The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that $5 million of McMahon’s $19.6 million in unrecorded corporate expenses in 2007 and 2009 went to Trump’s charity, the Donald J. Trump Foundation.
The payments were made in years as Trump – who at the time was a reality TV star on NBC’s The Apprentice – appeared in WWE events, including WrestleMania 23 in 2007 and WWE’s Monday night show Raw in 2009 .
WWE said in a regulatory filing earlier this month that the company had uncovered nearly $20 million of McMahon’s personal expenses directly related to the wrestling company’s business that should have been disclosed to investors. Included in that total was $5 million unrelated to the company’s investigation into his alleged wrongdoing, WWE said. The Wall Street Journal reported that the $5 million went to Trump’s charity. A person reviewing Trump’s 2007 WrestleMania contract told the Journal that “Mr. Trump instructed Mr. McMahon to send a $4 million performance fee to Mr. Trump’s charity.”
Trump’s appearance at WrestleMania in 2007 was during a “Battle of the Billionaires” match in which Trump and McMahon used wrestlers as alternates to compete in the ring. The winner of the game has to shave the loser’s head. Trump’s wrestler won, resulting in him shaving McMahon’s head.
WWE did not comment on the payments to Trump.
McMahon found himself in the midst of a company firestorm in June when The Wall Street Journal reported that the company’s board of directors was investigating him for agreeing to a secret $3 million settlement to a former employee he allegedly worked with had an affair. The Journal then reported in July that McMahon paid tens of millions of dollars to four women, including those in the previous report, to cover up “allegations of sexual misconduct and infidelity.” This led to McMahon stepping down as CEO and ultimately retiring from the company last month.
“As I approach 77 years of age, I feel it is time to retire as Chairman and CEO of WWE,” McMahon said in a statement.