Listen to Austin 360 Radio

Lawsuits over new Backyard construction are mounting

Owner O'Connor says he has fulfilled obligations; DeJoria also connected to legal claims.

Michael Corcoran

As Bob Dylan gears up to play the new Backyard in Bee Cave tonight , claims are piling up against the owners of the 7,500-capacity music venue that opened April 25.

Two lawsuits have been filed against Backyard owner Tim O'Connor's companies — Direct Events, Planet Earth Music and Two Lawnmowers — by an architectural firm and a construction company. In addition, five subcontractors have filed mechanic's liens against O'Connor and the owner of the Backyard land, the family trust of hair care billionaire John Paul DeJoria.

In papers filed June 1 with the Travis County clerk's office, plumbing subcontractor Ferguson Enterprises claims it's owed $74,000 for work done at the Backyard. Others to file mechanic's liens — a legal process that extends to not only the business owner, but the land owner on improvements to his property — include Holt Cat ($79,351), Vulcan Construction Materials ($53,958), Lauren Concrete ($10,719) and surveyor James Garon ($5,724) .

In an e-mail Monday, O'Connor said his company has fulfilled its obligations and that "the liens are a direct result of the inaction of Maldonado Construction."

Holt Cat, Vulcan and Lauren are all Maldonado subcontractors. Ferguson was a subcontractor of Spicewood Plumbing.

"A meeting has been scheduled for later this month to attempt to resolve these issues amicably," O'Connor said in the e-mail.

Veronika Judish, a spokeswoman for DeJoria, could not be reached.

Maldonado filed suit against O'Connor and his companies July 13, claiming it is owed $334,801 for work building detention ponds and roads and supplying utilities at the Backyard, which is at 13472 Bee Cave Parkway.

Exhibit A of the lawsuit provides copies of invoices both paid and unpaid by the Backyard, where construction began in January. The original Backyard on Texas 71 closed in 2008.

In a July 2 letter to O'Connor, Maldonado's attorney, Robert Tyler, wrote that the $344,801 includes $275,000 owed to Lauren, Vulcan and Holt. O'Connor has until Aug. 9 to respond to Maldonado's suit.

On July 12, O'Connor rejected claims in a pair of lawsuits filed in June by Sixth River Architects . The firm says it is owed $84,000 for work at the O'Connor-owned Austin Music Hall and $34,000 for work at the Backyard.

O'Connor charged the plaintiffs with harassment and counterclaimed that Sixth River had breached its contract with Direct Events "by failing and refusing to engage in mediation prior to instituting legal action."

The legal filings have not seemed to slow bookings at the Backyard. In addition to Dylan, the venue's August schedule has Lynyrd Skynyrd coming Aug. 19, the Hill Country Rock & Ride with Mitch Ryder and others Aug. 21, and Sheryl Crow on Aug. 28.

mcorcoran@statesman.com; 445-3652