trump, who hosted two Wrestlemania events in Atlantic City in the 1980s, is inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.