Another HGTV Scandal: 'Fixer Upper' Star Sued by Former Business Partners

Elizabeth Williams
April 28, 2017

Fixer Upper's Chip Gaines was hit with a hefty lawsuit by two of his former Magnolia Realty business partners for fraud.

Lewis and Clark are claiming Gaines bought them out of their shares in Magnolia Realty without telling them about HGTV's decision to air "Fixer Upper".

Lewis and Clark founded the company with Gaines in 2007 and the business largely operated out of Waco with a single real estate agent, according to the suit obtained by KARE.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in McLennan County's 170th Judicial District Court. However, after that the Gaineses built the Magnolia name into "an empire" using "Fixer Upper" as a national catalyst, and Magnolia Realty is now a "major real estate company, operating in Waco, Austin, Dallas, Houston, Temple, Belton and Killeen, with an army of over 93 real estate agents", the suit contends. "The name of the show ranged from 'Keeping Up With the Gaines, ' which was my vote all along for obvious reasons, all the way to what we have today, which is 'Fixer Upper'".

Fans can rest assured that Chip and Joanna Gaines are already working on Season 5 of HGTV's "Fixer Upper". And when people talk to me that way they get their asses kicked.

The show ended Lewis and Gaines' friendship, which first began around 1999 when Gaines sought legal services from Lewis, who is an attorney. "I'm not the toughest guy there is, but I can assure you that would not end well for [R] ick", the text read, according to the suit.

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The men claim in the suit that Gaines bought their shares of the real estate company for $2,500 each with "insider information in hand" - Gaines allegedly described the company as "distressed".

The interior designer, who stars in HGTV's home renovation series alongside her husband, Chip Gaines, addressed the rumors and teased their "exciting" new projects in a blog post titled "Don't Believe Everything You Read".

"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", Mayfield said in a statement. "The only thing I have to have is Magnolia when the dust clears". Additionally, they claimed that had they known Gaines' plans for the reality show, they would have never sold their two-thirds for $5,000 (combined).

Joanna does not appear to be named in the suit.

Magnolia Realty is only one part of the Magnolia brand, which also includes a construction company, a home accessory store, design firm and residential subdivision, Magnolia Villas.

Other reports by VgToday

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