Feb 7, 2012 11:11 PM by Melissa Hawkes
Two of the most familiar faces behind Southside Bakery no longer work there. Billy and Denny Guilbeaux worked at the bakery for almost ten years. KATC found out one reason they're gone is because they're being sued by the bakery they helped build.
Over the past decade, if you walked into Southside Bakery, most likely Billy Guilbeaux would have been helping you at the front and you might have seen his identical twin brother Denny baking in the back.
"We worked in the restaurant business since we were two years old-carrying around brooms and sweeping in the old bakery," Billy said. "In 2002, we went to our dad and said we wanted to open up a hamburger place and a sandwich shop."
So their family formed Southside Bakery. The parents own 51 percent and the twins 49 percent. They've been operating out of a space in the South College Shopping Center since opening day.
Billy said they were busy, "breaking concrete, sweeping and remodeling the interior of the building," to get ready for their first day of business.
The bakery opened in 2003 and over the years has received national recognition. Denny and Billy's mom as well as their sisters all work there, but over the past six months, the twins have been missing and a lawsuit is pending between the father and his sons.
The falling out began in 2008, when according to court documents the twins asked for more compensation than their sisters.
The twins said as part owners, they worked hard from 4 in the morning until closing time six days a week.
The twins also allege through court filings, their father's behavior and spending habits were erratic saying he would threaten to purchase new property before Southside's lease expired and started scouting out new locations in 2007.
They asked to buy their father out of the business to protect themselves. Court documents filed on behalf of the twins said they were refused and were then stripped of their power. They lost their keys and lost the right to spend any money on the company's behalf.
Denny said, "you try to do the best you can to please them and you can't give anything else. You've done everything to please them and it doesn't please them, it's hard."
The father's suit claims the twins approached Rees Realty Corporation, the company who leases out the Southside Bakery space, in early 2011.
The twins allege in their court response, it didn't happen like that, instead the realtor approached them, asking if they'd like to sign a lease on their behalf and under their own company name when Southside Bakery's lease expired in February 2012.
Last February, while still working at Southside Bakery, the twins formed Southside Burgers, LLC. They later changed the name to Twins Burgers and Sweets.
Billy and Denny argue in their court documents, they weren't under contract and there was no non-compete.
Their employment ended in June and July 2011. It's unclear why.
Billy said, "We no longer were employed by Southside Bakery; we were let go. A lot of things we missed out in our 20s and to me that's hard because now we don't have anything."
The lawsuit said in August, Billy and Denny's father found out his lease would not be renewed as of March 2012.
A lawsuit was then filed against his sons and Rees Realty Corp. for developing quote "a plan to rob Southside of its location and steal the business"
"We don't want to sue anyone, much less have our father sue us," Billy said. "We just want to do something for ourselves, basically like we set out to do in the beginning and what better name than Twins Burgers and Sweets because we are twins."
They hope one day, they can have a relationship with their father again.
"With our whole family situation, I hope one day everything can get back to normal or better than it was even when it was normal," Billy said. "Come away with this as a winning family."
Southside Bakery's attorney was hoping to delay Twins Burgers and Sweets from moving into the space on March 1, 2012 by filing an injunction. This case was scheduled to go to court January 17th, but Southside's attorney asked to remove the case from the docket and continue without a date hearing.
KATC reached out to Sammy Guilbeaux and Southside Bakery, but they didn't want to comment on camera. We did however get the following statement from Southside's attorney, Camille Poche:
"Southside Bakery, Inc. has filed a lawsuit against two of its shareholders, Denny Guilbeaux and Billy Guilbeaux, alleging that they have breached their fiduciary duties to Southside Bakery, and against Southside's landlord, Rees Realty Corporation, alleging that Rees has breached its duty of good faith and fair dealing to Southside Bakery. These claims arise from the defendants' efforts to force Southside Bakery to abandon its existing location in South College Shopping Center, from which it has served the Lafayette community since 2003.
In addition, Denny and Billy have threatened to open a business in competition with Southside and to improperly use Southside Bakery's proprietary and confidential recipes. Southside Bakery's suit seeks injunctive relief to enjoin the defendants from continuing these actions and for damages sustained by Southside Bakery as a result of their actions.
Despite the pending litigation and regardless of the outcome, Southside Bakery and the Guilbeaux family will continue their long-standing tradition of selling high quality cakes, pastries, baked goods and the famous "Southside Burgers" with the same great service that their customers have come to know and love."
As of now the lease is still set to expire at the end of February and Twins Burgers and Sweets is scheduled to take over the lease March 1.