Perhaps one of the most popular home renovation shows on HGTV is Fixer Upper, which stars Chip Gaines and his wife, Joanna. The show has been a fixture on the network and seems to be a fan favorite. However, it would seem that not everyone is a major fan, as a new lawsuit has been filed by two partners from the Magnolia Realty against their former partner, Chip Gaines.
According to a report from the Dallas News, a lawsuit was filed on April 27 against the reality TV star alleging that he defrauded his partners when he withheld details as he paid each of them $2,500 to buy them out days before HGTV made the announcement that they were renewing the Fixer Upper show. The two men, attorneys in Waco, John L. Lewis and Richard L. Clark, are each seeking damages in the amount of more than $1 million.
In their lawsuit, John Lewis and Richard Clark, explain that at the time that they sold their two-thirds share in Magnolia Realty, if they had known about its future prospects, as well as the ongoing negotiations with the network for a potential TV series, they would not have sold their shares in the company to Chip Gaines for just $5000 combined. The two men feel that Gaines knew at the time that he purchased their shares of the company from them that HGTV was interested in going forward with a series, Fixer Upper, and he withheld that information.
The complaint alleges that there is no doubt to these men that Chip Gaines has, “profited from his silence and subsequent acquisition of all membership interests in Magnolia Realty.” Founded in 2007, the Magnolia Realty had just one employee in early 2013, now the company has 93 employees, as well as multiple offices in cities beyond Waco, such as Dallas, Austin and Houston.
Chip Gaines was not the only one named in the lawsuit. The suit is also naming Scripps Network, the parent company of HGTV, High Noon Productions, the Fixer Upper production company, and Magnolia Realty as defendants. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of John Lewis and Richard Clark by Waco attorney David Tekell.
Gaines own attorney, Jordan Mayfield, has already made it clear that there are no merits to the claims. He feels confident that the claims against his client will be found meritless, while also saying he finds it disappointing to see people attempting to take advantage of the success and hard work that Joanna and Chip Gains have achieved.
By Dorothea James
Photo Courtesy HGTV