Joanna Gaines, Chip Gaines, Fixer Upper, HGTV


Chip Gaines is not happy with his former "friends."

The Fixer Upper star's two former business partners John L. Lewis and Richard L. Clark sued him for more than $1 million earlier this week, accusing Chip of fraud. They said Chip bought out their stakes in Magnolia Real Estate days before he announced HGTV planned to produce the reality show, which prominently features the company's name. They also say they paid just $2,500 each in May 2013 after Chip told them the company is "less than worthless" and that he threatened to start a competing real estate brokerage if they didn't sell.

"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," he tweeted Friday.

The filing states, "At a time when only [John and Richard] 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."

In their lawsuit, his ex-partners also state that "Chip became so fixated on securing the Magnolia name that he didn't care if he offended or threatened anyone along the way. For example, when Clark made it clear he wasn't happy with Chip trying to lower the buyout even more, Chip allegedly sent the following text message to Lewis, threatening to resort to crass school yard behavior (emphasis added): 'You better tell Rick to be careful. 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's lawyer had earlier said in response to the lawsuit, "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." 

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