Dallas Mavericks General Manager Donnie Nelson wants to join the lawsuit that has pitted the owners of Billy Bob’s Texas against one another over its management and fate.
Nelson bought an ownership share of about 10 percent in 2013 with the understanding that major decisions would require unanimous approval from the 12 owners.
In court documents filed this week, Nelson indicated that he was disturbed to learn from testimony that the provision in the company’s operating agreement regarding unanimous consent might be invalid.
Nelson also was not aware that some owners no longer intended to honor the company agreement and instead would only abide by Billy Bob’s certificate of formation that gives unspecified authority to a governing board, according to documents.
“I’ve really tried to stay neutral but my conscience can no longer sit on the sides while false accusations and a blatant smear campaign are unleashed on my co-owners by others with an agenda that doesn’t prioritize Billy Bob’s best interests,” Nelson said in a statement.
Nelson is aligned with a group of minority owners who support Billy Bob’s President Concho Minick, whose continued employment in that role is central to the feud among the owners who have divided into two factions. Minick’s other ally is a company owned by former Fort Worth Councilman Steve Murrin and his family. According to news reports, Nelson would be interested in purchasing the club from the other investors if the current owners cannot agree on the future of the club.
The majority owners want to oust Concho Minick and establish a majority rule operating arrangement. This group is led by Brad Hickman and his family, who own a 40 percent share of Billy Bob’s and their allies, including Concho Minick’s father, Billy Minick.
“Right now, Billy Bob’s is well-run and highly profitable,” Nelson stated. “Much of this credit goes to Concho Minick.
“As the lawsuit has progressed, I’ve seen more and more that some of my co-owners intend to completely disregard the company agreement and the way Billy Bob’s is supposed to be managed and governed under that agreement,” he said.
Witnesses testified during a three-day hearing last month that Hickman’s acrimony toward Concho Minick is connected to the Stockyards redevelopment plan being undertaken by Hickman and California developer Majestic Realty.
Hickman testified that he was “infuriated” that Concho Minick spoke out against the $175 million plan that would bring more shops, restaurants and residences to the Stockyards.
Concho Minick testified that he was speaking on his own behalf and not as president of Billy Bob’s. He also testified that he supported development as long as it was done responsibly.
Hickman testified that he considered Concho Minick a public figure as president of Billy Bob’s and that his decision to speak out against the development plan that 65 percent of Billy Bob’s owners support was inappropriate.
“This falls under my assessment of very poor judgment,” Hickman said on the witness stand.
Tense relations reached a boiling point this spring as Hickman tried to have Concho Minick demoted and re-assigned, Concho Minick testified. Majority owners went as far as changing locks and installing spyware on company computers, he testified.
The majority owners were blocked from firing Concho Minick by the company agreement, which required unanimous approval from all owners on major decisions. Minority owners charge that attempts by opponents to bypass the rules of the company agreement to fire Concho Minick led to the lawsuit and a deadlock among the divided owners on how to move forward.
Minority owners claim their rights as owners dissolve if the company agreement is not enforced.
“This is not a dictatorship,” Nelson said. “You cannot make your business partners disappear just because they have questions about your development plans. That’s no way to build support and consensus behind any Stockyards redevelopment.”
The owners will attempt another round of mediation on Friday. State District Judge Mike Wallach extended a temporary order keeping Concho Minick as president until Aug. 7. A ruling is expected by then.