Former Keller Williams CEO John Davis has sent Inman a new statement saying he “denied all the salacious claims against me” in a sexual misconduct lawsuit brought by a Keller Williams franchisee last week.
Dismissing Inman as a “click-bait operation,” Davis expanded on a denial made last week by his spokesperson and took aim at allegations made by Inga Dow, CEO of Keller Williams Realty Fort Worth, while accusing the publication of writing a “hit piece” designed by Dow and her lawyers to curry favor for the plaintiff in the “court of public opinion.”
Davis sent the statement in response to an article Inman published Friday regarding a March 29 amended complaint filed by Dow, who also serves as CEO of Texas-based Keller Williams Realty Johnson County, against Davis, Keller Williams and Keller Williams’ co-founder, Gary Keller. That article included Davis’s initial denial of the charges outlined in the complaint.
The complaint alleges Dow 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 continues to retaliate against her for reporting it.
“The fact are that Inga, who is more than a decade my senior, and I dated for several years as I began my real estate career,” Davis said in the new statement.
“She never made claims against me when we dated — or in the many years since then — and only brought these claims against me now when she couldn’t work out the business deal she wanted with Keller Williams. As Keller Williams continued to play hard ball in negotiations, she became more desperate to sell, dragged me into a lawsuit — despite the fact I retired from Keller William more than three years ago — and concocted a false story about our relationship in a public court filing.”
Davis added that he looked forward to when the court hears the case “in a full and public forum.”
“I am confident in the wisdom of the Court to see the truth. And, I have hope today, the day the court of public opinion stands with me and how I have always tried to live my life, as a man who has faith in the fellow man and woman and strives to live up to these values every day.”
Inman reached out to Dow and her attorney for comment about Davis’ new statement. They did not respond in time for publication.
In response to follow-up questions from Inman, a spokesperson for Davis, Paul Omodt, clarified that Dow is nine years older than Davis and alleged Davis and Dow had dated for about five years beginning around April 1998 when Davis was a loan officer at Advantage Mortgage in Austin and Dow was a team leader at the Keller Williams Northwest Market Center.
“Mr. Davis disputes all the allegations made by Inga Dow against him,” Omodt said.
“None of Inga Dow’s allegations support any of the legal claims regarding tortious interference or breach of fiduciary duty made against Mr. Davis. Dow’s alleged facts are inaccurate and not responsive to the legal claims made.”
Asked about the April 1998 and May 1998 incidents of alleged sexual misconduct described in Dow’s complaint, Omodt said, “John and Inga were in a consensual relationship during this time and the manner in which they are portrayed in the complaint is completely inaccurate.”
Dow’s complaint says she told multiple people about Davis’s alleged behavior over the years before filing the lawsuit. Asked whether Davis was claiming Dow did not complain to those people, Omodt said, “Inga never complained to John about this nor was John made aware of any complaints allegedly made outside of false statements Inga made to Mary Tennant that Inga subsequently retracted and apologized for making.”
Omodt continued, “Inga and John have remained in contact since their relationship ended and were in business together for several years after their relationship ended.”
The business deal Davis’s statement refers to is Dow’s sale of her three Keller Williams market centers, according to Omodt. In an emailed statement sent to Inman Monday evening, Keller Williams spokesperson Darryl Frost said that other parties in Dow’s lawsuit, which was not solely against Keller Williams, were involved in discussions with Dow about the sale of her businesses.
“Keller Williams (and/or Gary Keller) did NOT negotiate with Dow for the sale of her businesses,” Frost said. “To suggest that Keller Williams ‘play[ed] hard ball in negotiations’ or a ‘business deal’ with Dow is false and misleading.”
Dow’s complaint alleges Davis was asked to step down from his position as CEO of Keller Williams “for inappropriate sexual behavior, verbal abuse, and bullying” and that “Davis’s inappropriate sexual conduct resulted in numerous confidential settlements” with women in the Keller Williams ecosystem.
“This claim is completely false and not supported by the facts,” Omodt said, referring to an open letter from Davis that Inman published in January 2019 in which Davis denied he was fired and made the decision to leave by himself without pressure from anyone else at the company.
“John has no current role within Keller Williams or its franchises,” Omodt added.
In an emailed statement Monday afternoon, a Keller Williams spokesperson told Inman,“Keller Williams and its independently-owned franchisees are committed to providing a work environment that is free from discrimination and take such allegations very seriously. In keeping with this commitment, Keller Williams and its franchisees prohibit harassment in all forms.”
Here is Davis’s statement to Inman in its entirety:
Statement of John Davis
April 2, 2022
It is fitting that Inman’s click-bait operation wrote a hit piece targeting me on April Fool’s Day. Inman was made the fool to do the dirty work for Inga Dow and her bottom-feeding lawyers in their ongoing civil suit against Keller Williams.
If you are as interested in reading the falsity Inman and Inga have to put out, you should be as interested in reading the truth about what I have to say and what I will stand by ‘til my last days on this earth:
The fact are that Inga, who is more than a decade my senior, and I dated for several years as I began my real estate career. She never made claims against me when we dated—or in the many years since then—and only brought these claims against me now when she couldn’t work out the business deal she wanted with Keller Williams. As Keller Williams continued to play hard ball in negotiations, she became more desperate to sell, dragged me into a lawsuit—despite the fact I retired from Keller William more than three years ago—and concocted a false story about our relationship in a public court filing. Think about the type of people willing to do such things because they are unable to close a simple business transaction.
Of course, the Inman reporter knew I denied all the salacious claims against me and did nothing other than to cut-and-paste the sad allegations Inga’s lawyer put in their suit. Ask yourself this: If you find yourself in a civil suit where opposition lawyers are glad to put any false claim in the suit against you and then pitch it off to a click-bait seeking reporter, could you be next? They can’t win their case in Court, so they throw it into the court of public opinion. It’s no wonder lawyers and reporters are held to such low regard—in this situation they rightfully earn their reputations.
April Fool’s Day was the day the fools spread their lies. April 2 is the day the truth starts to stand on its own.
I look forward to the day the Court hears this case in a full and public forum. I am confident in the wisdom of the Court to see the truth. And, I have hope today, the day the court of public opinion stands with me and how I have always tried to live my life, as a man who has faith in the fellow man and woman and strives to live up to these values every day.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with additional comments from Keller Williams sent to Inman Monday evening.
Email Andrea V. Brambila.