Watercress developer faces charges in dispute with Fiddler’s Cove developer

WICHITA — A dispute between two Maize developers has escalated to charges being filed against one of them.

Watercress developer and lawyer LewJene Schneider has an April 4 court date over charges that were filed in September.

Neither Schneider nor her lawyer will comment on the situation because of her pending court date.

Schneider faces misdemeanor theft and damage of property charges in Maize Municipal Court for allegedly taking a competitor’s signs from city property near her development.

“We finally decided we’ve got to put a stop to this,” says Fiddler’s Cove developer Bob Scott. “Our real estate signs have disappeared for three years in a row.”

Scott says he placed directional signs on a city easement to help people find Fiddler’s Cove, which is accessible only through Watercress, near 37th and Maize Road.

Scott says he complained to police when the signs began disappearing and eventually started calling daily to complain. Finally, he says, police used a surveillance camera to figure out what was going on.

“They called and said, ‘We have the problem solved,’ ” Scott says. “I knew who it was all the time. … There was no motivation for anybody else to do it.”

Scott says he and Schneider have had several differences.

“We’ve had many conversations in the last three years, and it’s not a friendly conversation.”

Scott says he’s paid about $250,000 toward road and other improvements near the entrance of Watercress. He says part of that money went toward the Watercress sign, which he says he spent because he thought there was an agreement to eventually have a sign for Fiddler’s Cove.

“I made the agreement,” Scott says. “It was my fault.”

Gerald Woodard, Schneider’s brother-in-law, fellow Watercress developer and Maize planning commissioner, won’t comment except to address the legality of whether Scott should have placed the signs.

“At the time the charges were filed, it was illegal for signs to be placed in the city of Maize right-of-way,” Woodard says. “That’s where these signs were.”

Scott says Schneider had no right to remove or take the signs.

He says he’s not out for revenge, though.

“I don’t like this sort of thing, but on the other hand, I’ve had enough.”