To Her To-Do List, Add This: Judge Says Kathy Nealy Owes AAC Parent 'Round $200,000

Speaking of the company that operates the American Airlines Center ...

While going through some federal courthouse docs this morning, which is how everyone should spend the day before the day before Christmas, I discovered that lawsuit concerning the former Chili's at the AAC lives on, with a trial date set for February. Long story short, for those who don't recall: In early September '09, Base Holdings and Gilbert Aranza, the Chili's franchisee, suddenly closed up shop in the dark of night after a much-heralded move-in. Center Operating Company, the AAC's parent, claimed Base Holdings owed 'round $160,000; Aranza -- who I know you remember -- said the AAC did all it could to kill the business and preemptively filed for Chapter 7. The judge has yet to rule on COC's motion for summary judgment; yesterday Base Holding's attorneys asked the bankruptcy court to hold off on doing anything till the district court judges rules in the 2-year-old case.

Which is not at all what this item was supposed to be about.

When I went back to the Dallas County court filings to catch up on that Chili's case -- for fun, no, really -- I noticed something else far more interesting with Center Operating Company in the title: There's been a resolution to the case involving political consultant Kathy Nealy, who, as you might recall, had her house raided by the FBI on June 27, one stop among many on the day John Wiley Price's house and office also welcomed guests in dark suits.

As we noted back in September, the AAC's parent claimed in court docs that Nealy owes $131,639.43 for a lower-level suite she licensed in 2009. Nealy, of course, does some consulting for American Airlines, but, said COC, she stopped paying on the suite and never responded to demands to do so. And she and attorney Cheryl Wattley, the OU associate law prof, never bothered to respond to the lawsuit either.

So, on Tuesday, the court ruled in COC's favor: Nealy, said the judge, owes $187,573.56. But that's just the beginning. There are also daily late fees and attorney's fees -- and, on top of all that, "the total amount of the judgement rendered herein shall bear post-judgement interest at an annual rate of 18.00 percent, compounded annually, from the date of this judgement till satisfied." And that, says the judge, is that.

Ruling in Kathy Nealy Suit

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky