So is Mr. “Aw shucks,” Chipper Gaines really, Mr. “I want all the chips to fall in my direction,” Chip Gaines?
Turns out, goofy behavior aside, it’s beginning to feel Chipper Gaines is a much better thespian than anyone could have ever imagined. And one thing is for sure: Chip Gaines is no slouch at self-promotion.
Am referring to the lawsuit filed against Square MB, LLC d/b/a Magnolia Realty, Scripps Networks Interactive, Inc, Scripps Networks LLC, and High Noon Productions, LLC by the founding partners of Magnolia Realty. That’s right. Chip, who had a third interest in the business, began talking to his friend, since 1997, about the business of Magnolia Reality in 2006.
But before we determine what is; notice what is not.
As is commonly known — when attorneys file a lawsuit, everyone and the kitchen sink is named in the Complaint. Everyone. Don’t take it personally, that’s called: Lawyering 101.
But what’s interesting is neither Magnolia Realty founding partners, attorneys, John L. Lewis and Rick L. Clark, cared to name Joanna Gaines in their suit….and didn’t.
This is almost unheard of, not to mention very classy. It also makes me wonder if attorneys Lewis and Clark suspected Chip Gaines kept some information from Joanna. Or worse.
Was Joanna not named as a founding partner because she wasn’t? If so, how does that square with Chip Gaines “we share it all” image?
Darn. Why didn’t reporters ask about that? Also, why wasn’t it mentioned that the saga began in 2012? Chip likely mentioned there had been contact…but if you look at the earlier shows, there was not an abundance of filming all over town and out in the public, as there are now.
Also, everyone has a camera. There is production company in my town that pitches as a birthday feature for parents, a “Paparazzi package” – where five guys with a camera follow 21 year olds around town on their birthday, shouting their names in pretend stardom and clicking away as the newly minted 21 year olds, step into imaginary stardom…if only for a night.
It was clear to me as negotiations with Chip and Joanna Gaines continued, that Gaines realized the Fixer Upper show was going to be a go.
However, this information was not relayed by Chip to his partners and long-time, good friends, John Lewis and Rick Clark. Although friends since 1997…
who, busy with their law practice, likely trusted Gaines to keep them abreast of everything.
(Again, discussions for what Magnolia Realty would become, began in 2006.)
Fast foward – Fixer Upper became the big hit HGTV thought it would become; and all is not as folksy as it appears.
The first negative publicity came when the public learned the houses were selected before-hand. That was dealt with. (Will cover the gay issue later.)
Waco does cater to the show that put Waco on the map in a good light. That’s a given.
So not much coverage on the woman who fell and suffered a head injury in the store, a bit ago. Or the guy suing them about the gate access. A little, but not much. No Magnoliagate. Even though it was about, a gate!
Good coverage didn’t end with this lawsuit…but as coverage begged questions, I called.
On Friday, April 28, 2017, I spoke with attorney David Tekell. Mr. Clark suggested (through his secretary) I call David Tekell. ( I didn’t get beyond capable staff of both founding member attorneys of Magnolia Realty when I telephoned.) I’m against attorneys not speaking to reporters. This is based on simple logic. If the story is going to be written, best to speak and make your points.
But hey, that’s just my opinion. John Lewis and Rick Clark perhaps thought all issues would be addressed by media from the Complaint they filed.
That didn’t happen. However, when I called David Tekell my very first question concerned the timing of the lawsuit…and whether there were meetings before good friends John Lewis and Rick Clark, filed.
Tekell indicated there were discussions prior to the lawsuit, and I later learned a copy of the draft of the lawsuit was sent to the email ole Chip has had for years. I surmised the discussions were not especially productive. But also sensed Tekell didn’t want to talk about it much either, so didn’t press my luck, for particulars.
However, Logic demands when meetings are not productive, litigation is filed before the time limit by law, to address concerns, runs out. The last thing attorneys want to do is sue their friends of many years; so meetings prior to filing suit, makes sense. However, there comes a time when waiting makes no sense so lawsuits are filed; and the courts sort out the evidence.
Chip Gaines is winning the public relations side
Oh yeah. Evidence
Here’s a little something Chip hasn’t mentioned so
fair. I mean, far.
Evidence – Does this look like fraud to anyone?
The threats made by Chip have been well reported, and are listed in the Complaint on Page 12. #38:
“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 hes 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.”
Also not mentioned in past coverage? According to the Complaint, Gaines told his partners if they didn’t agree, he would start a competing agency against them.
As a writer, I found Doug Eastland interesting. Who is Doug Eastland? Seems to me Doug Eastland could be a key witness. He knows all individuals involved, and worked with Magnolia Realty. Someone should have called him for background.
But as no reporter called Doug, I did. Doug’s a smart man, and very personable. However, before I could ask a thing, Doug began with, “No comment.” Not exactly a conversation starter for sure.
Eventually, after we chatted a bit…and because I am all about background, Doug did answer one question.
BR: “Well, the story is all over the news, but as you were mentioned in the Complaint, didn’t anyone, from any publication, call you?”
More interesting? Doug mentioned he’s friends with all three. That’s right. Present tense.
Given the initial reporting was quick and dirty, seems a shame the reporting was also missing key facts. Because facts matter…and a bonanza for Waco, aside: Facts are key to fairness.
Full Disclosure: I once lived in Waco. Since moving to California, have participated in one documentary (Divorce Corp*) and one reality show* (in which I was ecstatic when the series was cancelled in its fifth season.) This is important only when I mention to readers that reality show participants do get a sense of a network’s commitment to a project the longer it continues. You can feel the groundswell.
I once called Magnolia Realty and High Noon Productions in an attempt to end negative coverage they were receiving for refusing to work with gay people. My friend, Mark Ebenhouch had purchased a home in New Orleans and was attempting to remodel it in the summer. (Mark was the real marine, director Oliver Stone hired to train a bunch of actors, how to look like real marines for the movie, Platoon.) Mark is an excellent human being and very active in the community and director of the Sacred Cloth Project.
So I thought working with Mark Ebenhoch would be a win-win as it was hard for me to believe there were so many people who seem to have forgotten, God did not appoint them his personal messenger. (Also, I worried the New Orleans summer heat would kill Mark.)
The folks at High Noon said the Gaines had made a commitment to their children not to leave the Waco area. I suggested a working vacation…and included family friendly activities. No dice. I did however, notice Chip never once committed on the negative publicity, shrewdly noting it would die out. But these days Chip’s tweeting selected Bible verses to his own benefit.
I suspect if after discovery and depositions, if this goes to trial, Chip’s reputation will suffer. Because, facts. Facts are really so bothersome sometimes. They really can screw up a good PR campaign. But if it does, please know there is no better trial reporter than Tommy Witherspoon. Especially on Twitter, which is harder. Tommy tweets as TspoonFeed.
- 1. I agreed to participate in the film Divorce Corp with the stipulation the high-tech real-time, GPS device that alert would-be victims in real-time, beforehand, (in time for her to vacate the area, thus ending restraining order violations), would be featured in the film. It was filmed but subsequently, edited out. 1,631 women were murdered in the U.S. in 2015. This device would have prevented some of these murders.
- 2. The show was “Family Plots” and in one episode I was the blind-date for the main character. Originally was unaware it was a reality show. Had noticed a blind item on a film board that read, “Three daughters are looking for a date for their father” and answered, “Does your father know what you’re up to?” They called me and things progressed from there. My interest in participating was to see how production companies actually worked on the job. Neither of us were interested in each other.