The HGTV scandals continue to pour in as Fixer Upper stars Chip and Joanna Gaines brace for what many believe will be an ugly lawsuit by their former business partners.
As She Knows reminds us, this is the fourth time Chip and Joanna Gaines have landed in hot water and made headlines for less than ideal reasons. During an exclusive interview with In Touch Weekly, HGTV fans learned the former business partners of Chip and Joanna Gaines had filed a lawsuit. John Lewis and Richard Clark filed the lawsuit because they believed Chip and Joanna manipulated them into selling their portion of the business right before the Fixer Upper series took off.
“We have been attempting to resolve this matter privately for many months. There were multiple communications between my attorney and Chip’s attorney and multiple attempts to get this resolved. I wouldn’t say that [Chip] absolutely ignored it, but we never got into a position where there was any realistic chance of resolving it without filing the lawsuit.”
Chip Gaines, however, sung a different tune last week which suggested the two had not been in direct contact with each other. Could Chip and Joanna’s former business problems have resolved the issue if they had just talked to Chip directly? In a post on Twitter, Chip slammed his former business partner for filing a lawsuit instead of reaching out to him. Chip claimed he had the same contact information for nearly two decades.
Fyi: Ive had the same cell # 15 yrs.. same email for 20 yrs. No one called or emailed? 4 years later "friends" reach out via lawsuit.. humm
— Chip Gaines (@chippergaines) April 29, 2017
She Knows notes that Lewis maintains his lawyer had emailed Chip regarding the lawsuit months before it was actually filed. Is Chip Gaines lying about the fact that his former business partners never reached out to him or is it the former business partners who are lying?
In the lawsuit claim, Lewis and Richards reveal they owned 66 percent of Magnolia Realty. In 2013, however, the former business partners claim Chip Gaines convinced them to sell him their shares of the business for just $5,000. It was just days before Lewis and Richards sold Magnolia Realty to Chip Gaines that Gaines had signed on to HGTV with his wife to air Fixer Upper. As most know, the HGTV series is largely the reason why the value of Magnolia Realty skyrocketed.
— Jacqueline Matter (@JacquelineM_TV) May 4, 2017
In filing the ugly lawsuit, John Lewis and Richard Clark believe Chip Gaines knew the value of the business was going to skyrocket thanks to Fixer Upper and decided to snake the business out from under them before it took off. Could Chip have possibly known the value of the business was going to skyrocket or are his former business partners just trying to take advantage of the hard work Chip and Joanna have put into the business and Fixer Upper?
“The bottom line is we owned a business together. We had been friends for over a decade. The choice could have been when he had the knowledge that there was a success on the horizon that he could have allowed his friend and business partner to enjoy that future success with him, and he chose not to do so.”
Lewis claims to have trusted Chip Gaines and feels as though he was cheated out of an opportunity to be successful as well. While Lewis knew Chip and Joanna were filming a pilot of Fixer Upper, he had no idea they had signed to air the series on HGTV. Would Lewis have backed out of selling the company to Chip if he had known the whole story?
“I knew they were filming a pilot. I had no idea that it was going to be aired on any network, let alone HGTV, and didn’t know about that until two days after we signed over the company to Chip. I trusted what Chip was telling me — the business we owned together had no value.”
According to She Knows, Chip and Joanna’s ex-business partner wanted it to be clear that he was not bitter about the success the Fixer Upper stars had. Lewis claims that he is merely upset that Chip tricked him into selling the business right before it became successful.
Chip’s lawyer, however, feels the ex-business partners are just trying to take advantage of Chip and Joanna’s success. The lawyer believes the lawsuit is meritless and isn’t going to go anywhere even though it may be a little on the ugly side.
“We are confident that these claims will be found to be meritless. It is disappointing to see people try to take advantage of the hard work and success of Chip and Joanna.”
Fans of Fixer Upper hope for the sake of Chip and Joanna Gaines and HGTV’s reputation, this ugly lawsuit can be settled without having to go to court.
Do you think Chip and Joanna’s ex-business partners have a case or do you think the ugly lawsuit is just an attempt to cash in on the Fixer Upper stars’ success? Share your thoughts with us down below.
[Featured Image by Desiree Navarro/WireImage/Getty Images]