Dan Price, CEO known for giving raises, quits after rape investigation

Dan Price, who gained quasi-stardom after raising his employees’ salaries to at least $70,000 while cutting his own pay, has resigned as chief executive of Seattle-based Gravity Payments after a rape allegation in Palm Springs recently came to light.

Price, who founded the company that processes credit card payments, announced his resignation on Twitter last week.

The 38-year-old is accused of raping a woman in Palm Springs in April 2021, the second public allegation against him of violence against women in recent years. According to an investigation by the New York Times, the two incidents follow years of alleged predatory behavior and abuse by Price, including accusations from his ex-wife of domestic violence — while his prominence grew as he touted the revolutionizing of big business with progressive policies.

Investigators with the Palm Springs Police Department submitted the rape case for review to the Riverside County district attorney’s office last week, according to Lt. Gustavo Araiza. He declined to release any further details of the report, citing an active investigation. Araiza said an arrest warrant may be issued after prosecutors review the case.

John Hall, the spokesperson for the district attorney’s office, said the case “is currently under review and no filing decision has been made at this time.” He declined to provide a timeline for that decision.

According to the New York Times story, Palm Springs police recommended a charge of rape of a drugged victim after a woman reported that Price sexually assaulted her without her consent while she was asleep at a Palm Springs hotel.

Price did not immediately respond to a request for comment but called the allegations against him “false accusations,” in a statement on Twitter. In the same post, Price announced his resignation as CEO.

A request for comment from Gravity Payments was not immediately answered.

“My presence has become a distraction here. I also need to step aside from these duties to focus full time on fighting the false allegations against me,” Price posted on Twitter. “I’m not going anywhere.”

In February, Price was charged with fourth-degree assault with sexual motivation, fourth-degree assault and reckless driving in Seattle after a woman accused him of forcing unwanted kisses on her, then grabbing her by the throat when she refused, according to the Seattle Times. He recently pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor assault and reckless driving charges; prosecutors dropped the charge of assault with sexual motivation.

Price rose to quick fame in 2015 after deciding to raise his employees’ starting salary to $70,000 to address the huge income gap between him and his lowest-paid employees and provide a living wage. He was making $1 million a year at the time, he said, while the lowest earners at his company were averaging about $35,000. He took an almost 93% pay cut to make the raises for his employees happen — a move that went almost instantly viral.

Price became the subject of a media frenzy, featured in dozens of shows and articles, including on NBC’s “Today” show and NBC News and in the Los Angeles Times, for his goodwill and revolutionary pay structure. He was called a “crusader against income inequality” by Inc. Magazine and a “capitalist fairy tale” by Bloomberg.

Price has continued to tout his decision, calling it not only a morally right move but also good for business, citing lower turnover rates, the company’s growth and hundreds of eager job applicants for any open positions.

Price named Tammi Kroll, Gravity’s chief operating officer, the company’s new CEO.

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