Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman recently sat down with longtime WWE lawyer Jerry McDevitt to discuss WWE's recent CTE courtroom victory on The Wrestling Inc. Daily podcast. Before then, McDevitt told a few stories about Vince McMahon, who he has known for decades. One story involved a personal connection McMahon made with a janitor in the WWE office.
The thing that I remember most about Vince was back in the late '80s, early '90s when the feds were investigating the company and the New York Post was writing a lot of really bad articles about the company that was just full of lies and untruth and things of that nature and portraying the company in just a terrible light. And I was up there on that day," McDevitt explained. "I was still, at that point, getting to know Vince. I didn't know him as well as I do now. So as a lawyer, you're always kind of gauging the people you represent as to whether they're worth the effort it takes to actually do this. And so we had this meeting in his office. It was a horrible day of front page stories in the New York Post that were terrible about the company that he loves so passionately and whatnot.
"So we came out of the office late at night. I was sort of walking ahead of him as I came out the door of his office. I saw Nick the janitor sort of mopping the halls and said hi to him. I was walking ahead and Vince came out and the janitor popped up and said, 'hey Vince, how you doing?' Vince stopped in his tracks and went over and put his arm around Nick and was talking to him asking him how he was doing, how his family was and what not. And I'm watching this whole scene. I'm thinking, it takes a pretty incredible guy to be able to put to the side all his personal issues that came up today with the terrible publicity and all the rest of that.
"To take time to talk to the janitor and ask how he's doing with his family and whatnot. I found out later, Nick, he apparently had some kidney issue. It was almost impossible for him to do his job without a dialysis machine, and McMahon had apparently bought a dialysis machine for him so he could continue his job as a janitor. And I thought that's pretty remarkable that he did that. I just thought at that point, this is a very interesting guy."
McDevitt then told a light-hearted story involving a deposition McMahon was involved in regarding a case brought to him by a lawyer, David Olson, representing Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat. McDevitt explained the situation and talked about how honest McMahon was during the deposition.
"Then one of the funnier stories, I know there's a ton of funny stories with Vince, but one point in time, Jesse Ventura had gotten a rather large verdict, at the time, against the company, I think for a million bucks, back around the same time as the criminal trial was going on back in the early '90s before I was representing them in civil cases," McDevitt said. "And so I'm handling this criminal case, and Jesse gets his million dollar verdict against them with David Olson. And so after the criminal trial is over, Olson thought he was going to turn this into, I guess bringing a lot of these kind of lawsuits and cash in a couple different times. So he brought one on behalf of Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat, and so Olson's now taking depositions to Vince and I'm representing him now.
"And the day before he had taken Linda's deposition to find out what she knew about the case and what not, Olson starts off the deposition with Vince. And when Vince goes into a deposition, it's kind of funny because he doesn't do the normal stuff people do where the lawyers usually put their hand out to shake hands and whatnot, and he's very honest. He's like, 'look, I'm not here to be your friend. You sued me. I'm not going to shake your hand. Why would I shake your hand? You sued me,' which is very honest because why would you? And he's chomping on these tic tacs, at the time, like their nails or whatnot, and so Olson says to him, 'well, Mr. McMahon, are you aware that your wife gave a deposition yesterday?' Vince goes, 'yes,' and he's chomping on these tic tacs.
"And then Olson says, 'and did she talk to you or tell you anything about the deposition?' And Vince goes, 'yes, she did,' and he's chomping on tic tacs. And Olson goes, 'well, what did she tell you?' And Vince says, 'she said you look like a ferret,' and he keeps chomping on these tic tacs. And Olson goes, 'I should have expected something like that from you Mr. McMahon.' And Vince goes, 'hey, listen, you told me I had to tell the truth. I took an oath to tell the truth. You asked me what she said. That's what she said. You look like a ferret,' and I mean he was never the same the rest of the deposition. And we ended up winning the case on summary judgement anyway, but you know, there's a million of those stories I could tell. He's a hoot to work with."
McDevitt's full interview aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it's released Monday - Friday afternoon by clicking here.