A man from Dallas, Texas has managed to secure himself a million-dollar payout all because of ‘vague, drunken agreement’ that was written on the back of a cocktail napkin.
Jonathan Kolniak sued his former employer in March 2017 over a claim he was owed more than $9 million for his equity stake in his old employer. His ex-boss James Ballengee said that the agreement was ‘vague and incomplete’ and as a result of a ‘night of drunkenness’
The ‘agreement’ between Kolniak and ex-boss James Ballengee was scribbled on a tiny drinks napkin from the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek resort hotel.
Kolniak insisted that the agreement on the napkin gave him a two percent equity ownership in Addison-based Bridger Logistics, a crude oil logistics company. Kolniak’s $100,000 salary along with his benefits and commission were also written on the napkin.
Kolniak’s attorney, Brian Hail, said he was supposed to help Ballengee build the company before it was to be sold off.
The sale finally happened in 2015 when Ferrellgas bought Bridger Logistics for $820 million.
Kolniak worked out that he should have received a share of around $9.35 million from the sale.
But Ballengee disagreed saying the agreement on the napkin was ‘vague and incomplete’ and as a result of a ‘night of drunkenness.’
He said that the agreement did not state even the name of the company that Kolniak would get equity.
Kolniak has now won $1 million in a lawsuit which he says he is happy with despite it being considerably less than the $9million he had originally sued for.
After Kolniak went to work for Ballengee, the two then settled on a buyout of Kolniak’s equity. He eventually agreed to accept $2 million and had received $400,000 when their working relationship fell apart. Ballengee then decided that because there was ‘no deal’ in the first place, his company wasn’t going to pay Kolniak anything more.
Soon after, Kolniak decided to launch a lawsuit which resulted in him being paid out 1 million dollars.
Kolniak has now managed to secure another $1 million dollars and told the Dallas News that he is satisfied with the outcome despite it being considerably less than the original $9 million agreement.
Hail said he had never seen such an agreement in the 28 years he has been working as a lawyer.
‘The lesson to be learned is you need to be careful what you put down in writing and sign, no matter what the circumstance,’ Hail said.
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