Dan Price Says Reports He Abused His Ex-Wife Are False
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Dan Price, the Gravity Payments CEO who has become a national symbol of corporate good after raising his employee pay this year, is denying claims in a Bloomberg Businessweek story that he physically abused his ex-wife while they were married.
In a TEDx talk scheduled to be posted next week, Kristie Colón, a San Francisco-based biotech executive and blogger, claims she was the victim of numerous abuses suffered at Price’s hand during their seven-year marriage, according to a report in Bloomberg.
During the TEDx presentation, the Bloomberg report says Colón read from her diary about how her then-husband “threw me to the ground and got on top of me. He started punching me in the stomach and slapped me across the face. I was shaking so bad,” (TEDx has not yet responded to a request to make the full video public early.)
Colón does not mention Price by name, according to Bloomberg, but she has only ever been married once. “Kristie was married at 20, divorced at 27, and lived through a relationship that was abusive in every sense of the word,” according to the description of her talk on the TEDx website.
Later in the talk, according to Bloomberg, Colón recounts locking herself in the car because she is “afraid he was going to body-slam me into the ground again or waterboard me in our upstairs bathroom like he had done before.”
Colón is the marketing director at San Francisco skin care firm Skincential Sciences and the creator of a blog called Kristie Was Here “about dating, death, divorce, suicide, vulnerability, family, and friends.”
In an interview with Entrepreneur, Price said he was “shocked at the allegations from Bloomberg Businessweek and I don’t have any evidence that there are actual allegations, but the information that Bloomberg Businessweek claimed to have relayed to me is completely false.”
Initially, Price declined to deny the allegations to Bloomberg, according to its report. “I’m just going to take a second because this is very surprising to me,” Price is quoted as saying. “I appreciate and respect my former wife, and she played a very positive role in my life. Out of respect for her, I wouldn’t feel comfortable responding to a supposed allegation she may have said coming from a Bloomberg Businessweek reporter when I have absolutely zero evidence of an allegation being made.”
Then, three hours later, according to Bloomberg, he emailed a new statement: “The events that you described never happened.”
Price, who was Entrepreneur’s Entrepreneur of 2014, is no stranger to controversy, given his decision to establish a minimum salary of $70,000 for employees and lower his own pay to that level, from $1 million. That move has been both widely celebrated but also opened him up to controversy and backlash. He is in the middle of a lawsuit with his own brother over profits from Gravity, as well.
But the details of domestic abuse Price has been forced to address raise the tone of the criticism. If proven true, they are a career-killer for business leaders. Last year, tech company RadiumOne fired its CEO and founder, Gurbaksh Chahal, after he pled guilty to assault. Chahal had been facing 45 felony counts related to charges he assaulted his girlfriend 117 times in a 30-minute period. In the end, the guilty pleas were for misdemeanors for battery and domestic-violence battery. He was sentenced to three years probation, a year's attendance in a domestic-violence program and 25 hours of community service.
We haven't determined yet if Colón, who did not respond to request for comment, ever filed a police report over the abuse claims. We are looking into the matter.