Chip Gaines has been slapped with a lawsuit by his original cofounders in the Magnolia Real Estate Company, who allege he basically stiffed them, buying them out for cheap without disclosing that he and Joanna were about to debut on HGTV. He has responded in very Chip Gaines style.
US Weekly recaps that, last week:
Magnolia cofounders John L. Lewis and Richard L. Clark filed a $1 million lawsuit against him, claiming that he had bought them out of the company two days before his HGTV series premiered in May 2013 and paid them $2,500 each for their shares.
Lewis and Clark claim in the lawsuit that Gaines — who now runs Magnolia with his wife and Fixer Upper costar, Joanna Gaines — didn’t notify them that HGTV had plans to broadcast the reality show nationally and that “the show prominently featured the ‘Magnolia’ brand name” before the sale.
The Waco Tribune, which originally broke the story, has bits from the suit, including:
“In summary, at a time when only the defendants knew that ‘Fixer Upper’ had been fast-tracked for a one-hour premiere on HGTV and was on the verge of radically changing their lives and business enterprises, Chip Gaines conspired to eliminate his business partners — notwithstanding their longstanding friendship — in order to ensure that he alone would profit from Magnolia Realty’s association with ‘Fixer Upper,’ ” according to the lawsuit, filed on behalf of Lewis and Clark by Waco attorney David Tekell.
“With this insider information in hand, Chip Gaines convinced plaintiffs to sell their membership interests in Magnolia Realty quickly to him before a public announcement that ‘Fixer Upper’ was picked up by HGTV,” the suit accuses. Also named are HGTV owner Scripps Networks and Fixer Upper producers High Noon Productions; the suit alleges everybody involved with the show wanted to get the Gaines’ ownership of everything Magnolia locked down.
Magnolia Realty now has offices across Texas and is closely associated with a television show that is ridiculously popular and will see the entire nation buried in goddamn shiplap, from sea to shining sea.
Gaines’s lawyer responded to the allegation: “We are confident that these claims will be found to be meritless, and it is disappointing to see people try to take advantage of the hard work and success of Chip and Joanna Gaines.” And now, Chip has responded. Via Twitter. In the middle of the night.
That was followed by this exchange:
Keeping it on brand—and as rocky patches for franchises go, it’s admittedly unfolding much more charmingly than the Flip or Flop meltdown.