WICHITA — A Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing is the latest twist in what’s been an ongoing financial and legal struggle for Complete Landscaping Systems.
“I’ve taken a look at the gross revenues of the company, which are pretty substantial,” attorney David Eron says. “I think we’ve got plenty to work with to turn this thing around.”
In early September, it looked like Complete Landscaping had sold most of its assets to Wichita attorney Rick Hodge, who said he wanted to expand his Yard Concerns landscaping business.
Eron says what happened with Hodge is “a sensitive question.”
“Bottom line is there never was a final agreement with Rick Hodge,” Eron says.
“It was just immediately apparent that this deal with Rick was absolutely not going to come anywhere close to taking care of the financial issues the company had,” he says. “I personally told him the deal was done, and it was not going to go forward.”
The first hearing in the bankruptcy case is Wednesday.
“There’s certain things we have to do in order to continue operating the business,” Eron says. The point is to “try to get some time where we don’t have to worry about all the lawsuits.”
There are about 35 lawsuits again Complete Landscaping, mostly from local and some out-of-state vendors.
“Really, most of the debt problems generally are fallout from the Bank of America contract,” Eron says.
Complete Landscaping had a contract to do work for Bank of America nationally but then filed a lawsuit against the company related to what it said were unpaid accounts.
“Several million dollars were lost on the Bank of America deal,” Eron says.
Complete Landscaping has dropped the suit for now, he says, because the bank’s “army” of attorneys “just papered the heck out of Complete Landscaping.”
The company also has unpaid taxes, but Eron isn’t sure of the amount.
Complete Landscaping no longer is looking to sell, Eron says, though “of course if there was some kind of white knight … then sure, we’d look at it.”
There is some potential good news on the horizon for the company.
“There’s one substantial contract out there that could really make a big difference,” Eron says. “It could just be a huge boon to the company and its creditors.”
He says he doesn’t want to say too much and risk spoiling the deal.
“Then we could be tanking our reorganization before we get in there.”
Eron adds, “Even without new contracts, I think we’ve got a decent platform for reorganization.”