Chip Gaines may be the most chill dude on television.
No matter what budgetary or renovation problems he confronts on Fixer Upper, the HGTV host can always be relied upon to crack wise or crack a smile, often sharing some sort of awful dad joke with wife Joanna on air to diffuse the situation.
It’s a huge reason why Fixer Upper has grown into such a massive hit for the cable network.
But now we know what makes Chip Gaines angry:
Being accused by former business partners of being a lying, manipulating schemer who defrauded them out of a lot of money.
Late last week, John L. Lewis and Richard L. Clark filed a lawsuit against Gaines.
Former associates of his with Magnolia Real Estate, Lewis and Clark founded the company in 2007, back when it was a tiny operation based in Waco, Texas with just a couple of employees.
Just two days before HGTV picked up Fixer Upper to series, however, Lewis and Clark allege that Gaines forced them to sell their shares in Magnolia… for a paltry $2,500 each.
They claim Chip never told them the show was about to launch and/or that it would feature Magnolia in a prominent role, serving as a significant marketing and promotion tool.
In the four years since Fixer Upper premiered, Magnolia has expanded to nearly every state and now employs nearly 100 real estate agents.
Through threats of leaving to start his own competing business and even an alleged threat of violence, Gaines committed an act of fraud upon forcing Lewis and Clark to tell.
So they claim in these legal documents. And they are demanding over $1 million in damages.
Gaines initially responded to this lawsuit with hope and religion.
He quoted a passage from the bible (John 1:5, to be exact) not long after the suit went public, simply writing to followers:
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
It was a typically Chip-er response, similar to the message about “love” and “faith” that he Tweeted back when he and Joanna found themselves in the middle of a gay marriage scandal.
But Gaines clearly thought more about the actions of his ex-partners over the weekend and wrote a more bitter follow-up message. It reads:
“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.”
It’s pretty clear Lewis and Clark no longer consider themselves friends with Gaines.
As for why they waited so long to file a lawsuit? Perhaps they needed to actually see the impact Fixer Upper had on the business they formerly co-owned.
Or perhaps they really are full of crap, just looking to cash in on Chip’s success via a quick settlement of some kind.
“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,” Gaines’ attorney, Jordan Mayfield, told People Magazine last week.
However, Lewis and Clark’s lawyer, David Tekell, says the opposite. Obviously.
“It is all completely true and supported by actual facts,” he tells the same publication. “There are extensive quotes from texts and emails stated in the lawsuit that are accurate.”
The two men claim in their lawsuit that Gaines bought their shares of the real estate company with “insider information in hand” after having allegedly described the business as “less than worthless.”
We’ll find out soon enough who’s telling the truth here.
In the meantime, fans of Fixer Upper have been wondering for the past few weeks whether the show was going away because Joanna Gaines was leaving to pursue a different line of work.
She recently addressed these claims in pointed fashion.