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'Fixer Upper' star Chip Gaines faces business litigation

The couple made a splash on HGTV with their down-to-earth style and stunning home remodels. Fans in Ohio and beyond saw Chip and Joanna Gaines quickly rise to stardom following the success of their TV show, "Fixer Upper," in which Gaines's company, Magnolia Realty, convinces couples to purchase inexpensive homes that he and Joanna then renovate and redecorate. The TV show spawned a line of products for the home as well as books and other merchandise. However, it also spawned business litigation as former partners of Chip Gaines claim they were defrauded.

The two men co-owned Magnolia Reality with Gaines in the years prior to the his TV breakthrough. Apparently, Gaines purchased their shares of the real estate company for $2,500 each. However, the two partners claim that Gaines had already negotiated a deal with HGTV for a one-hour premier of "Fixer Upper." They claim Chip and Joanna were secretly aware that the network planned to fast-track the new series and build a home improvement empire around the couple.

Magnolia Reality is featured prominently in the TV show, and the former partners claim Gaines fraudulently dissolved their partnership to maximize his profits. They are suing him for over $1 million in damages plus non-monetary relief. A spokesperson for Chip and Joanna has said that the former partners are simply trying to capitalize on their success.

When disputes arise between business partners, the reputation of a company may suffer. Business litigation is complex and risky, even when those involved are right here in Ohio and not necessarily protecting a national image. Business owners facing disputes or accusations would benefit from the counsel and assistance of an attorney who can help to minimize the damage such claims may threaten to a business.

Source: Fox News, "'Fixer Upper's' Chip Gaines sued by former business partners for fraud", Sasha Savitsky, April 28. 2017

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