Donnie Nelson talks to reporters after testifying in the Billy Bob's Texas case on July 24, 2017. Nelson, who owns slightly less than 10 percent of Billy Bob’s, has previously complained that the bar is a “pawn” in the bigger fight over redevelopment in the Stockyards area of Fort Worth. Max Baker maxbaker@star-telegram.com
Donnie Nelson talks to reporters after testifying in the Billy Bob's Texas case on July 24, 2017. Nelson, who owns slightly less than 10 percent of Billy Bob’s, has previously complained that the bar is a “pawn” in the bigger fight over redevelopment in the Stockyards area of Fort Worth. Max Baker maxbaker@star-telegram.com

Business

Brawl continues over who’s the top hand at Billy Bob’s Texas

August 13, 2017 02:30 PM

UPDATED August 13, 2017 03:51 PM

FORT WORTH

The barroom brawl over who is the top wrangler at Billy Bob’s Texas continues.

After a court decision last week left open some legal issues including if Concho Minick can be dismissed as manager, Billy and Pam Minick, his father and step-mother, declared they were back in the saddle again at the massive bar and concert hall they ran for years, with the blessing of its majority owners.

“It is heartbreaking on many levels, but it (the club) is part of our lives,” Pam Minick said early Friday about the legal battle over the Stockyards landmark. “I was here for 24 years. Now I’m back.”

But by the Friday night, Concho Minick returned and declared himself to be the top hand, continuing a bitter squabble between old friends, business partners and family members about who is in charge at the world’s largest honky-tonk.

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“I haven’t been presented with a single document of why I’m terminated. Nothing,” Concho Minick said early Saturday evening. He was joined in his Billy Bob’s office by other minority owners who support him, including Dallas Mavericks President Donnie Nelson and members of the Murrin family.

Last week, state District Judge Michael Wallach declined to issue a temporary injunction that would have prevented the younger Minick, who also is an investor in the club, from being removed. Minick sued the majority ownership in May alleging he was improperly dismissed without the unanimous approval of the bar’s owners, as stipulated in a company agreement. Concho Minick was joined in his lawsuit by the Murrin family, which owns about 22 percent of Billy Bob’s.

The younger Minick also disputed claims that he was fired for mismanaging the club, contending instead that he was shown the door because he raised concerns about a $175 million redevelopment of the Stockyards being led by Brad Hickman, whose family owns about 40 percent of Billy Bob’s Texas.

I thought about taking them all on Chuck Norris-style but I passed. I grabbed my briefcase and calmly walked out.

Concho Minick, on being escorted out of Billy Bob’s

Immediately after Wallach’s ruling, Hickman’s attorney Marshall Searcy said that there would be changes at Billy Bob’s. On Saturday, Searcy said it is his client’s position is that Concho Minick has been fired and that a new vote by the owners is not required. But he added that they won’t force that decision by having Concho removed from the building.

“It appears they want to create chaos, which I find to be distasteful,” Searcy said.

Chaos theory

Chaos is what Concho Minick’s attorneys predicted after Wallach’s ruling on Tuesday, saying it didn’t resolve the dispute. The owners arguing over how the company should be run: either through a company agreement that requires a unanimous vote from its members for decisions or a smaller governing board.

Concho Minick’s attorneys have filed an expedited appeal with the Second Court of Appeals, and will be back in court Monday to ask the judge to maintain the status quo until they get a ruling from the higher court.

“...While Plaintiffs pursue an expedited interlocutory appeal, the question of who can legally manage and govern BBT (Billy Bob’s Texas), and by what authority ... will remain in question and will create chaos at BBT. Plaintiffs maintain that this chaos and uncertainty, as opposed to the status quo, will irreparably harm them and BBT,” according to court documents.

Philip Murrin and Concho Minick at Billy Bob's Texas on Wednesday, July 19, 2017. Investors in the company, they sued after it tried to fire Minick as manager.
Joyce Marshall jlmarshall@star-telegram

Showing that the company is not in a state of disorder is exactly what Pam Minick and her husband tried to do when the arrived at Billy Bob’s on Wednesday afternoon. They brought with them Marty Travis, a previous manager fired by Concho Minick. Otherwise, they were working with the management team her stepson had hired.

“I can assure you there is no chaos. They are a well-oiled machine and they are passionate about Billy Bob’s Texas,” Pam Minick said. “We had people come in on their days off just to say hello with tears in their eyes, and that is a very good feeling, in a way.”

She described herself as “heartbroken” over the feud. It was Billy and Pam Minick who convinced the owners to hire Concho Minick in 2011 to run the larger-than-life honky-tonk. But things got so bad that Billy Minick, also an investor, eventually signed a letter to fire his son. “It saddens me even more because Billy and I feel even more responsible ...”

Pam Minick even posed for a photograph with a number of employees around the mechanical bull to celebrate her return.

Beyond working to repair relationships within Billy Bob’s, Pam Minick said she would be reaching out to the Stockyards community, something she said has been lacking in recent years. She said there has to be a cohesiveness in operations with their neighbors, the kind of partnerships you see in Sundance Square and along West 7th Street.

This Texas-size honky-tonk is a Fort Worth treasure in the Stockyards

Billy Bob's Texas wears its "World Largest" claim like a favorite pair of cowboy boots.

Healing process

Concho Minick said he was confronted by his father, stepmother and others on Wednesday afternoon. He had waited in his office with Nelson and the Murrins for five hours Wednesday, expecting something to happen after Wallach’s ruling. But he wasn’t escorted out of the building until his cavalry had saddled up and gone home.

“I don’t believe you have the authority to do this, but I’m not going to create a big issue here,” the younger Minick said he told the group that came to remove him. “I didn’t throw any punches or anything… I thought about taking them all on Chuck Norris-style but I passed. I grabbed my briefcase and calmly walked out.”

The majority ownership had already called the bank and had cut him out of the IT and accounting systems, similar to when they fired him in May, Concho Minick said.

He would return about 48 hours later after Wallach’s letter to the attorneys regarding his ruling convinced the minority owners that Concho Minick still had a right to be at the reins, at least while the his initial decision is under appeal.

Concho Minick said they gathered up the employees to tell them he was back and to acknowledge that it must be confusing for them, but that they had to “start the healing process and do our best.” He said Pam Minick and others briefly stayed, with the last of their party leaving later that evening.

But the younger Minick also told them that the fight was far from over.

“I am never, never, never going to quit fighting for Billy Bob’s ... We’re not going to quit. We’re right,” Concho Minick said he told employees.

On Saturday night the beer continued to flow, and the boots kept on scootin’.

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