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The CEO of multiple Keller Williams offices has dropped her claims against Keller Williams and Gary Keller in a sexual misconduct suit she filed last year.
On Monday, Inga Dow filed a notice in the U.S. District Court for Northern Texas in Fort Worth dismissing claims against all defendants except former CEO John Davis with prejudice. “With prejudice” means that she cannot file the same claims again.
In a March 29, 2022 amended complaint, Dow, CEO of Keller Williams Realty Fort Worth and Keller Williams Realty Johnson County in Texas, alleged she endured years of sexual misconduct, harassment and abuse at Davis’s hands and that the franchisor, Austin-based Keller Williams Realty Inc. (KWRI), did nothing to address the alleged behavior and continued to retaliate against her for reporting it.
The complaint also named as defendants fellow market center owner David Osborn, KW regional director Smokey Garrett, and Go Management, the company that runs KW’s Fort Worth regional office.
The complaint alleged a culture at Keller Williams that encouraged particularly female employees” to do whatever it took to make sales and ‘get along’ with top performers to keep them happy,” including performing “sexual favors or acts for male counterparts and/or top clients.” Dow alleged Davis frequently demanded sex from her and she felt “she had no choice but to acquiesce, because Davis was backed and supported by Keller, CEO and Founder of KWRI, which gave Davis a high degree of power within KWRI.” When she resisted, Davis allegedly retaliated by slow-walking her application to open a market center in Johnson County and by falsely denigrating her performance, causing her to lose agents.
The 11-count complaint’s allegations against KWRI and Go Management included hostile work environment; sex discrimination; retaliation for reporting sexual abuse, discrimination, and harassment; and failure to provide reasonable accommodation. Allegations against KWRI, Go Management, Osborn and Garrett included sexual harassment and retaliation. The complaint also alleged breach of contract against KWRI and breach of fiduciary duty against Davis and Osborn.
The complaint accused all defendants — KWRI, Davis, Go Management, Osborn, Garrett and Keller — of tortious interference with an existing contractual relationship and tortious interference with a prospective relationship for not accepting Dow into a Legacy program launched by Keller and turning away a prospective operating principal for her market centers.
In September 2022, the court ordered all of the claims except those against Davis into arbitration. Arbitration is a private process in which the parties agree that a neutral third party can make a binding decision about a dispute after considering evidence and hearing arguments.
On Monday, the parties informed the court that arbitration had concluded and Dow filed her notice dismissing all claims against the defendants except the tortious interference and breach of fiduciary duty claims against Davis.
“This partial Notice does not seek to dismiss any claims or causes of action that have been asserted or could be asserted by Plaintiff against Defendant John Davis in his individual capacity,” the filing said.
“Plaintiff specifically reserves any and all claims or causes of action that have been or could have been asserted by Plaintiff against Defendant John Davis in his individual capacity.”
On Tuesday, attorneys for Davis filed a motion to re-open the case, which was stayed last year pending the results of arbitration. Because of that stay, Davis’s motion to dismiss the case and motion to strike “all immaterial, impertinent and scandalous matter from the Original Complaint and First Amended Complaint,” both filed on April 11, 2022, have not been ruled upon.
“This Motion is made so that Davis’ pending motions may be immediately considered and granted by the Court so that justice may be done and this case be fully and finally resolved without further delay,” Davis’s attorneys wrote in the filing.
John Davis spokesperson Paul Omodt told Inman that Davis intends to move forward with his case.
“Our claims and counterclaims are still pending and we will see them through,” Omodt said in an emailed statement.
Keller Williams and Gary Keller declined to comment for this story.
Following Dow’s suit, Davis filed a lawsuit against Keller, Dow, former KW President Josh Team and Keller Williams in what Davis said was an effort to restore his reputation.
In the suit, Davis alleged he resigned from KW because of a disagreement with Keller over a business strategy that he believed would bring in less income to Keller Williams offices, and that Keller and Team responded by smearing him and withholding Dow’s accusations from him when he was negotiating the sale of his KW market center regions after his resignation, resulting in tens of millions in financial losses.
In February, the court sent Davis’s suit into arbitration and in March, two Keller Williams market center owners, Colleen and Bart Basinski, sued Keller Williams, Gary Keller, KW President Marc King and regional leaders Dan Holt and Colette Ching, alleging that they experienced retaliation for their association with Davis and for also refusing to follow the same business strategy that Davis objected to.
The Basinskis alleged the defendants “maliciously interfered” with multiple business contracts that allegedly caused the couple to lose approximately $10 million in investments, disbursements, profits and income from their roles as market center owners, KWRI coaches and team leaders.
In August, Davis filed a racketeering lawsuit against Keller Williams, which alleged, in part, that the franchisor had inflated key profitability metrics, such as company sales and profits, to convince individuals to purchase Keller Williams regions and market centers. Keller Williams responded by saying it would “aggressively defend these baseless claims.”
Those lawsuits are pending.