Biloxi Shuckers’ owner Ken Young responded to Tim Bennett’s lawsuit Monday, denying claims he is interfering with his rights to market and schedule events at the Biloxi stadium. Young filed a counter claim asking for damages and a temporary restraining order against Bennett.
The 39-page lawsuit filed in Harrison County Chancery Court claims Bennett and Overtime Sports Management Biloxi owe Biloxi Baseball money, and that both mismanaged events at MGM Park and overstepped their authority at the stadium.
“There’s a lawsuit but at the same time the parties are continuing to communicate, and we hope to sit down with Biloxi Baseball and try to resolve this issue,” said Tim Holleman, attorney with Boyce Holleman & Associates, who represents Bennett in the legal action.
He said Bennett filed the lawsuit last month over concerns that Biloxi Baseball was going to try to interfere with Conference USA, which Overtime Sports brought to the stadium May 24-28. “That didn’t happen and now we hope the parties will get together,” he said.
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A 2014 contract with Biloxi Baseball gives Overtime Sports the authority to handle all the special events at the stadium except for those hosted by Beau Rivage Resort & Casino and the City of Biloxi.
Bennett originally approached Young about buying a baseball team and bringing it to Biloxi.
Young claims that while Bennett is a 5 percent owner of Biloxi Baseball, “he does not have any right to act on behalf of Biloxi Baseball or to be involved with the day to day business of Biloxi Baseball in any way.”
The filing says Young is an owner and serves as managing member of Biloxi Baseball, and his response to the lawsuit provides a long list of complaints against Bennett, especially over the events that occurred during spring break events in April. The filing says an alleged fight involving an NFL player during the event was reported by local and national media, and the main act did not perform.
“Though the Shuckers were not responsible for the concert, all of these failures reflected poorly on the Shuckers as the primary tenant of the facility,” the lawsuit says.
Among the other complaints listed are:
▪ Overtime Sports owes $450,000 for a variety of fees, taxes and vendor invoices
▪ Special events sponsored by Overtime Sports “have been disorganized, unprofessional and not well managed,” which the filing says reflects poorly on Biloxi Baseball
▪ The use of Biloxi Baseball employees by Overtime Sports without full compensation
▪ Scheduling of Overtime events during the Biloxi Shuckers’ season without seeking the approval of Biloxi Baseball
▪ Entering a contract with Conference USA requiring the closure of the Shuckers’ Team Store during a special event
Young’s attorneys are asking that until a trial is held, Biloxi Baseball or the City of Biloxi should approve and manage outside events at MGM Park rather than Overtime Sports. His attorneys also want want Bennett to stop communicating with Biloxi Baseball employees except when absolutely necessary for an Overtime event, not enter the corporate office of Biloxi Baseball except on the day of an Overtime event, return the master key to MGM Park, and obtain his own phone lines, phone numbers and internet access for the south box office.