Archive for November 22nd, 2010

Report: Ex-Wrestler Dean Malenko Recently Had Heart Attack

I have been told by a reliable source that in recent months ex-pro wrestler Dean Malenko, who now works for the World Wrestling Entertainment front office, suffered a heart attack.

Malenko (real name Dean Simon, age 50) was a very close friend of the two WWE wrestlers whose deaths most galvanized attention to the company’s occupational health and safety standards: Eddie Guerrero (who died of a heart attack in 2005 at age 38) and Chris Benoit (who committed double murder/suicide in 2007 at age 40).

Malenko was backstage at last night’s WWE Survivor Series pay-per-view in Miami. (He lives in Florida.) No mention was made to anyone of recent health problems.

WWE spokesman Robert Zimmerman has not responded as yet to my request for comment on this report.

 

Irv Muchnick

Connecticut Investigation of WWE Involves Unemployment Insurance Taxes

Connecticut Department of Labor spokesman Paul Oates told me today that any audit of World Wrestling Entertainment would be coming out of the department’s Unemployment Insurance Division, not its Wage and Workplace Standards Division.

Oates emailed:

“[A]t this time, I am unable to confirm or deny that there is or was a WWE audit undertaken by the UI Tax Division within this Agency. Section 31-254 of the Connecticut General Statute provides the following: ‘The administrator may require from any employer, whether or not otherwise subject to this chapter, any sworn or unsworn reports with respect to persons employed by him which are necessary for the effective administration of this chapter. Information thus obtained shall not be published or be open to public inspection, other than to public employees in the performance of their public duties, in any manner revealing the employee’s or the employer’s identity…. [Emphasis added]'”

There are two dimensions of independent contractor misclassification. One is  the way it can deprive governments of tax revenues. The other is the way it can deprive workers of benefits. My interpretation of the statement issued by the Department of Labor is that its investigation of WWE originated, or is now oriented, on the tax payment issue.

 

Irv Muchnick


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