Don Carter Sues Tom Hicks Over Millions Sunk Into Land Around Ballparks in Arlington, Frisco

Categories: Legal Battles
Doncarteratlovefield.jpg
Photo by Mike Mezeul
Don Carter at Love Field, upon the Mavs' triumphant return from Miami in June
Meanwhile, back at the courthouse, this just in: Don Carter, last seen receiving the Larry O'Brien trophy as the Dallas Mavericks' original owner, has sued Tom Hicks over millions Carter says he's sunk into real estate around the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and Dr. Pepper Ballpark in Frisco -- millions he claims Hicks and Hicks-controlled real-estate entities have squandered.

Says Carter, since 2002 he's been the only "non-Hicks controlled partner" in the partnership, and that he "never refused to provide capital" when Hicks asked for it. But in '06, writes Carter attorney Steven DeWolf, Carter "became increasingly concerned as to Hicks' use of the money and began to ask pointed questions." At which point, the suit alleges, Hicks stopped asking for money and began borrowing from himself -- and "most of these 'loans' accrued interest at 8%, a rate considerably higher than bank lending rates at the time or currently." By March of last year, says the suit, the loans totaled more than $31 million in principal -- $35 million, if not much more, once you add in interest. From the suit:
Tom Hicks And His Hot dog-thumb1.jpg
Hicks engaged in this scheme in a deliberate effort to undermine Carter's interest in Partners and to avoid accountability for his proliferate and wasteful spending on the "Glory Park" project near Rangers Ballpark. Under the Agreement, upon dissolution, loans are to be paid before any distribution to the equity holders. Thus, Hicks and his affiliate company, Hicks, Inc., are assured of receiving their "loans" back plus a generous return of 8% before Carter receives a dime.
Then Carter takes issue with the "artificially low and below market value pricing" set for parking around the Ballpark when Hicks was owner, which, "while good for the Texas Rangers' fans and the Rangers ... it was not in the Partners' best interest." Carter also says he's been trying to get financials out of Hicks for months and hasn't seen anything. Which is why he wants the court to appoint a receiver -- to find out what's going on, where his money is and what Hicks done did with it.

Messages have been left for DeWolf and Hicks's reps; expect updates later in the day. Till then, you know the drill: Docs follow.

Update 5:03 p.m.: Steve DeWolf called back and explained why Carter, a man not known for filing lawsuits, decided to do so here.

Update at 5:40 p.m.: Hicks has also responded via a statement just forwarded to Unfair Park. It too follows.

DeWolf says Carter didn't want to take this to the courthouse and did everything he could to keep it from becoming a legal matter. Says the former Mavs owner's attorney, Carter invested "well north of $10 million" in the partnership over the last nine years, but had become increasingly concerned about how that money was being spent, as the suit indicates.

"They're required to give us financial statements every three months, but he hasn't seen one for six months," DeWolf says. "He's gotten some financial statements, and there's all sorts of issues on what happened to the money and whether it was appropriate. We do know the partnership, even though you'd think those would be valuable assets, doesn't seem to be doing particularly well. .. [And] to the best of our knowledge there's $2 million advanced to a Hicks-related entity, and it doesn't have anything to do with the partnership and hasn't been repaid, which is a bit of a problem. And then there's the whole pattern of doing the loans for 8 percent. We've asked for the partnership to be dissolved, and they've never taken any steps to wind it up."

Adds the attorney: Carter "just wants out of the partnership and to be paid back the reasonable value of his partnership interest. Mr. Carter's not a litigious guy. So this isn't his desire. Let's split the sheets, do it in a reasonable and honorable way, and let's move on. He did what I think was the honorable thing: He wrote a letter and said, 'Let's sit down and talk about this,' and didn't get the courtesy of a response."

Speaking of: We're still waiting on a statement from Hicks's people. It will be posted when it arrives.

Update at 5:40: Here is Hicks's response, in full:
"I admire and respect Don Carter. That's why we have been investment partners in a number of ventures including the land around the Ballpark as well as the Texas Rangers and Dallas Stars. It is certainly well-documented that I, as well as a very small number of investors, lost a lot of money on the sports teams. That does not mean, however, that I agree with the assertions in the lawsuit. All the transactions and business decisions have been completely transparent to Don and his representatives. Notably, keeping the parking rates artificially low benefited the team but the decision benefited minority investors, including Don, because the team needed every possible tactic to get customers to the Ballpark. I will refrain from further comment at this time because I am hopeful that we can resolve this matter quickly and amicably after a review of the long-standing agreements we have with Don and his family."
Don Carter v Tom Hicks

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
44 comments
Rooster
Rooster

Please, please, please, please, please dear Lord Baby Jesus, lying there in your...your little ghost manger, lookin' at your Baby Einstein developmental...videos, learnin' 'bout shapes and colors..., we hope that you can use your baby Jesus powers to make this not screw up Hick's sale of the Stars.Amen. Oh wait....nevermind....

ReverendVelvet
ReverendVelvet

Tom Hicks made Don Carter an even more wealthy man (around $900 million) when Hicks' investment group purchased Home Interiors and Gifts in 1999 - a company started by Don's mom Mary Crowley in 1957

At the time, the company was enjoying sales around $500m per year.

Once Hicks took over the downfall began.

The Carter family remained involved with Don's son, Joey, as President but the Hicks group had ultimate control and can probably be directly blamed for the downward trajectory the company took over the next 9 years.

Hicks investment group took a huge loss selling Home Interiors to another brilliant investment group Highland Capital in 2006 for around $250 million. That's a $740m loss for those without a calculator handy.

Home Interiors couldn't rebound from the damage Hicks inflicted on the company and the company eventually filed for bankruptcy in 2008. The remaining major assets were sold for less than $15 million. What a bargain.

I didn't go to Harvard business school but seems like Hicks has a kiss of death when it comes to investments.

Barracudalounge
Barracudalounge

That chick listed on the pleadings, Staci Pirnar, has a reputation of being nice and sweet but in reality she is a fricking PITBLL when it comes to actually trying a lawsuit. I saw her try a case in McKinney, Texas once. She asked for $1,000,000 in her closing argument. The jury returned with $1,500,000. Don't let that little bitch get a grip on your leg, she won't let go.

Huffstermx91
Huffstermx91

I'm sure Poor Old Tom and his $ 30K a month water bill could care less....What a complete a total embarrassment to Dallas, Texas to have this Wall Street class D-Bag as a resident.

MoronDog
MoronDog

I didnt read the article but I am assuming Carter has initiated a class action lawsuit on behalf of all Rangers and Stars fans accusing Hicks of Douchebaggery?

Robert
Robert

Tom Hicks should have let his son respond to Don Carter's lawsuit. I reckon that is what he (Tom the Elder) is really thinking.

BMFF

Chuck G.
Chuck G.

Where is the picture of Don Carter when he had the ponytail a few years back? That was the funny pic. Nothing really funny about a guy eating a hot dog. Next question is why Don Carter has never had those awful teeth fixed being wealthy for decades? 

Willie
Willie

Why is this not surprising?

El Rey
El Rey

You should also add that Steve DeWolf rocks a bitchin' mustache and flies his own bi-plane.

It seems like the allegations that are being made should mean that Hicks should also do some jail time, IMO.

joewest666
joewest666

Tom Hicks is a real piece of work. I heard stories about him not paying contractors and daring them to sue him in court..

He is an absolute shitbag of the highest order if the stories are even remotely true.

Rangers100
Rangers100

Interesting to see Carter confirming Hicks's side of the Rangers vs. Hicks lawsuit filed earlier in the year over Ballpark pricing.  Hicks claimed there that the parking was being sold at a lower than market rate while he was owner and that he was now simply asking a closer-to-market rate from the new owners.  Carter's lawsuit says that is correct.

Kurt Stallings
Kurt Stallings

I tried to take out a second mortgage on my house to finance a parking spot the last time I could afford to go to a Rangers game. The bank wouldn't finance it although they did offer to finance the purchase of a small but prosperous nation state in central Asia, which was half the price and included an endless supply of raw bamboo. I finally had to do like everybody else and borrow the money from a "private financier," a guy named Lou who went by the name Rock-knuckles. Thank God he was indicted the following week. He's doing a dime in Huntsville, which is great, because no way I could afford the vig, let alone the principal. I heard Hicks has run into the same situation in his financial affairs ...

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Fatty Tom and "All Star Lanes" Carter are having a good ol' fashion rich guy pissing match, hasnt been one of those in awhile. Here's hoping tom gets properly screwed in the proceedings..

G_David
G_David

I think that picture of Tom Hicks shoving a hot dog (or is it a Twinkie?) into his pie-hole should accompany every 5th post on UP, regardless of the subject matter. 

MattL1
MattL1

Is it just me, or does the name "Glory Park" sound dirty?

Sam_Merten
Sam_Merten

"Artificially low" parking prices? Not for those of us who have to empty our wallets every time we're out there.

Montemalone
Montemalone

Love watching rich guys trying to outscrew each other.

At least it takes their attention off screwing the rest of us for a while.

Ed D.
Ed D.

Just when I think my opinion of Tom Hicks can't get any lower...

Montemalone
Montemalone

Reverend, you just don't understand bidness. It's not about the ultimate success or failure of the acquired companies, it's all about the fees.

G_David
G_David

If you don't find that picture of Hicks to be amusing, then your sense of humor setting is way out of whack.

Barracudalounge
Barracudalounge

I think El Rey wants a ride in Mr. DeWolf's bi-plane. He he, ha ha, ho ho Merry Xmas. 

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

so!  he chose to charge below market rate, why would he expect the new owners to charge a higher rate?  Oh thats right, bc he doesnt care about the team, since he has no interest in them.  Isnt Market rate what the market sets, and if thought fans werent willing to pay more to park and come see the team then I gues the rate was correct

Rangers100
Rangers100

The Rangers' fan cost index was 25th of 30 in MLB in 2011.  

Because it has a park in the boonies, it is one of the cheapest outings in Major League Baseball.  If you find it too expensive, you probably wouldn't be able to attend baseball games in many other markets.

G_David
G_David

I always assumed the All-Star Lanes were owned and/or named after Don Carter, the famous bowler.  Who's with me on this?

Jim
Jim

(In double fake Norm voice) I'm not sure that's right.

Gabe
Gabe

Can we date the picture based on the cell phone? I'm guessing early 2000s? That's an antenna, right?

JS
JS

I understand they were thinking of putting a mini-golf place out there and calling it Glory Holes.  <rim shot=""></rim>

Chuck G.
Chuck G.

no, I just dont laugh at everything like you do. Millions of people eat hot dogs and rarely is it ever funny.

Etex211
Etex211

Give me a salary similar to that of my peers in New York or Boston, and I'll be glad to pay a little more to go to a ballgame.

BTW, Arlington isn't the boonies.  It is a big city, nestled between two bigger cities.

Ed D.
Ed D.

The difference in FCI between the Rangers and the most-expensive Boston Red Sox is $179.61 per game. Of that, $139.12 is the difference in ticket prices and another $16 is the difference in the cost of a pair of caps. (Do you buy a new cap at every game? Me neither.) This means the real difference for a family of four, minus tickets, is $24.49 per game. The Rangers aren't cheap because they're in the boonies but because the fan base isn't rabid enough to pay wackadoodle prices for tickets.

Plus, if I was going to a game in Chicago or New York or Atlanta or most other MLB parks, I could ride the convenient mass transit (mostly rail) right to the ballpark without having to worry about my car, traffic, or marching a mile to the game.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

im just glad it made a return, which means we will see it at least once more, when the court either dismisses the case, or sets a date for discovery.  Lets hope its the latter

Montemalone
Montemalone

Might attract a crowd, but not of golfers.

MattL1
MattL1

Wouldn't be the first time...

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

It'd probably lead to our very own George Michael arrest.

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

Around The Web

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...