Vince McMahon Planning A WWE Comeback – Former WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon is reportedly facing new legal demands from two women who allege that he sexually assaulted them, while also planning a comeback to the company he turned into a global sports entertainment juggernaut.
A new report from Joe Palazzolo and Ted Mann of The Wall Street Journal notes that McMahon’s lawyer, longtime representative Jerry McDevitt, received a demand letter on November 3, from a lawyer for former WWE referee Rita Chatterton, asking for $11.75 in damages. This comes after Chatterton publicly accused McMahon three decades ago of raping her in a limousine. McMahon has long denied the allegations.
McMahon’s lawyer also received a separate email in November, from a lawyer for a former spa manager in California. The former spa manager alleges that McMahon assaulted her in 2011 at a California resort, an incident previously unreported in the media.
It was noted that these private communications between lawyers for the women and McMahon come as WWE tries to move past McMahon’s 40 year tenure s the company’s leader, and move into a new era.
McMahon retired in late July amid a WWE Board of Directors investigation of sexual misconduct claims against he and former Talent Relations Head John Laurinaitis, who was let go from the company. It was revealed then how McMahon agreed to pay more than $12 million in secret settlements since 2006 to keep the allegations quiet. The investigation found that the payments to the women, while made by McMahon personally, should have been booked as WWE expenses because they benefited the company.
A related Board probe seeks to assess damage caused by McMahon’s hush money pacts, and to determine whether legal action against McMahon by the WWE Board is warranted, according to people familiar with the matter.
Vince McMahon Planning A WWE Comeback
McMahon has reportedly told people he plans to make a comeback at WWE, according to sources close to the situation. He has said that he received bad advice from people close to him to step down, and that he now believes the allegations and investigations would have blown over had he stayed, according to these people.
The former spa manager alleges she was assaulted by McMahon in 2011 at a five-star resort in Southern California while he was in town for a WWE event. The women reported the alleged assault at the time to the resort, according to people close to the matter. The spa manager also told her husband about the incident, some of these people said. He drove to the WWE event with a baseball bat and tried to confront McMahon, but was reportedly turned away.
The woman’s lawyer, Michael Bressler, has been in touch with McMahon’s attorney since at least July, according to people familiar with the discussions.
McMahon has also told people he refuses to pay settlements to Chatterton, and the former spa manager. WWE’s auditor, Deloitte & Touche LLP, has advised the company that resolutions of the claims, even if confidential, would possibly have to be disclosed by WWE publicly.
Chatterton’s lawyer, John Clune, wrote in the November 3 legal demand letter that the damages to Chatterton from the alleged assault were “hard to overstate.” The letter said she “has suffered years of ongoing depression, substance abuse, disordered eating, lost income, and overall a decreased quality of life.” Chatterton referred The Wall Street Journal to Clune, who declined to comment.
Chatterton’s current lawyer said in the demand letter that Chatterton had passed a polygraph and that multiple sources corroborated her account, two of whom confirmed to The Wall Street Journal that Chatterton contemporaneously told them about the alleged rape.
WWE Hall of Famer Greg “The Hammer” Valentine told The Wall Street Journal that Chatterton disclosed the allegations to him while the two were sharing a marijuana joint in a Marriott hotel parking lot in Albany, NY, in the 1980s. Valentine said he didn’t believe Chatterton then or now, because he didn’t think she was attractive enough for McMahon.
Leonard Inzitari, who went to wrestling school with Chatterton, said in a magazine interview published earlier this year that Chatterton was shaking and crying as she recounted the alleged rape while the two of them stood outside the ring before a 1986 WWE event. Inzitari told The Wall Street Journal that he stands by his comments and believes Chatterton’s allegations.
McMahon alleged in a 1993 lawsuit that Chatterton was induced to make a false rape charge against him by a former wrestler with an ax to grind. The lawsuit said her attorney at the time demanded $5 million from McMahon to keep the allegations off the air. WWE dismissed her because she was a danger to herself and others in the ring, according to the lawsuit, which McMahon withdrew in 1994.
Spokesmen for WWE and the independent Board members declined to comment to The Wall Street Journal, as did McMahon. McDevitt did not respond to requests for comment. WWE has declined to discuss the allegations against McMahon, but they previously stated that they were cooperating with the Board inquiry and taking the claims seriously.
McMahon remains WWE’s largest shareholder.
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Vince McMahon Planning A WWE Comeback