Wednesday, September 27, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Wednesday, September 27, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Ex-Texas Rangers Owner Faces Motion to Compel

DALLAS (CN) - The former owner of the Texas Rangers must answer questions about the source of capital contributions he allegedly made to the club, his now-bankrupt entity says in court.

Tom Hicks faces a complaint alleging that he raided the Rangers' coffers during his time as club owner to buy parking lots around Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and Cowboys Stadium.

The Dallas Cowboys football club opened Cowboys Stadium in 2009 and share several parking areas with the Rangers.

A few months after the Texas Rangers Baseball Partners (TRBP) filed for bankruptcy in May 2010, the club sold virtually all of its assets to Rangers Baseball Express LLC, an investment group led by Nolan Ryan, the team's current CEO and president.

RBE is not a party to this suit.

In 2011, TRBP and court-approved administrator Alan Jacobs sued Hicks, Ballpark Real Estate LP and BRE Development LLC in Dallas County Court.

Hicks "continually breached his fiduciary duties to the Texas Rangers by using tens of millions of dollars of the Texas Rangers' money to pay the acquisition costs for land and to build parking lots and roads for the Hicks-owned entity called Ballpark Real Estate LP - an entity that ... now generates millions of dollars per year in parking revenue on events at Cowboys Stadium and is worth between $51.5 million and $75 million," according to the complaint.

On Friday, Jacobs and the TRBP filed a motion to compel Hicks to answer interrogatories and produce documents dated between 1998 and 2010 that show the source of funds he allegedly contributed to TRBP.

"Throughout this litigation, Hicks has contended that any benefit he may have obtained as a result of his transactions with TRBP are more than offset by the amount of voluntary capital contributions he made to TRBP," the 10-page motion states.

"This discovery is plainly relevant to refute Hicks' defense in this case, and the defendants' objections to TRBP's discovery requests should be overruled," the club added.

Though Hicks has characterized the request for information as "overbroad," the club said that the 12-year period covers Hicks' ownership of the team and is relevant to the allegations of self-dealing and fraudulent transfers.

Hicks must answer interrogatories because it is impossible to determine the repayment terms of funds Hicks loaned to the team and whether Hicks used borrowed money to fund the team, according to the motion.

"Without the requested discovery, the jury in this case may be left with the false impression that Hicks used his personal - as opposed to borrowed - money to fund TRBP operations, or gave money to fund those operations with no expectation of repayment," the motion states. "Plaintiffs are entitled to explain these facts at trial."

The Rangers' current owners sued BRE in August 2011 in Tarrant County Court, accusing them of demanding outrageous rent for the parking lots, even though a Fort Worth Bankruptcy Court ordered it negotiate an agreement at fair market value.

"In total indifference to the LUA [land use agreement], BRE and Hicks Holdings have tried to saddle the Rangers with a $3.5 million rental charge for use of the BRE property," the complaint stated. "This would equate to almost twice the amount the Rangers pay the City of Arlington to lease the entire ballpark."

In March, the Rangers settled their claims by entering into a multiyear agreement with the Hicks-controlled entity.

Follow @davejourno
Categories / Uncategorized

Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.