John is seeking both a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction against Al “Bubba” Baker and his daughter, Brittani, to stop them from trashing him over what they say has been a “nightmare” experience since their appearance on the ABC reality show.
The Bakers -- including Bubba's wife, Sabrina -- contend that John and some of his cronies fleeced them after they cut a deal on “Shark Tank” to make their patented Bubba’s Q Boneless Baby Back Ribs business a huge success.
They were misled, they said, by thieves who tried to seize control of their company and pocket what should be their profits in the wake of their agreement with John and Rastelli Foods Group, a meat manufacturer hired to produce the product.
Both sides have pitched their battle on social media, with dueling TikTok videos among the various posts.
A graduate of Weequahic High School in Newark, 66-year-old James Albert London “Bubba” Baker was the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1978, launching a career at defensive end that took him to three Pro Bowls before he retired in 1990.
Baker, who at 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds combined speed and strength, had his biggest years with the Detroit Lions but also distinguished himself with the then-St. Louis Cardinals and, later, the Cleveland Browns.
He racked up what would have been the most sacks in a season when he registered 23 sacks in his rookie year, but it wasn’t an official stat then. Baker also played for the Minnesota Vikings.
The U.S. District Court judge in Newark had dismissed Baker’s case against John and company this past month when the 14-year “Shark Tank” regular who founded FUBU filed his own complaint.
The celebrity investor is asking the judge to muzzle the Bakers because of their “blatant actions to undermine a business partnership and the legal parameters they agreed to four years ago,” company spokesman Zach Rosenfield said.
“Their belief that they can unwind poor business decisions through slanderous social media posts and articles will no longer be tolerated,” he said.
The Bakers claim that John revised the 2013 televised offer of $300,000 for 30% of the company – during a show that was rebroadcast by CNBC this past Tuesday night – to $100,000 for 35%.
The company reported has raked in $16 million since then, but the Bakers say they’ve seen only 4% of it.
John accused the Bakers of a “willful and malicious smear campaign” that violates a confidentiality agreement.
His exclusive access helped build the company, John said, adding that he was a partner with no “access or control” over the company’s books. He served primarily as a “brand ambassador,” he said.
In fact, John claims, he’s been “operating at an overall financial loss” from the deal, which he claims has netted the Bakers $659,000 in profits.
Too bad, they responded.
“It is our belief that Rastelli Foods and Daymond John have breached the settlement agreement by excluding Al from participation and collaboration regarding the product,” they wrote in court papers filed in U.S. District Court in Newark.
These actions are “causing us irreparable harm, particularly as the time on our patent is running out,” the Bakers contend.
“Sharing our experience on social media is an honest and truthful account of our journey,” they wrote. “We firmly believe that the truth is in the best interest of the public.”
They then added: “We have reached out to governmental agencies to investigate this matter, as we believe it is in the best interest of the public.”
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