Baker, Ahles & Kaskovich

Arlington woman seeks receiver to collect big ‘Fifty Shades’ judgment

Attorneys for the Arlington woman who won an $11.5 million judgment in the Fifty Shades of Grey case are taking steps to possibly seize assets.
Attorneys for the Arlington woman who won an $11.5 million judgment in the Fifty Shades of Grey case are taking steps to possibly seize assets. AP

The Fifty Shades of Grey case is far from being put to bed.

That’s what State District Judge Susan McCoy had hoped when she signed an $11.5 million judgment for an Arlington woman involved in first publishing the smutty bestseller.

But the fight over how Jennifer Pedroza is going to actually collect that money — if at all — from Amanda Hayward, her former Australian business associate, is just beginning.

Just to remind you, Pedroza and Hayward and some other women were involved in the Writer’s Coffee Shop, an online blog that eventually morphed into the publishing house that initially printed the soft-core porn novel. Eventually, Random House stepped in and the book made more than $40 million for the group. Pedroza said Hayward cheated her out of her part of the royalties, and a jury agreed.

Now Pedroza’s attorneys want McCoy to appoint a receiver to help them take possession of cash and property to satisfy the judgment even before an expected appeal is filed.

Among the items they want: Hayward’s home and three other houses, a hair salon, a sports academy and another commercial property, all of them bought with royalties. There are also bank accounts which hold more than $7 million in cash from the Fifty Shades saga.

Since most of the assets are in Australia, Michael Farris, Pedroza’s attorney, says going to the sheriff or a constable, like you might in a typical collection case, is not going to do her much good.

“I don’t think he is going to do anything because he has to comply with Australian law,” Farris said. The latest court filing “might be deemed as a little bit aggressive,” he said, “but it is a procedure that is available.”

He also is seeking an injunction to keep Hayward and her associates from liquidating the assets. “There is a very real risk that Hayward will act to conceal or transfer assets to avoid having to satisfy the judgment,” court records state.

Some might wonder if Farris is trying to push for a settlement to avoid all this.

Fort Worth attorney David Keltner, a former appeals court judge, is itching to challenge the idea that a legal partnership existed between the women. He wouldn’t comment on the receivership request. Farris has asked the court to rule at a hearing later this month.

“We are looking forward to the appeal and hope that there aren’t roadblocks to getting to that stage,” was all Keltner would say.

New CEO named for Realtor group

Robert Gleason has been named chief executive officer of the 3,000-member Greater Fort Worth Association of Realtors.

Gleason, a Fort Worth native, will replace retiring CEO Sheridan Matina on April 1.

Gleason has served as the association’s governmental affairs director since 2005, leading legislative efforts at the local, state and national level.

Gleason holds a BBA in finance from the University of Texas at Austin and an MA in political science from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Matina has headed the organization since 1997 and is its longest-serving CEO. She is retiring after 42 years in the real estate industry. She was recently honored with a Legacy Award by the Texas Association of Realtors.

More beer, less waste

The MillerCoors brewery in Fort Worth turns out a lot of beer, but it no longer is turning out a lot of trash.

At an event last week, company executives announced that the Fort Worth brewery is now a landfill-free site, meaning that all of the waste it generates is either recycled, reused or sent to a waste-to-energy facility.

It becomes the last of the company’s eight U.S. breweries to reach the sustainability milestone. The Fort Worth brrewery, which employs 545 workers, has eliminated 28 tons of waste previously sent to the landfill each month, and reduced its waste by 66 percent in 2015.

Kim Marotta, director of sustainability at MillerCoors, said in a statement that in addition to reducing waste, the brewing company “will also remain focused on our other sustainability priorities, including preventing drunk driving, further decreasing our water use, lowering our carbon emissions, and making greater investment in our people and our communities.”

And, of course, making beer. Last year, the Fort Worth brewery, located off I-35W south of I-20, turned out 8.6 million barrels.

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @Sky_Talk

Max B. Baker: 817-390-7714, @MaxbakerBB

Steve Kaskovich: 817-390-7773, @stevekasko