Fixer Upper host Chip Gaines is hitting back at his former business partners who are reportedly suing him for fraud. In a recent tweet, Chip hinted that there may be something fishy about the lawsuit filed by his so-called “friends.”
“FYI: I’ve had the same cell number [for] 15 years. Same e-mail for 20 years. No one called or e-mailed? Four years later ‘friends’ reach out via lawsuit… humm,” Chip Gaines tweeted on Saturday.
According to E! News, Chip Gaines is being sued for more than $1 million by John L. Lewis and Richard L. Clark, his former partners in his Texas-based Magnolia Real Estate business. Lewis and Clark claim that the Fixer Upper star forced them to sell their shares just two days before HGTV bought the rights to Fixer Upper in 2013, which made the Magnolia brand extremely popular.
The lawsuit stated that Chip Gaines “conspired to eliminate his business partners” and secretly worked with HGTV so he and wife Joanna Gaines alone would reap the benefits of the show’s success.
“In summary, at a time when only the Defendants knew that Fixer Upper had been fast-tracked for a one-hour premier 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.”
While HGTV has refused to comment on the matter, Lewis and Clark’s lawyer told People that their claims are accurate.
“Chip went back to his partners in Magnolia and said, ‘I would like to get rid of this little company and buy you guys out.’ But didn’t tell them that Magnolia Realty was about to be fairly famous and would be getting a lot of free advertisements,” Atty. David Tekell stated.
Atty. Tekell explained that Chip Gaines founded Magnolia Real Estate with Lewis and Clark in 2007. The buyout was finalized on May 6, 2013. On May 8, Chip and Joanna Gaines publicly announced that they were doing Fixer Upper on HGTV. Reportedly, the lawsuit also includes evidence that Chip Gaines threatened to physically assault Clark via a text message sent to Lewis.
Meanwhile, Chip and Joanna Gaines’ lawyer sent out an official statement in response to the fraud allegations.
“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.”
Chip Gaines’ tweet is the first time the Fixer Upper star has publicly acknowledged the issue. Earlier, he also tweeted an ambiguous, inspirational quote which fans may connect to his current legal trouble.
Without a doubt, Fixer Upper is indeed a hit among TV audiences. Season 4 has just wrapped up on HGTV, and Chip and Joanna have recently confirmed that they are currently filming for Season 5. Additionally, they will have another show entitled Behind the Design, to air also on HGTV.
Aside from their TV shows, Chip and Joanna’s Magnolia brand has turned into an empire which now includes a bed and breakfast inn, farm, market, and food businesses. They have also recently launched their own home accessories and furniture line under the same brand.
However, it can be noted that Chip and Joanna’s success comes with a hefty price tag. The house-flipping power couple is no strangers to rumors and tabloid press. Just recently, Joanna Gaines was involved in a skin care scam, which she quickly addressed on her blog.
Joanna warned fans not to believe everything they read, and only trust their statements through their official social media sites. Now that Chip has spoken through Twitter, fans can expect that the Fixer Upper host and his wife are not backing down.
Do you agree that Chip Gaines may have committed fraud by secretly working with HGTV and not telling his business partners? Sound off your thoughts in the comments section below!
[Featured Image by Brian Ach/Invision/AP Images]