Former WWE CEO Vince McMahon made $5 million in previously undisclosed payments to Donald Trump’s charity that occurred in the same years the future president appeared at televised events for their infamous wrestling “feud,” according to a report.

WWE contributed $4 million to the now-defunct Trump Foundation in 2007, the year that Trump shaved McMahon’s head in the middle of the ring at the WrestleMania 23 pay-per-view event, a report said Thursday.

The WrestleMania 23 stunt was the culmination of the WWE’s highly publicized “Battle of the Billionaires” feud, in which McMahon and Trump each backed a wrestler and agreed to a bet in which the winner would shave the loser bald if their chosen contender lost.

Donald Trump and Vince McMahon
Vince McMahon retired in July following allegations of misconduct.
Donald Trump and Vince McMahon
The WWE has uncovered nearly $20 million in undisclosed payments.

Trump’s deal with the WWE called for McMahon to deliver his $4 million appearance fee to charity in exchange for his participation, a person familiar with the contract told the Wall Street Journal.

Trump purportedly took steps to protect his distinctive hair, directing his subordinates to craft the deal so that “under no circumstances would Mr. McMahon be allowed to shave his head, even if Mr. Trump’s wrestler dropped dead in the ring,” according to the Journal.

Trump later bragged that the head-shaving storyline was so popular that he received an additional $1 million in compensation, the report added.

“Mr. Trump and WWE entered into a contract whereby WWE agreed to and did pay him personally an appearance fee of $1 million,” WWE attorney Jerry McDevitt told the outlet. “At the same time, the McMahons made a personal contribution to the Trump Foundation of $4 million. There was no additional fee paid to Mr. Trump, or any additional contribution to the Trump Foundation, due to the success of the event.”

An additional $1 million was paid to Trump’s charity in 2009. That year, Trump appeared on the flagship show “WWE Raw” as part of a storyline that he was planning to seize control of the company — but eventually “sold it back” to McMahon.

Trump also received a $100,000 appearance fee.

Donald Trump and Vince McMahon
Donald Trump appeared at WrestleMania 23 in 2007.
Getty Images

WWE officials uncovered the payments, which were not previously known, as part as an ongoing investigation into McMahon’s dealings at the company. McMahon retired as CEO and chairman in July following allegations of sexual misconduct toward multiple women who purportedly received “hush money” payments in exchange for their silence.

The payments date back 16 years and included a $7.5 million payment to a former WWE wrestler who alleged that McMahon coerced her into oral sex. Another ex-WWE contractor accused McMahon of sexual harassment in the workplace and of sending her unsolicited nude photos.

In total, WWE said it has found $19.6 million in payments made by McMahon, using his own money, that should have been disclosed because they were related to company business. McMahon is said to have paid $14.6 million in settlements to women who accused him of sexual misconduct.

Donald Trump and Vince McMahon
Donald Trump’s charity purportedly received a total of $5 million.

In an SEC filing this week, the WWE said the investigation conducted by a special committee tabbed by its board of directors was “substantially complete.” The company noted that McMahon has retired but remains a shareholder with controlling interest.

The Post has reached out to the WWE and Trump’s office for further comment.

Source link


Comments are closed.