Why 2 of Chip Gaines’ Business Partners Sued the ‘Fixer Upper’ Star For Over $1 Million

Chip Gaines, star of the popular HGTV show Fixer Upper, was once sued by two of his former Magnolia Realty business partners for over $1 million. Here’s why Gaines’ partners filed a lawsuit against him and how the case ended.

Chip Gaines smiles, holding a microphone during a speaking event.
Chip Gaines | Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

2 of Chip Gaines’ business partners sued the ‘Fixer Upper’ star for over $1 million

In 2017, two of Chip Gaines’ former business partners, John L. Lewis and Richard L. Clark, sued the Fixer Upper star for more than $1 million.


Lewis and Clark claimed that Gaines convinced them to sell their one-third ownership stakes in Magnolia Realty for $2,500 apiece in May 2013, withholding the information that those stakes were about to skyrocket in value due to the HGTV show. They demanded either over $1 million and their ownership stakes back, or compensation for what their stakes in Magnolia Realty would be worth had they known about Fixer Upper’s success.

The lawsuit, filed in Waco, Texas, also named the production company High Noon Entertainment and the HGTV operatives Scripps Networks and Scripps Networks Interactive.

“At a time when only the Defendants knew that Fixer Upper had been fast-tracked for a one-hour premiere 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,” the lawsuit states (per USA Today).

According to Lewis and Clark, Gaines told them Magnolia was “less than worthless” and allegedly sent threatening text messages to Lewis when Clark was reluctant to sell.

“You better tell Rick to be careful,” the HGTV star allegedly texted Lewis. “I don’t come from the nerdy prep school he’s from. And when people talk to me that way, they get their (expletives) 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 Rick.”

Chip Gaines responded to the lawsuit on Twitter

The Fixer Upper star, who has been open about his religious beliefs, shared the Bible verse John 1:5 in response to the lawsuit. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it,” Chip tweeted on April 28, 2017.

The following day, he shared a more direct tweet: “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.”

Gaines’ attorney, Jordan Mayfield, gave a statement to People refuting the allegations. “We are confident that these claims will be found to be meritless,” said Mayfield. “And it is disappointing to see people try to take advantage of the hard work and success of Chip and Joanna Gaines.”

A judge dismissed the lawsuit against the ‘Fixer Upper’ star

The lawsuit Chip Gaines’ former business partners filed against him carried on for nearly three years. In February 2020, a judge dismissed the lawsuit and sealed the case records, including the Fixer Upper star’s deposition, according to the Waco Tribune-Herald (per Insider).

“From the very beginning, we have been proactive in our efforts to present the undisputed facts in this case,” John Marsicano, a spokesperson for Gaines, told the publication. “We’re thankful that truth has prevailed and that these claims were rightfully dismissed in their entirety.”

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