Vince McMahon Payments Possibly Linked To President Trump?

Vince McMahon Payments Possibly Linked To President Trump?

As noted earlier this week, a new WWE SEC filing revealed that the company found an additional $5 million in unrecorded company expenses related to two payments made by former WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon in 2007 and 2009. It was believed that the payments had to do with McMahon’s alleged payouts to women for non-disclosure agreements, but a new report from Wrestlenomics notes that the $5 million may be related to President Donald Trump, a Celebrity WWE Hall of Famer who has a history with McMahon and his family.

According to IRS filings, WWE spent a total of exactly $5 million in contributions to The Donald J. Trump Foundation in the same two years, 2007 and 2009. The records indicate the contributions came from WWE, and the WWE HQ address was used, with no specific person named, and years-old comments from WWE’s media relations people attributed the donations to Vince and wife Linda McMahon personally.

WWE was the biggest contributor to The Trump Foundation in 2007 and 2009, giving the organization $4 million and $1 million in those years, respectively, and in round numbers, which adds up to match the $5 million mentioned in the new WWE SEC filing. These were the same years Trump made rare appearance on WWE TV. Trump and McMahon supported opposing Superstars, current WWE United States Champion Bobby Lashley and the late Umaga, at WrestleMania 23 in 2007, in what was billed as “The Battle of The Billionaires,” and in 2009 Trump “bought” WWE RAW and “sold” it soon after in another storyline.

Despite the IRS filings listing WWE as the contributors to The Trump Foundation in those years, a WWE spokesperson in October 2012 said the money came directly from Vince, as opposed to the company, or both Vince and Linda. The WWE comment was made weeks before the election in which Linda was running for United States Senate for the second time.

Later in 2016, a WWE spokesperson denied The Trump Foundation contributions served as Trump’s appearance fees and that “WWE paid Donald Trump appearance fees separately.” However, this time WWE said both McMahons personally made the contributions to the Foundation.

“Vince and Linda McMahon made personal donations to Donald Trump’s foundation,” the spokesperson told The Huffington Post at the time.

WWE gave a comment consistent with that in 2017 after WWE Chief Operating Officer Donna Goldsmith theorized the donations were in exchange for Trump’s appearances.

This would not be the first time Trump did something like that as he accepted donations to The Trump Foundation in exchange for other work he did in entertainment, including from NBCUniversal and Comedy Central.

“My guess is that [the contributions to the Trump Foundation] did come directly from Vince,” Goldsmith told Forbes in 2017. “It was probably a payment for the [2007] ‘Hair Versus Hair’ match.”

Trump’s appearances at and leading up to WWE’s biggest pay-per-view event of the year in 2007 possibly being related to a $4 million contribution, and his 2009 appearances on RAW possibly being connected to a lesser $1 million contribution, could reflect the difference in the agreed-upon value of those two sets of appearances.

As for the possible motivation of compensating Trump through his Foundation for performing on WWE TV, doing so may have allowed Trump to avoid paying taxes, a common move and something he’s made an effort to do in other cases. Furthermore, claiming a large charitable donation to The Trump Foundation might have eased the McMahons’ personal tax burden in those years.

Wrestlenomics asked a WWE spokesperson just this week if the similarities in the payment amounts and years are an unrelated coincidence, but they have not responded as of today.

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