A Texas man has managed to provide himself a million-dollar payout due to an agreement that was written on the back of a cocktail napkin.
Jonathan Kolniak filed a lawsuit against his former employer in March 2017 claiming he was owed over $9 million for his equity stake in his old employer.
The paperwork between Kolniak and ex-boss James Ballengee was scribbled out on a tiny beverage napkin from the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek Resort Hotel.
Kolniak maintained that the agreement on the napkin ensures him a two percent equity ownership in Addison-based Bridger Logistics, a crude oil logistics company.
Kolniak’s attorney, Brian Hail, stated he was required to help Ballengee build the company before it was to be sold off.
The sale finally took place in 2015 when Ferrellgas bought Bridger Logistics for $820 million.
Kolniak worked out that was supposed to receive a share of around $9.35 million from the sale.
However, Ballengee took issue saying the agreement on the napkin was ‘vague and incomplete’ and as a result of a ‘night of drunkenness.’
He stated that the agreement did not include even the name of the company that Kolniak would get equity.
Ballengee claimed the ‘2% of option’ was for a totally different company.
Kolniak’s $100,000 salary, as well as his benefits and commission, were spelled on the napkin.
After Kolniak went to work for Ballengee, the two then set an agreement of a buyout of Kolniak’s equity.
He ultimately was willing to accept $2 million and had received $400,000 when they put an end to their working relationship.
Ballengee determined that since there was ‘no deal’ in the first place, his company has no intention to pay Kolniak anything more.
Due to his decision, Kolniak decided to file his lawsuit.
Kolniak has now managed to secure another $1 million dollars and tells the Dallas News that he is happy with the outcome even though it is considerably less than the original $9 million agreement.
Hail said he had never encounter with 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.