Aug 19, 2022 - News

Allegations mount against Dan Price, ex-CEO who set $70K minimum wage

A man in a light green outershirt with rolled up sleeves over a white shirt, and shoulder length brown hair, on a state with a magazine cover projected behind him.
Dan Price speaks onstage during the 2015 Life is Beautiful festival in Las Vegas. Photo: FilmMagic/contributor/Getty Images

Dan Price, a former Seattle CEO who made headlines worldwide by raising his employees' salary to a minimum of $70,000, has been accused of assaulting multiple women — and now, one of the allegations includes rape.

Driving the news: The New York Times published a bombshell report Thursday in which a woman accused Price of raping her while she was under the influence of drugs.

  • Police have referred the case to prosecutors, but charges had yet to be filed as of Thursday, per the Times.

Catch up quick: On Wednesday, the day before the Times' story was published, Price abruptly resigned as CEO of Gravity Payments, the Seattle-based credit-card processing company he founded with his brother in 2004.

  • Price wrote the same day on Twitter that he needed to focus on fighting what he called "false allegations."
  • In a statement to the Times, Price said he "never physically or sexually abused anyone."
  • Price didn't respond to Axios' attempts to contact him Thursday.

Context: Price's resignation and the allegations of rape and assault follow years of internet fame and media fanfare — where he gradually built an esteemed reputation as a poster child for corporate social responsibility.

  • However, he's been accused of mistreating women before. Here's a timeline of some of the primary allegations against Price...
Sexual misconduct allegations against Dan Price

December 2015: Bloomberg reported that, in a videotaped TEDx talk, Price's ex-wife, Kristie Colón, spoke of being beaten and waterboarded by her ex-husband, although she didn't specifically name Price.

  • Price told Bloomberg the abuse "never happened."
  • While the video wasn't publicly released in 2015, the Times posted an excerpt in its Thursday story.

Around December 2020: In a new allegation detailed by the Times, Serena Jowers, a fitness coach, said Price pulled up pornography on their third date, then pressured her to have sex after she resisted watching it.

  • Jowers then realized Price was recording the two of them having sex — something she didn't want or agree to, she told the Times.
  • Three other women also told the Times they learned Price had filmed them without their knowledge.

April 2021: Kacie Margis, a model and artist who was dating Price at the time, told police that Price penetrated her even after she declined to have sex with him, per the Times.

  • Margis said she had taken a cannabis edible beforehand and told Price she was tired and wanted to go to bed, according to the Times' reporting.
  • Police in Palm Springs, California, said Monday that they had referred the case to local prosecutors, recommending that Price be charged with raping a victim who was drugged, the Times reported.

January 2022: A woman in Seattle told police that Price tried to kiss her, then grabbed her throat after she pushed him away.

  • Price was charged with misdemeanor assault and reckless driving in connection with this incident. He pleaded not guilty and the case remains ongoing.
Other allegations

April 2015: Price's brother, Lucas Price, filed a lawsuit accusing Dan Price of violating Lucas' rights as a minority shareholder, including by "pay[ing] himself excessive compensation."

  • A judge later ruled in Dan Price's favor and ordered his brother to pay his attorney's fees.

February 2016: Court filings revealed that Price didn't make "probably $50,000" in 2011, as he claimed in a 2015 interview, but close to $1 million, Geekwire reported.

July 2016: Price's employees appear to surprise him by buying him a Tesla, an act that Price and his company promoted online as showing how much his workers appreciated him.

  • But in the Times' article, multiple people said the idea for the Tesla gift didn’t really come from workers.

The intrigue: Price cultivated his social media presence with the help of a ghostwriter, Mike Rosenberg, per the N.Y. Times.

The National Sexual Assault Hotline is available 24/7 via 1-800-656-4673 or online chat. Learn more at RAINN.org.

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