SEATTLE (AP) — A Seattle CEO who gained national attention for raising employees’ salaries and slashing his own is facing misdemeanor assault charges stemming from allegations that he tried to forcibly kiss a woman, according to court records.
Dan Price, of credit-card processor Gravity Payments, was charged in February with fourth-degree assault with sexual motivation, fourth-degree assault and reckless driving, The Seattle Times reported.
Price, 37, has yet to be arraigned on the charges, which were filed in Seattle Municipal Court by the city attorney’s office.
Charging documents say a woman called Seattle police on Jan. 24 and said she had met Price at a restaurant in the Capitol Hill neighborhood four days earlier. She said the two had communicated on Instagram about work and that she had reached out to him about meeting to discuss “professional matters,” according to charging papers.
Instead, Seattle prosecutors say Price cornered the woman in his Tesla after a dinner meeting, tried to kiss her and grabbed her throat when she refused. Price then drove her to a parking lot and drove “doughnuts” with her in the car, prosecutors said.
Price’s defense attorney, Mark Middaugh, said in an email to the newspaper Wednesday that the allegations are “absolutely false.”
“We have already obtained evidence that contradicts key details of the police report and raises serious doubts about the complainant’s credibility. Mr. Price respects the legal process and is confident that he will be vindicated in court,” Middaugh said.
Price shot into the national spotlight in 2015 when he said he would raise employee salaries to $70,000. At that time, his 120 employees were paid an average salary of $48,000 a year.
Price cut his own salary from nearly $1 million to $70,000, cementing a name for himself in the business world as a progressive CEO fighting for higher wages and better conditions for the average worker.