As Gravity Payments’ lawsuit saga wound to a close, CEO Dan Price had one more work surprise waiting for him — a brand new car.
A new Tesla to be specific, bought for him by Gravity employees.
Price and Gravity gained fame last year when the young CEO announced to much fanfare a plan to raise pay to $70,000 a year for all employees, after a phase-in period. Price said he would also make $70,000, dropping his salary from more than $1 million annually.
The news was quickly marred by the unearthing of a lawsuit, brought by brother and co-founder Lucas Price, that accused Dan of violating Lucas’ rights as a minority shareholder by paying himself too much and charging personal expenses to a corporate card. The lawsuit was served weeks before Dan Price said he came up with the minimum wage idea.
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The Prices are sons of Ron Price, a Nampa business consultant.
Price told the New York Times shortly after the announcement that he had listed his house on Airbnb to “make ends meet” as he adjusted to his new salary. Price’s home, which has a pool and three bedrooms, is still listed for $950 per night.
On Thursday, Price posted news of his new Tesla on Facebook, saying “Shocked. Still in disbelief. Never imagined this was possible. Gravity employees saved up and pitched in over the past six months and bought me my dream car.”
The post showed a photo of a poster signed by employees reading “Dan: Thank you for always putting the team before yourself.”
Gravity spokesman Ryan Pirkle said the gift was thought up and organized by Alyssa O’Neal, an employee who he said was one of the “most impacted” by the raise.
Fittingly, the starting price for a Tesla Model S is $70,000.
Pirkle said nearly every one of Gravity’s 135 employees contributed to the gift in some way.
Dan Price successfully contested the lawsuit after a three-week trial during which the brothers each presented evidence that attacked the other’s credibility. A judge ruled July 8 that Dan Price had not breached the contract in question, a 2008 document signed by the brothers that laid out the ownership structure and responsibilities of the company’s shareholders.