Shark Tank celebrity investor Daymond John has filed for a temporary restraining order against a group of former contestants he entered into business with when they pitched their meat company on the show nearly a decade ago.
John, 54, requested the restraining order against the owners of Bubba Q’s Boneless Baby Back Ribs, who appeared on Season 5 of Shark Tank in 2013. The legal filing came after Al (Bubba) Baker, his wife, Sabrina, and their daughter, Brittani, told the Los Angeles Times that John attempted to take over their business and cut the family out of potential profits.
Al Baker, a former NFL defensive end, and his family said the business relationship has been a “nightmare.”
When the Bakers appeared on Shark Tank seeking a business deal for their pre-cooked boneless baby back ribs, John offered US$300,000 (C$403,110) for a 30 per cent share in the company. The Bakers told the L.A. Times once cameras were off, John changed his offer to US$100,000 (C$134,370) for 35 per cent.
In the L.A. Times article, and in videos shared to social media, the Bakers alleged John tried to control their company and left them out of key business meetings with clients and manufacturers, including Rastelli Foods Group.
The Bakers claim to have only seen four per cent of the publicly stated US$16 million (nearly $21.5 million) in revenue from their business.
Zach Rosenfield, a spokesperson for John, told Entertainment Weekly that the “temporary restraining order is due to the Bakers’ blatant actions to undermine a business partnership and the legal parameters they agreed to four years ago.”
“Their belief that they can unwind poor business decisions through slanderous social media posts and articles will no longer be tolerated,” the statement continued.
As the L.A. Times story broke on May 18, John also sent the family a cease-and-desist letter demanding that they stop “making publicly disparaging or defamatory remarks” about him and other Bubba Q’s Boneless Baby Back Ribs investors.
In a social media video of his own, John called the L.A. Times article a “flawed interview and false narrative.” He said the Bakers’ allegations against him were not true.
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“The journalist, I believe the underlying issue here, did not understand business as well as I think that I would have liked her to,” he said.
A legal case involving John and the Bakers has already been dismissed by a federal judge in New Jersey without prejudice.
Entertainment Tonight reported Rastelli Foods Group has also filed for a temporary restraining order against the Baker family.
In a statement to the judge regarding the temporary restraining orders filed by John and Rastelli Foods Group, the Baker family said they faced “irreparable harm, particularly as the time on our patent is running out.”
“Sharing our experience on social media is an honest and truthful account of our journey,” the Bakers wrote. “We firmly believe that the truth is in the best interest of the public.”