FORT WORTH (CN) – A lawsuit over the control of parking lots at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington ended this week, as owners of the Texas Rangers baseball team agreed to let former team owner Tom Hicks’ company operate the lots.
The Rangers said in a statement that the team “concluded negotiations on a multi-year agreement for the operation” of the stadium parking lots with Ballpark Real Estate (BRE), a limited partnership owned by former team owner Tom Hicks, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
A Tarrant County Court subsequently approved motions by team owner Rangers Baseball Express and Hicks’ entities that the lawsuit be dropped, and ordered each side pay its own attorneys fees.
In a lawsuit filed in August 2011, Rangers Baseball Express (RBE) accused Hicks of demanding outrageous rent for the parking lot – nearly twice the rent the team pays for the stadium.
The parking lot was carved out of the stadium property after creditors sued the Hicks in federal bankruptcy court.
RBE bought the team from Texas Rangers Baseball Partners in August 2010. Texas Rangers Baseball Partners was owned by Hicks Sports Group; both entities were owned and/or controlled by Hicks.
In the team’s bankruptcy proceeding, “creditors of the Hicks’ entity, HSG, objected to the proposed sale of the BRE property on grounds that it would unjustly enrich HSG to the detriment of its creditors,” according to the complaint.
The bankruptcy court ordered that BRE negotiate an agreement with the new owners at fair market value, the complaint states.
However, “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 states. “This would equate to almost twice the amount the Rangers pay the City of Arlington to lease the entire ballpark.”
RBE said it would suffer irreparable harm unless a judge stopped Ballpark’s “price-gouging.”