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For most people who are familiar with it, Fixer Upper is a fun, light-hearted and informative series about finding just the right home to reinvent in a homeowner's image. For others, such as Chip Gaines' former business partners, the show represents a big middle finger in the form of a dollar sign. John L. Lewis and Richard L. Clark, who co-founded Magnolia Real Estate Company with Gaines, are suing the reality TV star for over $1 million in damages and financial restitution.
The allegations here aren't very complicated, but they're quite damning if revealed to be true. According to the lawsuit that was filed this week in Waco's state district court (via KTWX), John Lewis and Richard Clark claim that back in 2013, at a point when Magnolia Real Estate was largely Waco-based and employed a lone real estate agent, Chip Gaines made a deal to buy out the other men's shares of the company for $2,500 each. The litigious side here is that Gaines was allegedly making the Fixer Upper deal with HGTV on the side, without Lewis or Clark's knowledge, and the manner in which this went down also sounds very sketchy.
According to the lawsuit, Chip Gaines made a very strong push for the buyout to go down under those circumstances, and when Richard Clark didn't initially give in, John Lewis allegedly received a text from Gaines that said to pass along an ominous message of "Be careful," to Clark. Here's what else the text said, according to the plaintiffs.
I don't come from the nerdy prep school he's from. And when people talk to me that way they get their asses kicked. And if he's not ready to do that he better shut his mouth. I'm not the toughest guy there is, but I can assure you that would not end well for [R]ick.
Chip Gaines isn't the only one on the receiving end of the lawsuit, either, as they also call out Magnolia Realty itself, Scripps Networks Interactive, Scripps Networks LLC, and production company High Noon Entertainment. The money being sought out would include sale rescission or fair value of the company with interest, payment of salaries, as well as any other kinds of bonuses or payments they would have received had they stayed on as partners during Fixer Upper's rise to spinoff-producing fame.
From the plaintiffs' side of things, it sounds like some pretty shady business went on, especially since Magnolia Realty has turned into a nationwide company with dozens of real estate agents, but it's obviously for the judge to decide. This isn't the first lawsuit that the Gaines family has faced in recent months, either, though it's of a much different nature.