Hagar opened, with developer Milt Barbis, a Cabo Wabo in 2008, two years after entering into an agreement to build his restaurant brand in Fresno. It was to be a cornerstone of a 420-acre development but the project unraveled six months after it opened.
Hagar was the first to go to court, claiming Barbis’ Fresno Rock Taco LLC failed to live up to the Cabo licensing agreement by refusing to pay royalties and mismanaging the venue, which damaged Hagar’s reputation.
The case was settled Feb. 2009, followed by a suit by Barbis, who said it was the Red Rocker who was at fault, claiming he micromanaged the venture, badgering Barbis over design, construction and even the placement of plants outside the venue, leading to costly delays.
Barbis claimed he was “unduly influenced” by his attorney to sign the settlement agreement. He also claimed he was “under duress” to sign it because a “hitman” was hired to kill Barbis if he did not do so. Barbis claimed Hagar had left a voicemail message to Barbis claiming he would kill him. Barbis asked for at least $100 million in damages.
At the time, Hagar would not comment, other than to say the accusations were unfounded.
U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White dismissed the case Sept. 1. Barbis had 20 days to file an amended complaint.
White found that Hagar’s alleged threat to kill Barbis was supposedly made August 2008, four months before Hagar even filed his claim. Furthermore, Barbis did not allege the threat was made in connection with the settlement and “plaintiffs do not allege that any of the defendants hired the hitman.”
The venue is still open as Club Rome.