Jerry Jeff Walker still has it
The beer will continue to flow at Billy Bob’s Texas after a state district judge on Tuesday extended a court order allowing the current management to keep running the world’s largest honky-tonk.
State District Judge Michael Wallach extended until July 21 a temporary restraining order that allows Concho Minick to remain as manager of the massive entertainment venue in the Stockyards, despite efforts by a group of majority owners to remove him last month.
Wallach delayed making any other rulings in the dispute until next week. Out of a sense of fairness, the judge said he wants to give attorneys representing the majority owners more time to respond to a lengthy pleading filed by Minick’s lawyers shortly after midnight Monday.
“We’re disappointed. We were prepared to go forward,” said Mark Torian, the attorney representing Minick and other minority owners, including the prominent Murrin family. He said many of the arguments made in its most recent filing were well known and described opposing counsel’s continuance request a “dilatory act.”
Calling Torian’s 44-page brief and voluminous exhibits a “Saturday Night Special,” Marshall Searcy, who represents the majority owners, said the issues involved are too important not to have time to study the last-minute filing. Minick’s attorneys have asked the judge to appoint a receiver who could decide to put the bar up for sale.
“It was an unfair surprise,” Searcy said.
Minick filed his lawsuit last month after a majority of the owners tried to fire him after they disagreed with his plans for running the 127,000-square-foot bar and concert hall. Among those seeking to terminate him are his father, Billy Minick, and Brad Hickman, whose family is a major force behind a redevelopment underway in the Stockyards.
Concho Minick says that the club has experienced “explosive growth” in revenue since he grabbed the reins of Billy Bob’s in 2011. The younger Minick said he is being punished for speaking out against Hickman’s plans for the Stockyards.
Concho Minick’s legal team has asked the court, among other things, to allow him to run Billy Bob’s until a receiver can take over and hopefully break a deadlock that exists among the owners. If the receiver finds that impossible to do, Concho Minick and the Murrins — who own about 25 percent of the business — want Billy Bob’s put up for sale.
From all appearances Tuesday, it is not likely the opposing sides will ride off into the sunset together anytime soon. Concho Minick ignored his father and stepmother, Pam Minick, in the courthouse lobby before the hearing. In the courtroom, his parents sat in the back row while he stared straight ahead.
The war of words has escalated in recent court filings, with Searcy describing Concho Minick and the Murrins as a “mercenary minority” involved in a “grim power play” to take over Billy Bob’s in hopes of driving it “to the receiver’s harsh auctioning block.”
Searcy will argue next week that the judge shouldn’t be involved in the dispute at all. According to a company operating agreement, such a lawsuit would have to be approved by a unanimous vote of the governing board.
If the judge ultimately agrees at a hearing July 7, the minority owners’ position ” quickly “evaporates,” Searcy said.
A hearing on the late filing by Concho Minick’s attorneys is scheduled for July 21, when a request for a temporary injunction to continue the status quo operation of Billy Bob’s will be heard.