In 2013, Al “Bubba” Baker, a former NFL player, appeared on Shark Tank, a popular entrepreneurial show in America. At the time, his business, Bubba’s Q Boneless Baby Back Ribs, needed capital injection to stay afloat. Although he was initially skeptical about making an appearance, his daughter convinced him to do so.
He later impressed the panelists, and after what seemed like a never-ending back-and-forth negotiation, he accepted Daymond John’s offer of $300,000 in exchange for a 30% stake in his company.
According to the Los Angeles Times, within three years, Baker’s business was promoted on the show, with various press accounts as one of the biggest Shark Tank success stories, generating $16 million in revenue.
However, Baker says the publicized revenue was no were close to what he has received. According to him, he has received just $659,653, barely 4% of the business’ advertised revenue.
The father-daughter duo adds that they have received only $553.35 in profit from January to March of this year, and have been left in the dark concerning the finances of the company.
According to Baker and his daughter, what started as their “Shark Tank” dream, they say, “has been a nightmare.” He accuses John of not only misleading them, but also trying to take over their business and depriving them of the profits from potentially lucrative partnerships.
He told the Times that John and his representatives ceased communicating with them until last month.
Meanwhile, in 2019 Rastelli, a manufacturer John recommended, filed a suit against Baker for putting a hold on dealings until accounting issues were settled. This has left the Bakers with $171,000 to pay in attorney fees.
The Times reports that Baker has “shuttered his restaurant; after renting out his house, he was forced to sell it at a loss, and his truck was repossessed.”
Baker notes that he was blinded by the idea that he was going to make millions if he appeared on Shark Tank and got an investment. He also expressed his disappointment at John, who he considered “family.”
“I was super proud of my relationship,” he said. “I just never expected economic marginalism from another African American.”
Meanwhile, in response, John said he has lost money on his investment and denied taking advantage of the ex-NFL player.