KW lawsuit
Illustration by Lanette Behiry/Real Estate News

Former KW CEO sues brokerage, Gary Keller for $300 million 

John Davis, who resigned from Keller Williams in 2019, said the company and its founder have tried to ruin his reputation.

Updated September 29, 2023
2 minutes

Key points:

  • Davis said the company used sexual misconduct allegations against him while putting together a separation contract and negotiating future sales.
  • The allegations surfaced in 2021 when franchise owner Inga Dow sued KW, Keller and Davis.

The former CEO of Keller Williams has filed a $300 million lawsuit against the company and its founder, Gary Keller, alleging that they tried to ruin his reputation.

John Davis, who was CEO of Keller Williams from 2017 until he resigned in 2019, filed the lawsuit in late October and the summons were sent out on Nov. 1, according to court documents filed in the U.S. District Court in Fort Worth, Texas.

The complaint alleges Keller and former president Josh Team used sexual misconduct allegations against him while putting together a separation contract and later negotiating the sale of several regional franchises. KW franchise owner Inga Dow, who came forward with the sexual misconduct allegations in November 2021, was also named in the lawsuit.

In her own lawsuit, Dow said she was subjected to sexual misconduct and harassment from Davis and that Keller Williams retaliated against her after she reported it. In court documents, Davis admitted to having a relationship with Dow between 1998 to 2004, but said the allegations from Dow are "false and malicious."

Dow's lawsuit went to arbitration, but on Sept. 25, 2023, a notice of dismissal was filed, and Dow dropped the charges against all the defendants except Davis. Keller Williams and Gary Keller are no longer named in Dow's suit.

In an email, KW spokesman Darryl Frost said they are aware of the lawsuit brought by Davis.

"Mr. Davis' attempt to involve Keller Williams in his quest to clear his name is unfortunate. As this is ongoing litigation, we do not intend to comment any further at this time," Frost said.

Davis claims in court documents that he resigned from his position "because of Keller's pressure to enact a strategy plan that was likely to significantly damage profitability for franchise owners and agents." 

Davis further alleges that Keller later weaponized Dow's allegations for his own benefit, including withholding information about sexual misconduct allegations while they were putting together a separation agreement that Davis said made it impossible to defend himself once the charges surfaced. He said it also hurt negotiations to sell profitable regions to Keller Williams, which Davis said were worth $46 million in 2020.

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