Archive for September 2nd, 2010

Linda McMahon’s Senate Bid ‘Ultimate Steroid Test for Society’

An excellent one by Gwen Knapp, sports columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, who moonlights for

“For society, McMahon’s Senate bid the ultimate steroid test”

Wow, That Lloyd Grove of The Daily Beast Sure Types Fast!

“The Wrestler Could Win” is the headline on Lloyd Grove’s piece about Linda McMahon at The Daily Beast,

Yes, sir. And The Daily Beast could use a bullshit detector.

As a public service, your humble blogger is providing McMahon’s story about her bankruptcy – with more holes than John Lennon’s Blackburn, Lancashire – as transcribed  by stenographer Grove (TDB), followed by an English translation (ET).

TDB: “She was married at 17 and soon pregnant.”

ET: Linda married Vince McMahon in 1966. Their first child, son Shane, was born on January 15, 1970. In fairness, I don’t know if Linda was pregnant at any other time in the intervening three-plus years.

TDB: “She was a stay-at-home mom with two little kids and Vince was working for his father, a small-time wrestling promoter, and having a hard time making a living.”

ET: As noted, Shane was born in 1970. Daughter Stephanie was born in 1976. By today’s standards, Vincent J. McMahon might be casually called a small-time promoter – but, come on, Vince Senior in the 1970s was doing big business throughout the Northeast, including in the population centers of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington, and Baltimore. Why Vince Junior would be “having a hard time making a living” through that period is not at all clear. In 1971 young Vince replaced Ray Morgan as the host of the syndicated television programs of the World Wide Wrestling Federation, as it was then known; he became a full-time employee of his father’s company no later than 1972. In 1974, when Linda was still a stay-at-home mom with just one little kid, Vince started promoting coast-to-coast closed-circuit shows like Evel Knievel and Ali-Inoki.

TDB: “At one point, when they were living in Gaithersburg, Maryland, in the 1970s, they went bankrupt and briefly depended on food stamps.”

ET: The McMahons’ heretofore known bankruptcy filing was in Connecticut in 1976. If there was an additional earlier bankruptcy, that is huge news – as is the undocumented assertion that they were on government assistance. But you never know with TDB, which may be conflating “food stamps” with “S&H Green Stamps,” a staple of middle-class homes of that period, for which there was no social stigma whatsoever. “After our son Shane was born,” Linda tells stenographer Grove, “we saved S&H Green Stamps and actually bought a high chair and Shane’s formula with them.” Well, give that resourceful homemaker a prize!


Eight hours ago stenographer Grove suggested on Twitter that he would have more to say “As soon as I recover my equilibrium from that chair you hit me in the head with.” He seems still not to have recuperated from my devastating attack of electrons via the ether. Grove makes the exercise of fact-checking a piece of journalism sound more painful than the real steel chair shots to the head that have been administered to the late Shane Cade and the late Chris Kanyon, among many others of Linda McMahon’s wrestlers, both dead and not yet dead.

Irv Muchnick

Still More Grist for the Linda McMahon Bankruptcy Mill

Once upon a time Linda McMahon and her husband went bankrupt.

Just once, I think. In 1976 in Connecticut, I think.

Though Linda in her Daily Beast interview would have you running the thread all the way back to North Carolina in the mid-1960s or Maryland in 1970.

It’s a central, crucial bullet point of her Senate campaign biography — yet she can’t give a straight answer about it. And the reporters covering the campaign are too busy polishing their film school applications by writing essays on the symbolism of her TV commercials and glossy mailers.

But let me help out my friends in the Nutmeg State with a little more actual information.

* In Greenwich in 1984, two separate federal tax liens covering six tax years were filed against Vince and Linda McMahon. One lien referred to unpaid assessments in payroll taxes from 1973 through 1977. (Vince McMahon has commented that a botched attempt to exploit tax shelters had precipitated the 1976 bankruptcy filing.) The liens totaled more than $142,000. Later in 1984 releases were filed, indicating that the liens were paid or settled.

* Also in the 1975-76 period, six property foreclosure lawsuits were filed against the McMahons in Connecticut state courts. The records themselves no longer appear to be available, only the docket information that they were filed by the following entities: Hartford National Bank & Trust, Bristol Construction, CBT [?], and Society for Savings.

* What the hell does this have to do with Vince working in a quarry or Linda using S&H stamps (which, by the way, is not the same as government food  stamps) to buy baby paraphernalia for their son Shane? Also: She was married at 17 and “soon” pregnant. Is four years later “soon”? And finally: Was this all during the period when she was attending East Carolina University and acquiring the non-existent education degree that she falsely added to her resume at the time of her 2009 nomination to the Connecticut State Board of Education? You tell me.

Irv Muchnick

More on Linda McMahon and the ‘1970s’ Bankruptcy (Bankruptcies?)

With admirable wit and grace, Lloyd Grove of The Daily Beast now tweets that he will respond to my critique of his unfiltered fumble of Linda McMahon’s bankruptcy story “as soon as I recover my equilibrium from that chair you hit me on the head with.”

Meanwhile, here are some of the spaces in the bankruptcy timeline. (Thanks to David Bixenspan, the wrestling fan who also coordinates and writes for a blog called Cageside  Seats.)

One day in the early 1970s, Linda McMahon’s father-in-law, Vincent J. McMahon, “got a call from a private investigator, looking for the Vince McMahon who’d run up a trail of bad debts,” according to a book about wrestling by writer Shaun Assael.

“As the story goes,” the Assael account continues, “Vincent listened carefully, then realized the investigator was talking about his son. That was when he decided it was better to keep the kid close rather than let him run down the family’s name.”

Bixenspan adds: “Vince started working for his father as a ring announcer in ’69 and advanced to host/play by play announcer as well as promoting a town in Maine in ’71.  Shane was born on January 15, 1970 in Gaithersburg, MD so that much is true.  Vince’s bio on the WWE corporate site says he
started working for his dad ‘full time’ in ’72.”

Again, the Evel Knievel Snake River Canyon Jump was in 1974. The Muhammad Ali fight with Antonio Inoki in Japan was in 1976.

I hold no brief for Richard Blumenthal. But if it’s such a big deal that on several occasions he might have tried to trick audiences into thinking he’d served “in” the Vietnam War rather than in the Marine Reserves “during” the Vietnam War, maybe it behooves us to nail down the celebrated and glorious story of Linda McMahon’s bankruptcy.

Irv Muchnick

My Exchange About Linda McMahon on Twitter With Lloyd Grove of The Daily Beast


Was Linda McMahon bankrupt TWICE? Or is she lying about the circumstances? — [wrestlingbabylon _ wordpress _ com]



Yo, @llbengr (Lloyd Grove of The Daily Beast) — congratulations on being worked by Linda McMahon, Über Carny —



@irvmuch I know you would like me to grill her on the wrestling biz but this was an interview about a Senate race. But thanks for reading!



No, @llbengr — I’m not busting your chops over wrestling. I’m asking you to hold Linda to one straight story about her “1970s” bankruptcy.



Since I read your piece, @llbengr, how about responding to what I really said in mine:


Has Linda McMahon Been Bankrupt TWICE? Or Is She Lying About the Circumstances?

All right, so The Daily Beast becomes the latest mainstream publication to be snookered  by the McMahon family. Don’t look here for another rant about that.

I do, however, want to point out – since I don’t believe anyone else yet has – that in this interview Linda McMahon seems to fuse two different pieces of her personal narrative, in a way that calls into question both pieces. Heretofore, that narrative had involved her rather strange bragging about the fact that she and her husband Vince went bankrupt in the 1970s.

To be clear, which is not something politicians are good at, that appears to have been during the period when Vince got overextended after going all-in on promoting the 1974 Evel Knievel Snake River Canyon Jump as a national closed-circuit event in movie theaters. (Or perhaps that event plus the equally disastrous mixed fight in 1976 between boxing champion Muhammad Ali and Japanese pro wrestler Antonio Inoki.)

Whether or not I have that detail right, it certainly was during the time when the McMahons lived in New Britain, Connecticut. In response to a recent newspaper report attempting to dig up the bankruptcy filing, the McMahon campaign acknowledged that Linda and Vince defaulted at the time on debts of around a million dollars.

But the Daily Beast account tells a different narrative: that of a welfare mom.

She was married at 17 and soon pregnant, and the young family struggled financially. She was a stay-at-home mom with two little kids and Vince was working for his father, a small-time wrestling promoter, and having a hard time making a living. At one point, when they were living in Gaithersburg, Maryland, in the 1970s, they went bankrupt and briefly depended on food stamps.

“I think it was one or two weeks when we were on food stamps, when Vince was working at a rock quarry, making little ones out of big ones, working about 90 hours a week,” McMahon tells me. “I’d get up early in the morning and pack an almost hockey bag-sized athletic bag for sandwiches, a couple of thermoses and hot meals.”

Being down and out and needing government assistance was “not fun,” she says. “I didn’t like it at all, and I just said, ‘You know, I can’t do that,’ ” she recalls. “I’d rather find another job and supplement our income. That’s actually when Vince took on more hours at the rock quarry…After our son Shane was born we saved S&H Green Stamps, and actually bought a high chair and Shane’s formula with them.”

Linda, who is 61 years old, would have been 17 in 1966. That is not in the 1970s, when according to this account “they were living in Gaithersburg, Maryland [and] went bankrupt and briefly depended on food stamps.”

“Bankrupt” here seems to be a generic term rather than a business-law definition of their condition. Welfare moms don’t often say they are bankrupt; they say they are in serious poverty and can’t feed their children.

Further, the more familiar McMahon bankruptcy narrative has her not with one young son, but with that son, plus pregnant with her daughter, in Connecticut.

Which is it? Or is it both? Was Linda McMahon bankrupt once or bankrupt twice? Or is she now trying to add “welfare mom” to her resume to make herself seem more likeable than in the original tale of being a million-dollar deadbeat?

Irv Muchnick

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September 2010