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Starbucks among group claiming Patrick Dempsey unfairly charmed coffee chain auctioneers

By Daniel S Levine,

Starbucks and other rivals are hoping to stop actor Patrick Dempsey’s group from completing its purchase of Tully’s coffee to save the Washington-based company from shutting down. They say that the charming actor, who plays Dr. Derek Shepherd on Grey’s Anatomy, managed to win even though he didn’t put in the highest bid.

Last month, Dempsey joined a group hoping to save Tully’s, which has locations in Washington and California. Then, last week, the group won the company with a $9.15 million bid, beating out Starbucks. The move was praised throughout Seattle, which was excited to see a local company survive.

However, The Wall Street Journal reports that Starbucks and the other losers aren’t going down without a fight. Starbucks and another company say that they put in $10.5 million bids, but they were ignored due to his "McDreamy" charm. They took their complaints to U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Seattle on Friday.

The attorneys of a Denver company that bid $4.3 million said that Dempsey’s group “may have impeded financing for qualified bidders and creates the appearance that its bid was favored.”

Still, Tully’s Chief Executive Scott Pearson has praised Dempsey for saving the company and 480 jobs.

“Many Tully’s customers strongly prefer, and paid for a Tully’s product, as opposed to Starbucks,” Pearson said in court documents Thursday, ushering the court to approve the deal.

According to The Seattle Times, Pearson also has to fight Tully’s founder Tom O’Keefe, who wanted to keep the auction going. In his Thursday filing, Pearson said that O’Keefe had no stake in the company’s actions.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, which supplies Tully’s coffee, is also a player and could have delayed the proceedings if Starbucks won. However, it said that it would work with Dempsey AgriNature, another company that tried to buy Tully’s.

 

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