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CEO who took pay cut so workers could earn $70,000 quits amid sex abuse allegations

Dan Price, CEO of Gravity Payments. Global News

Dan Price, a CEO who rose to fame after he announced he was taking a drastic pay cut so that his employees could all make a livable salary, announced his resignation on Wednesday — a day before an exposé was published that investigated Price for allegations of sexual abuse.

The Seattle-based CEO of credit card processing company Gravity Payments made headlines in 2015 after he decided to cut his US$1-million salary to $70,000 so that his 100-plus employees could eventually make the same. Using company profits, he promised that all his staff would earn at least that much within three years.

Gravity Payment now pays employees a minimum of $80,000 per year.

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But 18 years after he founded the company, Price, 38, decided to resign.

“My No. 1 priority is for our employees to work for the best company in the world, but my presence has become a distraction here,” he announced on Twitter.

“I also need to step aside from these duties to focus full time on fighting false accusations made against me,” he wrote. “I’m not going anywhere.”

On Thursday, the New York Times published an investigation into Price and spoke with more than a dozen women who accused the embattled CEO of “predatory” encounters. The article alleges that Price used his substantial social media followings to lure women.

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Kacie Margis got a message from Price one day after liking one of his Instagram accounts. The two eventually started dating but after three months, Margis accused him of raping her, according to the Times. Other women accused Price of having sex with them while they were sleeping.

Price told the New York Times that he “never physically or sexually abused anyone” and that “the other accusations of inappropriate behaviour towards women in this story are simply false.”

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Price is also accused of abusing his ex-wife Kristie Colon. In October 2015, Colon gave a TEDx talk and spoke about being beaten and waterboarded by an ex, without naming Price. Bloomberg reported on the incident and Price told the outlet that the events “never happened.”

Earlier this year, Seattle prosecutors charged Price with reckless driving and misdemeanour assault against a woman. Prosecutors say Price tried to forcibly kiss a woman. He pleaded not guilty in May; the case remains ongoing.

Price has also run into other legal trouble. His brother Lucas sued him in 2015, alleging that he was overpaying himself. A King County judge ruled that Dan had not violated Lucas’s rights as a minority shareholder.

Chief operating officer Tammi Kroll will take over as CEO.

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— with files from The Associated Press

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