The feuding owners of Billy Bob’s Texas were back in court on Monday after a tumultuous week of wrangling over who is managing the world’s largest honky-tonk.
The two camps of owners were in court for a hearing on a request by Concho Minick and his allies for an emergency order that would keep him in place as president during the appeals process.
Attorneys for Minick and his allies, including Dallas Mavericks General Manager Donnie Nelson and a company owned by the family of former Fort Worth City Councilman Steve Murrin, pressed for a ruling to restore order after a raucous week that included changing the locks on Concho Minick’s office at Billy Bob’s and barring his remote access to Billy Bob’s financial software system, he testified on Monday.
Concho Minick’s attorneys predicted the potential for chaos after State District Judge Mike Wallach decided Aug. 8 against granting an injunction that would have kept him in place as president throughout the legal proceedings and dissolving an earlier restraining order barring his removal.
But the judge’s ruling sidestepped the validity of the company operating agreement that led to the division among the owners and prompted Concho Minick and his allies to file the lawsuit in May.
The company agreement stipulates that major decisions such as terminating the president require unanimous agreement among the owners. As a result, the majority group of owners, led by Brad Hickman and his family, who own 40 percent of Billy Bob’s, were unable to remove Concho Minick because the minority group, including the Murrin family and Nelson, would not go along with that plan.
The group of majority owners viewed Wallach’s ruling as a green light for them to move forward with plans to terminate Concho Minick.
Concho Minick testified on Monday that a group of people, including his father, Billy Minick, the former CEO of Billy Bob’s; Billy Minick’s wife, Pam, the former vice president of marketing; Marty Travis, the former general manager; and several other people showed up at his office mid-afternoon on Aug. 9 and told him he was terminated.
“I asked them what authority they had,” Concho Minick testified. The group claimed the judge’s ruling against an injunction gave them the authority, he testified.
“I expressed they don’t have the authority to remove me,” he testified. “They told me to gather my things and leave the building.”
Concho Minick said he complied to avoid a conflict. He also testified that he was given no reason for the termination or any document pertaining to the cause.
Two days later, he testified that he returned to the club with Nelson, Steve Murrin and his sons, Philip Murrin, and Steve Murrin III. It was then that he discovered that the locks to his office were changed and he was barred from the electronic financial network, he testified.
Concho Minick also testified that he learned of a meeting of governing members set for Tuesday (Aug. 15) that included among its agenda items the election of officers.
Both Concho Minick and Pam Minick, the only other witness at Monday’s hearing, described contradictory communication with employees about who was in charge.
“On Aug. 9, we went to the club because the (temporary restraining order) was lifted and we resumed duties we had begun in May” before the temporary was put in place,” Pam Minick testified.
Pam Minick testified that the locks were changed by Billy Bob’s landlord for “security reasons.”
She also testified that she gladly resumed her duties and her husband, Billy Minick, the estranged father of Concho Minick, resumed his as interested owners who want to help the club.
Concho Minick’s attorneys have filed a request for an expedited hearing with the 2nd Court of Appeals in Fort Worth.
The emergency order is important because of the events that occurred last week due to the absence of a ruling on the company agreement, his attorneys argued.
“This relief is particularly prudent and necessary because the court has not yet determined who should manage and govern BBT and will not likely be in a position to do so for at least another month or two,” according to court documents from Concho Minick’s attorneys. While the appeal is in progress, “the question of who can legally manage and govern BBT, and by what authority will remain in question and will create chaos at BBT.”
Marshall Searcy, attorney for the majority owners, applauded Wallach’s Aug. 8 ruling.
“We are gratified by the court’s ruling and hopeful that it will lead to an amicable and equitable resolution of this matter….which should have never been in court to begin with,” Searcy said.
Searcy argued against a temporary emergency order because Wallach already settled that matter by dissolving the temporary restraining order, which would produce the same result of maintaining the status quo with Concho Minick as president.
Wallach’s Aug. 8 ruling came after nearly five days of mediation that failed to produce agreement on how to resolve the Concho Minick employment dispute or the validity of the company agreement requiring unanimous consent for the termination.
Mediation was a last-ditch effort to resolve the issues that were raised in court documents and testimony during a three-day hearing last month.