WWE applies to Malloy administration for “Next Five” assistance

World Wrestling Entertainment has applied to the administration of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy for economic assistance in its “Next Five” program for major employers who promise to create at least 200 new jobs.

George Barrios, the chief financial officer of WWE, mentioned the application on a conference call with reporters to talk about its $4.4 million settlement with the state over a disputed tax bill earlier this year.

WWE, which is based in Stamford, is seeking assistance as it invests in the establishment of a new television network for WWE programming. Barrios said WWE has not sought a specific dollar amount.

The company’s tax settlement became news this week in the U.S. Senate campaign of its co-founder, Linda McMahon. Barrios said the company was responding to a characterization of the WWE as a tax cheater, not to protect McMahon’s candidacy.

“If someone is going to put something in the public domain besmirching us as a company, that’s going to get our interest,” he said.

Barrios said the company and the state disagreed over how WWE’s tax liability was calculated. There was no allegation of wrongdoing, he said.