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Tarek El Moussa and Christina Hall have built an impressive empire from their HGTV shows, but an alleged former employee once filed a lawsuit against the Flip or Flop stars. Here’s why Tarek and Christina were sued for over $37,000, and how the HGTV network reacted to the allegations.

"Flip or Flop" stars Tarek El Moussa and Christina Hall smile and pose together at an event.
Tarek El Moussa and Christina Hall | Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

An alleged former employee filed a lawsuit against ‘Flip or Flop’ stars Tarek El Moussa and Christina Hall

In 2017, a North Carolina man who claimed to be a former employee of Tarek El Moussa and Christina Hall sued the Flip or Flop stars for $37,800 in unpaid wages. The plaintiff, Jonathan Schmier, claimed that the HGTV stars hired him to help find homes to expand their house-flipping business, but refused to pay him for his services.

According to court documents, Schmier claimed he worked for the couple’s company, Next Level Property Investments, from March 2016 to October 2016 (per E! News). He said the HGTV stars planned to film renovations of North Carolina homes he found for them for Flip or Flop.

The alleged former employee claimed he worked 1,280 hours for Tarek and Christina, and he was promised a commission of $5,000 per home. He demanded back wages of $12,800 and commissions totaling $25,000.

“It’s an absurd claim, and has no merit,” a source told E! News. “Tarek and Christina have never met him. They’ve never even done a house in the Carolinas. They’ve only done houses in California.”

HGTV defended Tarek El Moussa and Christina Hall, and asked the judge to dismiss the lawsuit

Tarek and Christina’s HGTV network defended them against Jonathan Schmier’s lawsuit. According to In Touch, Scripps Network and HGTV asked the judge to dismiss the case “because the requirements of diversity jurisdiction are not met and no other grounds for federal jurisdiction are apparent.” They also claimed the lawsuit, which was full of misspelled words and grammatical errors, lacked “subject matter.”

But Schmier explained why the Flip or Flop stars said he never met them. He claimed to have reached out to their operating manager, Pete DeBest, in January 2016 and was offered a “50/50” partnership deal. However, he was notified that he was “never an employee” in October 2016, after he had already done extensive work for the couple. Schmier said he tried to resolve the issue with DeBest and the El Moussas, but they “blocked [his] e-mail address and face book [sic] pages and phone numbers in an attempt to avoid paying [him].”

Schmier also insisted on having his case heard when HGTV requested a dismissal. “Just because a case is filed in the wrong court a Plaintiff is still entitled to have his/her case heard and not just have a case Dismissed with Prejudice because they Pro-se Plaintiff failed to file the case in the proper court unaware of the Subject matter law/requirement [sic],” he stated in court documents.


Tarek El Moussa Says He Couldn’t Have ‘Survived’ Some ‘Rough’ Years Without His and Christina Hall’s Daughter

The ‘Flip or Flop’ stars were going through a divorce when they were sued

Tarek El Moussa and Christina Hall were going through a divorce when Jonathan Schmier filed a lawsuit against them.  

The former couple married in 2009 and had two children together, a daughter named Taylor and a son named Brayden. In 2013, they launched their HGTV show Flip or Flop

Tarek and Christina separated in 2016 and filed for divorce in 2017. They continued working together on the show throughout the split, and their divorce was finalized in 2018. Flip or Flop ended after 10 seasons in 2022.