Joe Maddon, Harry Caray’s brought in to ROC Ventures counterclaim against Routine Baseball

Ballpark Commons owner seeking at least $750,000 from apparel company

routine field
Fans at the opening of Routine Field.

Last updated on September 23rd, 2019 at 02:03 pm

The owner of the Ballpark Commons in Franklin has filed a counterclaim against Routine Baseball and its owner, alleging they broke a naming rights contract for Routine Field.

ROC Ventures also claims Michael DeGrave and his company committed theft by failing to pay royalties and other fees to the foundation of Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon and Harry Caray’s Restaurant Group after taking over the apparel company Korked.

ROC Ventures is seeking at least $750,000 from Routine and DeGrave, plus punitive damages and other judgments.

The counterclaim comes after Routine sued ROC Ventures, managing partner Michael Zimmerman and a number of other entities including the Milwaukee Milkmen baseball team and the Milwaukee Wave. The lawsuit was filed in August.

The initial lawsuit alleges the two sides never signed a naming rights agreement for Routine Field at the Ballpark Commons in Franklin. A letter of intent for the deal called for Routine to pay $150,000 per year as part of a five-year agreement.

In its counterclaim, ROC Ventures acknowledges the letter was listed as non-binding, but also points out that it was signed the same day as a $150,000 promissory note that loaned $150,000 from Zimmerman to DeGrave. The note was allegedly a necessary part of the naming rights deal and has not been paid enough, even though it was due by July 11, 2018.

The counterclaim says DeGrave proposed changes to the deal in August 2018 in a document titled “Summary of Zimmerman/Routine/Complex Contracts to be Prepared.” It also points out that DeGrave participated in the announcement of the naming rights deal, promoted it on social media and generally allowed Routine’s trademarks to be used.

ROC Ventures also alleges DeGrave leveraged his position as the owner and manager of an apparel company into “the take-over of Korked…,” a company Zimmerman owned that produces apparel as part of a relationship with Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon.

The letter of intent gave DeGrave an 85% interest in the company behind Korked and Zimmerman was to receive a 15% stake in Routine and Complex, a merchandising company DeGrave owned.

The counterclaim says Zimmerman found out Sept. 9 that Korked had not paid Maddon’s Respect 90 Foundation for any “Maddonism product sales” since August 2018.

The CEO of Harry Caray’s Restaurant Group also reached out to Zimmerman after not receiving any licensing payments or reports from Korked for more than a year, according to the complaint.


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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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