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  • Writer's pictureJamal Saafir

Sharks Need Restraining Orders Too

As reported by People, fashion mogul and Shark Tank veteran investor Daymond John, has been granted a permanent restraining order against former contestants from the show.

You may be thinking, “wow, someone really was upset behind not getting their business idea funded”, but that’s not the case at all. It’s quite the opposite. In actuality, the former contestant's idea was actually chosen by John for funding. The fallout occurred due to what transpired after the approval of their business pitch.

Let’s rewind back to 2014, where former NFL defensive-end Al “Bubba” Baker appeared on the ABC series Shark Tank to pitch his Bubba’s Q Boneless Baby Back Ribs. Daymond John was the “shark” that bit and took interest in Bubba’s business proposal.

According to a report last month from Cleveland’s 19 News, shortly after John and Baker’s verbal agreement is where the confusion began and the business agreement took a negative turn. Baker believed that there had been a “denial of profits” from John to Baker and his daughter Brittani.

According to Al and Brittani Baker, they claimed that they received “less than 4% of the company’s reported earnings”, despite owning a majority of the company. They also claimed that financial decisions were being made without their knowledge, leading to them declining potential new business with little assurance of profits. After failed attempts to resolve their issues surrounding the accounting of their business, the Baker’s took to social media to voice their displeasure.

This is where the initial restraining order entered the dealings between the parties.

According to Cleveland’s 19 News, those social media posts ultimately led to a restraining order being filed by both Daymond John and Rastelli Foods, a wholesale food company brought in to help with distribution. The restraining order claims that the Baker’s are ignoring their operating agreement which states

“The Company and each Member shall take all reasonable measures necessary to prevent any unauthorized disclosure of the Confidential Information by any of their employees, agents or consultants.”

The lawsuit claims that the confidentiality agreement is being breached, with a request for the Baker’s to remove any social media posts involved in this.

John claims the three have recurrently verbally attacked him on social media, calling their involvement with him a “nightmare,” court documents say.

As of July 21st, 2023 John has been granted a permanent restraining order through the New Jersey Federal court against Al “Bubba” Baker, his wife Sabrina and his daughter Brittani.

The ruling also instructed the Bakers to clean their social media of “disparaging” remarks on posts in which they described their transactions with John and accused him of trying to take over their ribs business. They also must remove similar posts about Rastelli Foods Group, the manufacturer contracted to produce ribs and that is a partner with the Bakers and John in the venture.

“All the Bakers’ posts are negative, disparaging or both, and certainly could impact DFV’s and John’s reputation, goodwill and credibility,” U.S. District Judge Robert Kugler wrote in his order, referring to DF Ventures, which John set up to work with the family. “These posts clearly caused reputational harm that John will now have to deal with and counter.”

In the initial temporary restraining order issued earlier this year, Kugler said that the Bakers breached a 2019 agreement in which they agreed to not disparage John and Rastelli. With the order he issued Friday, Kugler found that the Bakers had “breached” that settlement agreement’s non-disparagement clause and, therefore, ruled to “forever bar” them from further violations.

John gave testimony in his court filing that the Bakers’ comments resulted in “a major television network” canceling a show he was involved with that had been “previously greenlit” and that he lost “a speaking engagement and a ‘major brand’ he was meant to do an activation with stopped all discussions with him while the defendants put out their posts.”

“Today’s decision against the Bakers, their company and their false statements is a moment of vindication,” John said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times. “The actual facts, the record and the federal Judge’s opinion have confirmed that I did not — and could not have — committed any wrongdoing. I have always upheld transparency and honesty throughout my journey as an entrepreneur.”

In June, when John filed for a temporary restraining order against the Bakers, his spokesperson Zach Rosenfield told PEOPLE in a statement that John was taking action over their alleged efforts "to undermine a business partnership and the legal parameters they agreed to four years ago."

“After repeated attempts to give the Bakers the ability to correct their violations. It is unfortunate that it has come to this," Rosenfield claimed in the statement.

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