WICHITA — Peter Salmeron is back at Complete Landscaping Systems – the company he founded in 1983 then sold in 2010 – but it’s unclear how long he’ll remain or what will happen with the troubled business.
Laura Ackerman purchased Complete Landscaping around the time she and Salmeron were briefly married. Since then the business has been mired in various lawsuits and has struggled financially. Ackerman then declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year.
“The bankruptcy attorney asked me to come into the business because he felt that Laura is not competent,” says Salmeron, who returned Jan. 15.
“I don’t want to harm her … but I can tell you the company has really suffered a lot,” he says. “The company has gone from one of the leading companies in Wichita to one … in Chapter 11.”
Ackerman, who says she resigned Friday and turned over her stock, blames Salmeron for the company’s current situation.
“Peter sold a bill of goods that he could take over all finances,” she says. “I have no control of the finances, and it’s going to fail.”
She says Salmeron hasn’t made payroll or insurance payments since he’s been back.
“It’s because she hasn’t generated any money to pay anything,” Salmeron says. “That’s why they have asked me to come back and see if I can save the company.”
Salmeron says he’s still assessing the situation, and he says he’s not been able to make payments.
“It really surprises me that she’s blaming me for this because I haven’t done anything,” he says. “How can that be? Does that make sense to you?”
Salmeron says he’s also surprised how much subcontracting work Complete Landscaping is doing for Ackerman’s husband’s company, Michael’s Complete Lawn Care.
“She has managed to give a lot of our work to him.”
Salmeron says no one asked Ackerman to resign.
He isn’t discussing whether he’ll remain permanently or own the company again.
“The reputation of the company unfortunately is not as good as it used to be,” Salmeron says.
He does see hope for the business, though.
“I think that the company can bounce back, but this is something that is not going to happen overnight.”