Assault, reckless driving charges against former CEO Dan Price dropped
Apr 19, 2023, 1:36 PM | Updated: 5:04 pm
(Photo by Mat Hayward/FilmMagic)
Charges have been dropped against Gravity Payments’ CEO Dan Price, a Seattle entrepreneur made famous for how much he paid his employees, as further investigations “yielded even more egregious inconsistencies and contradictions,” according to Seattle Municipal Court records in a report from The Seattle Times.
Gravity Payments co-founder Dan Price was accused of attempting to forcibly kiss a woman and grabbing her throat — two counts of fourth-degree assault — alongside an additional charge of reckless driving.
Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price resigns as he faces assault, reckless driving charges
Seattle police records stated Price had agreed to meet a woman at a downtown restaurant Jan. 20 of last year. While the victim was hailing an Uber, Price was said to have offered to let her wait for a ride in his own vehicle, despite allegedly becoming intoxicated at the restaurant.
At that time, Price reportedly made a sexual advance, at which point “she pushed him away and then he grabbed her throat,” the police report read.
The police report stated he then drove off with the woman still in the car, arriving at a parking lot where Price began “doing donuts.”
Price then allegedly “tried kissing her again … after she pushed him away the second time, he grabbed her throat again and was pulsing his hand for minutes.” The situation de-escalated, at which point a friend assisted the woman and left.
After pleading not guilty in May 2022 to the misdemeanor charges of assault and reckless driving, he resigned as CEO of Gravity Payments three months later.
“[My] presence has become a distraction at the company,” Price wrote in his published resignation. “I also need to step aside from these duties to focus full-time on fighting false accusations made against me. I’m not going anywhere.”
Price’s defense attorney Mark Middaugh claimed that police recommended criminal charges without ever speaking to his client, according to The Seattle Times. Soon after, Middaugh said he delivered witness statements and other evidence contradicting the claims.
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Price is also being investigated for “felony rape of a drugged victim” charges stemming from a Palm Springs incident in April 2021, according to a Palm Springs Police Department report. That case has been referred to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, a spokesperson for the Palm Springs Police Department told MyNorthwest, as of August of last year.
Middaugh has declined to comment on the rape investigation.
In 2015, Price stunned his staff of more than 100 employees when he told them he was cutting his approximate $1 million salary to just $70,000, using the savings to create a base pay of $70,000 for employees by 2018. The average annual salary at Gravity Payments — a credit card processing and financial services company founded in 2004 — before Price’s decision was $48,000, according to CBS News.