Nesenoff & Miltenberg, LLP: Former CEO’s Suit Against Keller Williams Realty Alleges Operations ‘Similar to a Criminal Enterprise’ Including Lies, Fraud, Cover-ups, and Greed

In a federal lawsuit filing, former Keller Williams Realty CEO and President John Davis took a stand against the real estate giant and its founder Gary Keller with stunning allegations of fraudulent business practices, deceit, and operations ‘similar to a criminal enterprise’. Davis seeks $300 million in damages from defendants Gary Keller, Josh Team, Keller Williams Realty, and Inga Dow.

After leading Keller Williams Realty to become North America’s largest and most successful real estate company, Davis resigned in 2019 to avoid then-Board Chairman Gary Keller’s constant pressure to lower the franchisee’s revenue model (by lowering office caps) altering franchise operations outside of their franchise agreements. It will be argued that by pressuring individually owned and operated offices to change their economic model, the Chairman of the Board and later CEO Gary Keller improperly interfered with each individually owned and operated office that did so, possibly breaching franchise law, violating his obligations as Chairman, CEO, and majority owner and putting those offices at financial risk.

With more than 20 years in the business, Davis had a long, stellar track record of growing businesses at every level of the company. Before resigning, Davis was named a top CEO by Glassdoor, earned a 94% employee approval rating, and led Keller Williams Realty to become the number one real estate franchise in agent count, closed units, and closed sales volume in the United States.

Davis, resigning in good faith and choosing to sit out his two-year non-compete agreement quietly, was planning to re-enter the real estate industry with his good name and reputation when instead it was revealed the Keller Williams franchisee Inga Dow had made knowingly false and inflammatory allegations against Davis and others. These false allegations were made after Dow followed Gary Keller’s scheme to alter franchise operations and saw her holdings severely devalued. Gary Keller, Josh Team, and other Keller Williams Realty executives knew the allegations were false but fraudulently sat silent and harmed Davis.

“Mr. Davis seeks a trial by his peers to shine the light on how Gary Keller, Josh Team, and Keller Williams Realty leaders run their business and harm the very people that made Gary Keller, Josh Team and others wealthy,” said Paul Omodt, spokesman for John Davis. “Our most recent motion before the court seeks a public forum and argues against Keller Williams’ use of arbitration to shield its misdeeds publicly. Mr. Davis and his team believe in the strength of their case and believe Gary Keller and his scheme have similarly harmed others.” In the most recent ruling by the court, Keller Williams Realty has seen its legal maneuvers to keep the case secret and hidden denied in favor of the public’s right to know.

The $300 million suit Davis brought against Gary Keller, Josh Team, Keller Williams Realty and Dow is one of two matters currently before the court. Keller Williams franchisee Inga Dow’s suit was triggered by her failed attempts to sell her market centers. Dow incorporated Gary Keller’s scheme, experienced decreased cash flow, and was unable to sell her businesses for what they had been worth before incorporating the scheme.

So, three years after Davis resigned, Dow filed suit against him, falsely alleging misconduct. In subsequent filings in that case, Keller Williams Realty even stated, “… if the inflammatory allegations are set aside, it is easier to see the dispute for what it is: Dow attempting to gain leverage in matters impacting her businesses.”

Inga Dow crossed a clear moral and legal line and there is a price to be paid for ruining someone’s reputation,” said Paul Omodt. “Those who know John Davis know a passionate and principled leader who built Keller Williams Realty into what it is today, and they know John to be someone who will fight until the end to right the wrongs brought by Dow, Gary Keller, Keller Williams Realty, and Josh Team.”

Davis is represented by attorneys Andrew Miltenberg and Janine Peress of Nesenoff & Miltenberg, LLP, and James Crewse of Crewse Law Firm, PLLC. The case is filed as Case No. 4:22-cv-00970-O in the United States District Court Northern District of Texas Fort Worth Division.


Written by Shantel

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