A judge’s ruling on Aug. 8 may not fully mend the feud among owners of Billy Bob’s Texas but it opens the door for the dismissal of the president of the iconic Stockyards nightclub.
State District Judge Mike Wallach declined to grant an injunction that would bring in a receiver and dissolved an order that has kept Concho Minick in place as president during the legal proceedings.
The ruling left some issues unresolved, according to attorneys for both sides of the dispute that put the continued employment of Concho Minick at the heart of the debate over the future direction of the world’s largest honky-tonk.
“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,” said Marshall Searcy, attorney for the majority group of owners that includes Brad Hickman and his family, who own the largest share of the club at 40 percent.
Attorneys for Concho Minick and his allies, Dallas Mavericks General Manager Donnie Nelson and a business owned by the family of former Fort Worth City Councilman Steve Murrin, said the ruling sets up the potential for “chaos” in the operation of Billy Bob’s. The attorneys have filed a notice of appeal to the 2nd Court of Appeals in Fort Worth along with an emergency motion to maintain the status quo with Concho Minick as president while the appeal is pending.
The attorneys have asked for an expedited appeal. A hearing on the appeal is set for Aug. 14.
Mark Torian, an attorney for the minority owners, said the most troubling issue in the ruling is that the judge made no mention of a dispute over the company agreement, which requires unanimous consent on major decisions such as hiring and firing a top manager.
“While the court did not grant the temporary injunction, it also did not determine that the company agreement is invalid,” Torian said. Nor did the judge decide how the club will be governed, he said.
Searcy said it is possible there could be future hearings but the ruling also sets up a scenario for majority-rule decision-making.
Concho Minick and the other minority owners claimed in court documents and testimony during a three-day hearing last month that a majority-rule scenario would deprive them of their ownership rights in important decisions. They said the unanimous-consent rule in the company agreement was the only way to ensure fairness for all owners.
The ruling came after nearly five days of mediation that failed to produce an agreement between the two sides on the key issues in the case.
Both sides have stood by a commitment to keep Billy Bob’s running and not to sell the club, which has been a Stockyards landmark since it opened in 1981.
Tense relations reached a boiling point this spring when, Concho Minick testified, Hickman tried to have him demoted and reassigned as a result of a series of grievances regarding his work performance. Those grievances involved issues related to Minick’s communication with owners and financial matters, including decisions about his performance bonus, according to testimony.
Minority owners filed the lawsuit after attempts to fire Concho Minick or force him to resign failed. The bad blood among the embittered owners has led to acrimony among the parties.
Hickman also testified that Concho Minick’s father, Billy Minick, and Billy Minick’s wife Pam, along with former General Manager Marty Travis, have agreed to run the club in the interim if the judge allowed Concho Minick to be fired.
An earlier version of the story had the incorrect date of the hearing on the appeal.