Co-founders of Bun B's Trill Burgers trading lawsuits against each other, Houston Chronicle reports

Mycah Hatfield Image
Saturday, March 30, 2024
Trill Burgers founders suing each other, the Chronicle reports
Co-founders of the burger restaurant Trill Burgers have become engaged in several lawsuits against each other over misuse of funds and ownership.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- There is beef cooking between several co-founders of Houston rapper Bun B's Trill Burgers eatery.

ABC13 partners at the Houston Chronicle report that the UGK rapper is suing two co-founders of the burger restaurant, Patsy and Benson Vivares.

Bun B is seeking legal action against the two, who are siblings, accusing them of misusing $45,000 in profits from the Houston Rodeo in 2022.

According to the suit, the Vivares controlled the money for the smashburger concept.

Charles Adams, the attorney representing Trill Burgers, provided a screenshot of a text message to ABC13 that he said was sent by Patsy Vivares in March 2022, where she said, "I'm trying to go through receipts and stuff to tally up our expenses for (Trill Burgers) that was ran through (Sticky's) and figuring out how much (Trill) owes (Sticky's). Just to be transparent with everything, but I used about ($45,000) of the rodeo money to pay for Stickys."

The suit said from there, finances became "less and less transparent."

"At that point in time, the operations were being propped up by Sticky's, so it's Sticky's kitchen, Sticky's employees, Sticky's stuff, any equipment, any sort of input product from the restaurant side was all coming from Sticky's," Saad Aziz, the lawyer representing the Vivares, said.

Aziz suggested they should have been compensated for what they put into the business, and the $45,000 in question was part of that.

"You can always come up with an excuse, but the problem is that when you get caught red-handed doing something, you've got to own up to that mistake," Adams said.

Bun B and two of his partners decided in the summer of 2022, following the issue over the alleged misappropriated funds, to end the partnership with the Vivares siblings.

"They replaced them with two other people," Adams said. "They got no benefit from this. This was actually a horrible thing that they had no intention of doing, but you can't allow a partner to misappropriate funds."

"This is characterized as a business divorce," Aziz said. "There's no doubt about it. People get into business. They get out of business, but there's a way to do that. That wasn't followed here."

Aziz said the siblings were cut out right before the concept became a hit.

RELATED: Rap legend becomes the king of burgers

However, the siblings are hitting back at the rapper, whose real name is Bernard James Freeman, and his two other business partners with a countersuit. The duo claims that the popular burger restaurant idea was theirs alone, and they brought the rapper in.

As early as July 2021, Patsy and BJ began experimenting with the concept, formulating different recipes and applying different cooking techniques, ultimately finding the right balance and approach, the countersuit reads.

Adams denies that claim.

"What you had was Andy Nguyen, who was a restauranteur from Southern California, had a smashburger concept, right?" Adams explained. "He assembled this team of people to open one in Houston. This was not the brainchild of the Vivares."

Trill Burgers became an instant hit after being crowned the best burger in the nation on Good Morning America in the summer of 2022. The brick-and-mortar building in Houston's Montrose area officially opened on June 7, 2023.

WATCH: Houston's Bun B returns to NYC to celebrate Trill Burgers success

After winning GMA's ultimate burger competition, Bub B returned to NYC to talk about his business' success.

"It was the city of Houston that really put this burger on its back and built it up," co-owner and Houston rap legend Bun B said. "Houston culture is engrained into this product at this point."

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