It made for a nice bit of sensationalism — a minority owner of the Dallas Mavericks suing Mark Cuban and calling the franchise “insolvent.”
Even more amusing was Cuban’s “we’re the champs” legal defense.
Which apparently is a good strategy because on Thursday a judge tossed Ross Perot Jr.’s lawsuit out, according to the Dallas Business Journal.
Judge Craig Smith of the 192nd Judicial District Court dismissed the lawsuit Thursday and ordered that all claims asserted by Perot be denied. Perot also was ordered to pay all court costs. The ruling can be appealed.
In legal terms it’s called “summary judgment,” tossing a case before it even gets to trial. In laymen’s terms, it means the judge said the Perot’s case was about as sound as a Shaquille O’Neal free throw attempt.
(By the way, yes Perot is related to presidential candidate, the plaintiff is the son of the former candidate.)
Perot’s complaint was that the Mavericks lost money every year. But that is obscured some because Cuban and partners also own the arena the Mavericks play in, so money can change pockets. Besides, the value of the franchise rose enough to more than cover the losses. Finally, Cuban personally backed Perot’s share of the team. So Perot was all good financially, he just doesn’t like Cuban.
Which it turns out is not enough to win a lawsuit.
Even in court, Mark Cuban is bragging about his championship. And being damn funny.
Remember that Cuban is being sued by Ross Perot Jr., the son of the former presidential candidate and a five percent owner of the Mavericks. His partnership (Hillwood Center Partnership) used to own the majority of the Mavericks but sold to Cuban 11 years ago. Perot says that the Mavericks are insolvent, mismanaged and Cuban is basically a giant turd. That’s not the exact legal phrasing, but that’s the thrust of it.
Today, Cuban’s lawyers filed papers asking the judge to just say Cuban won the case (Summery Judgment is the legal term). What is the legal basis to ask for this judgement? Here it is, from the Dallas Observer blog (Via The Basketball Jones):
Under Hillwood’s ownership, the team was deemed the “worst franchise” in all of professional sports. Under Cuban’s stewardship the Mavericks have become one of the league’s most successful teams and are now NBA champions. Accordingly, there can be no genuine question that Hillwood’s claims of mismanagement lack merit and Hillwood’s claims should be disposed of on summary judgment.
The brief includes a picture of Dirk Nowitzki holding up the Larry O’Brien Trophy over his head with the team around him.
You knew Mark Cuban was not going to stay quiet.
Ross Perot Jr. (not him, but his son), a minority owner of the team, has filed a lawsuit saying Dallas Basketball Ltd., the business that runs Mavericks, is “insolvent and and/or in imminent danger of insolvency.”
Cuban responded to the Dallas Business Journal and said that’s a load of crap driven by a personal agenda. (via The Baseline)
“Mavs fans have nothing to worry about,” Cuban said in the e-mail to the DBJ. “I am responsible for funding and personally guarantee all debt, and I can tell you that financially I am doing more than fine. He essentially is suing me saying, I can’t afford to pay myself back. This is typical Perot.”
Cuban also said in his e-mail to the DBJ, “In my opinion, he thinks he is embarrassing me through the lawsuit, possibly to pressure me to buy him out. What I do know is that being in business with Ross Perot is one of the worst experiences of my business life.”
Cuban concluded: “There is no risk of insolvency. Everyone always has been and will be paid on time.”
There’s no doubt that the Mavericks have lost money (Forbes estimated $17.4 million last fiscal year, Perot’s suit says $50 million, take your pick). But Cuban is an owner willing to pay, willing to lose a little to have a team that wins.
Apparently when you’re really rich, it’s expensive to have enemies.