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Why Did a Bunch of Detroit Cops and Firefighters Sue Vince McMahon?

Last Updated: July 1, 2023
The Police and Fire Retirement System of the City of Detroit filed a class action lawsuit against Vince McMahon seeking to block his return to WWE. Let’s explain why

WWE Executive Chairman Vince McMahon is under fire yet again. This time, it’s from a group of equity stakeholders that nobody would’ve ever expected: The Detroit police and fire pension board.

McMahon, who retired in 2022 following an investigation into alleged sexual misconduct involving four female employees, returned to WWE earlier this month to, among other things, help to negotiate a new and mega-lucrative media rights deal — and perhaps something much bigger. Soon after, daughter and Chairwoman/co-CEO Stephanie McMahon resigned from the company entirely. To cap things off before the dust even had a chance to settle, Vince was/is reportedly interested in selling WWE and taking the company private, with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign Public Investment Fund rumored to be among the interested bidders.

Perhaps most uncanny news surrounding McMahon in the past month, however? Police officers and firemen in Detroit, Michigan suing him via class action, as first reported by Sportico.

So, what in the world do these two opposing parties have to do with one another?

Well, as noted by Detroit Fox TV affiliate WJBK, the pension board for city police officers and firefighters invested $100,000 from its fund into the WWE, making it one of many shareholders in the company. Like so many others, board members are upset about McMahon’s surprise return as Executive Chairman after previously stepping aside and retiring over a hush money scandal regarding multiple alleged extramarital affairs.

“What I want Vince McMahon to do is for Vince McMahon to leave the company,” Councilman Coleman Young said via WJBK. A member of Detroit’s Police and Fire Retirement System board, Young said that investing retirement fund money into the WWE is “absolutely” a good decision as it’s an impressive company, but quite simply, “I think the problem is the behavior of Vince McMahon.”

In the class action suit, Detroit’s pension board contends that McMahon — WWE’s majority shareholder for decades — left the company in July of last year after he allegedly paid $12 million in secret settlements to accusers dating back to 2006, and that he used his controlling shareholder interest to fire board members and change bylaws to regain control of the company.

“I personally think that any time you hear the words sexual assault and rape, you need to stop what you’re doing and disassociate yourself from that person in your company,” Young said, additionally expressing concern over loose talk about a possible WWE sale to the Saudi Public Investment Fund or even an unforeseeable but nonetheless rumored merger attempt by wrestling rival AEW. (For the record, Vince McMahon is facing no criminal charge of sexual assault and there is no evidence that such a related criminal investigation is ongoing.)

In any event, we’ve gone from “You’re fired!” to “I’m sued!”

Where to next?

Expect more news to trickle in as this pro wrestling saga rolls on into 2023.

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About The Author
Anthony Puccio
Anthony Puccio
Anthony Puccio is a former Staff Writer at Boardroom. Puccio has 10 years of experience in journalism and content creation, previously working for SB Nation, The Associated Press, New York Daily News, SNY, and Front Office Sports. In 2016, he received New York University's CCTOP scholarship and earned a bachelor's degree in Communications from St. John's University. He can be spotted a mile away thanks to his plaid suits and thick New York accent. Don't believe us? Check his Twitter @APooch.