A new report says Vince McMahon paid $5 million in unrecorded company expenses to former president Donald Trump’s charity.
The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that among the $19.6 million in unrecorded company expenses were two donations to Trump’s now-defunct Donald J. Trump Foundation in 2007 and 2009 that totaled to $5 million. McMahon resigned from WWE in July following the revelation of the unrecorded company expenses, along with allegations of sexual misconduct.
The report says an attorney for WWE told the Wall Street Journal that the payments to Trump should have been booked as business expenses, as McMahon was a principal shareholder and the payments benefited the company. WWE attorney Jerry McDevitt didn’t dispute the report regarding the contributions but denied Trump’s claim that an additional $1 million was a bonus for the success of WrestleMania 23.
“Mr. Trump and WWE entered into a contract whereby WWE agreed to and did pay him personally an appearance fee of $1 million,” McDevitt told the Wall Street Journal. “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.”
In 2007, Trump played part in a storyline where he feuded with Vince McMahon, leading to a hair vs. hair match at WrestleMania 23, with Umaga (McMahon) and Bobby Lashley (Trump) representing the two men. Lashley won the match, and McMahon's hair was shaved off as a result. Trump appeared on WWE television again in 2009 in a quickly dropped storyline that involved Trump purchasing Raw from McMahon, then selling it back to him for "double the price".
The McMahon family has had ties to Trump during and after his presidency, with Linda McMahon previously serving as the administrator of the Small Business Administration from 2017 to 2019. She is now the chairwoman of a pro-Trump Super PAC, America First Action.
WWE in their securities filing Monday said that their internal investigation into McMahon's payments were "substantially complete".