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WWE boss Vince McMahon reportedly paid $3 million in hush money to cover up affair

<i>Ethan Miller/Getty Images</i><br/>WWE boss Vince McMahon reportedly paid $3 million in hush money to cover up an affair.
Getty Images
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
WWE boss Vince McMahon reportedly paid $3 million in hush money to cover up an affair.

By Frank Pallotta, CNN Business

Vince McMahon, the CEO of WWE, is being investigated by the company’s board for agreeing to pay a secret $3 million settlement to a former employee he allegedly had an affair with, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The separation agreement, which was reportedly made in January, prevents the former, unnamed employee “from discussing her relationship with Mr. McMahon or disparaging him,” according to the Journal.

The investigation began in April and has “unearthed other, older nondisclosure agreements involving claims by former female WWE employees of misconduct by Mr. McMahon,” the Journal said. Other misconduct claims were reportedly found against John Laurinaitis, the company’s head of talent relations.

The WWE board was sent an email on March 30 that alleged McMahon, who is 76, hired the employee “at a salary of $100,000 but increased it to $200,000 after beginning a sexual relationship with her.” The email also alleges that McMahon gave the former employee, who is 41 and was hired as a paralegal, like “a toy” to Mr. Laurinaitis.

The WWE did not immediately return CNN’s request for comment on this story.

However, in a statement to the Journal, a company spokesperson said the WWE is cooperating with the investigation and that McMahon’s relationship to the former employee was consensual.

The Journal notes that WWE’s board is made of up WWE executives and even members of McMahon’s own family. That includes his daughter Stephanie McMahon as well as Paul Levesque, her husband and former wrestler who goes by the stage name, Triple H. McMahon has the majority of the shareholders’ voting power.

McMahon has been an integral part of the WWE for decades, both behind the scenes and in the ring.

The CEO has helped turn the company into a media powerhouse, which currently has deals with Fox and NBCUniversal. McMahon has also helped to create many famous wrestlers, like The Rock, John Cena and Stone Cold Steve Austin, who have become bigger than the WWE itself.

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