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'My Presence Has Become A Distraction': Dan Price, CEO of $70,000 Minimum Wage Fame, Resigns From Gravity Payments Amid Legal Troubles

Dan Price made waves in 2015 when he announced he would phase in a $70,000 minimum wage for employees. Now, he's stepping down amid legal issues.

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Dan Price has stepped down as CEO of Gravity Payments amid ongoing legal issues. Known for his progressive policies, Price famously went viral in 2015 for phasing in a minimum wage of $70,000 for employees at the company.

Price announced his departure in a Tweet Wednesday, saying that his presence has "become a distraction" and he is leaving to focus on "fighting false accusations."

He added in the thread that the company's current minimum salary is $80,000.

Price will be replaced as CEO by executive Tammi Kroll.

What are the accusations against Dan Price?

In February, Price was charged with reckless driving and misdemeanor assault, according to The Seattle Times. A 26-year-old woman said Price had tried to kiss her in his Tesla after she had dinner with him and grabbed her throat, then drove donuts with her in the car, the outlet added, citing court documents.

Price pled not guilty in May, and his attorney, Mark Middaugh, told the paper in April that "Mr. Price respects the legal process and is confident that he will be vindicated in court."

Price's ex-wife, Kristie Colón, read what she said was a journal entry from May 2006 in a TEDx talk about how writing can help with trauma when she was married to Price. The now-deleted video talked about being physically assaulted and waterboarded by an unnamed ex, Bloomberg reported in 2015.

Price denied the story to Bloomberg, saying it "never happened." Colón spoke out later in a 2016 blog post.

His brother and co-founder, Lucas, also sued him in 2015 for improperly compensating himself, but a judge ruled that Lucas' shareholder rights were not violated, per CBS News.

A progressive advocate

According to a 2015 profile in Inc. Magazine, after talking to several employees and friends who were struggling financially, Price decided to make a change.

In 2015, he announced a three-year process to get every employee to a $70,000 minimum wage. He added he would cut his own salary of $1.1 million, to $70,000, to do it. The video of screams and cheers (and tears) from employees instantly went viral.

The story made waves far outside of the 120-person company. Harvard Business Review did a case study and political talking heads called him a socialist.

"Price had not only struck a nerve; he had also turbocharged a debate now raging across the American landscape, from presidential forums to barrooms to fast-food restaurants," Inc. wrote.

Critics said the move was unfair and alienated longer-term employees and customers.

Price is also active on Twitter, where he frequently criticizes businesses and CEOs.

Price made waves for embracing flexible work policies after the pandemic and asking his staff for voluntary salary cuts after the pandemic hit.

"Give power to your people, be honest and democratic. They will find solutions that you can't see," he told Entrepreneur in 2020.

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