Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Entrepreneur behind Sweet Ballz sues partners in Dallas County lawsuit
They appeared on Shark Tank previously, and Mark Cuban gave them $250,000.
DALLAS Last month a lawsuit popped up in Dallas County over some cake balls — and not just any cake balls, mind you, but the Sweet Ballz that so tickled Mark Cuban that the Dallas Mavericks’ owner and former Benefactor vowed to cough up $250,000 during a recent episode of ABC’s Shark Tank. Long story short: James McDonald, who says he baked his first batch of cake balls just last year, alleges that his partners in Sweet Ballz stole his idea and his website just as the cake balls business was starting to roll in dough.
Those partners — Cole Egger and Stewart Hunter Heres — insist in separate responses that they did no such thing. And Egger, who appeared with McDonald on Shark Tank, goes so far as to insist their cake ball business, officially known as City View Food Group, was nothing more than “a start-up business that … never got off the ground or achieved a solid financial footing” and is “not a going concern,” despite the Shark Tank-ing. Egger also insists McDonald didn’t really do much when it came to the creation of the Sweet Ballz over which they’re now tussling.
“Cake balls are spherical desserts made of cake and frosting, covered with a semi-hard sweet coating, and, as McDonald apparently discovered on June 16, 2012, easy to make a home,” says Egger’s response. “What some in the media in 2009 referred to as a ‘Texas cake ball craze’ was kick-started in 2006 by Robin Ankeny, a resident of Dallas, Texas, who use her mother’s cake ball recipe to start a business called ‘The Cake Ball Company.’ Cake balls became available in the Neiman Marcus catalogue. The recipe for cake balls sold by City View is owned by its outsourced manufacturer, not City View. When it comes to making cake balls, neither McDonald nor City View owns any proprietary information, technical data, trade secrets, or know-how, given how basic is the process. In fact, the process is so basic that anyone can view a demonstration of how to make cake balls at the website www.youtube.com.”
Egger insists that despite what happened on Shark Tank, “there is no definitive, binding agreement between Mark Cuban and Barbara Corcoran and City View.”
Heres, who was hired to market Sweet Ballz, says, in short, that he and his company, National Cake Balls Brand, did nothing wrong.
In the response, Heres and NCCB “deny that any contract ever existed, either in law or fact, which would or does restrict Heres or NCCB from entering the free market to compete with Plaintiffs in the production, marketing and distribution and sale of cake balls.” Heres says some of McDonald’s claims are “frivolous and without merit.”
Read the responses below, which begin with an excerpt from The Emperor’s New Clothes.