Category Archives: Bankruptcy

Chit Chat Holdings files Chapter 11 bankruptcy to settle billing dispute

UPDATED– Chit Chat Holdings has filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy as a way to settle a billing dispute, says John Hennessy, a member of the company.

“It’s a discrepancy in billing with Sprint,” he says. “A big one.”

Hennessy won’t give specific numbers, but he says the dispute is over “several hundred thousand dollars” of data usage.

“It’s real complicated,” Hennessy says.

Chit Chat used to have retail outlets but now is a mobile virtual network operator. That means it is distributing phone service by buying service through major telecommunications companies and repackaging and selling it.

Late last year, Chit Chat began service in New York City and other East Coast areas through a company that Sprint purchased.

“We didn’t receive the billing information in a timely manner,” Hennessy says.

He says information about data usage came more than 60 days late.

Chit Chat has a monitoring company that monitors usage.

“This monitoring company didn’t receive this information either,” Hennessy says. “And consequently it left us holding the bag.”

Sprint spokeswoman Stephanie Vinge Walsh won’t discuss specifics of the situation.

“While we aren’t commenting at this time on the details of this customer relationship, we value our wholesale customers, including Chit Chat, and work hard to support them,” she said via e-mail.

“Sprint is trying to tell us that we’re responsible … for that usage, and we’re telling them, ‘No, we’re not,’” Hennessy says.

“We couldn’t come to any satisfactory resolution to this issue,” he says. “It’s too big to just pay and walk away from.”

Hennessy says Chit Chat has a good relationship with Sprint’s sales department.

“These big entities like this, you’re dealing with different groups and different branches within the companies,” he says. “It’s not like you’re dealing with one individual that has complete control over a company.”

Hennessy says Chit Chat can’t sue Sprint without jeopardizing its contract with the company.

“There’s different conditions that they can breach your contract,” he says. “We still spend a lot of money with them.”

Hennessy says the bankruptcy filing is about finding some common ground.

“The only place we’re going to be able to work it out is in a Chapter 11,” he says.

“There was no other options for us to do besides this,” Hennessy says, “… besides pay a bill that we don’t feel like we owe.”

He says without the data information coming in regularly, customers were able to take advantage of the situation.

“What happens is you have people who abuse the system,” Hennessy says.

“I had people using 10 gigs a day,” he says. “How somebody uses 300 gigs a month, we don’t understand what they were doing.”

Hennessy says he thinks the bankruptcy filing will resolve the issue.

“It’s a whole different ball game now that we’re in,” he says.

“Then you can move forward. You can go ahead with your relationship.”

Ackerman out, Salmeron back in at Complete Landscaping Systems

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.”

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Get A Move On to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy; owner to form new franchise company

UPDATED — Get A Move On owner Paul Wells filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy for his business about a week ago, but a lot has changed since then.

Wells now plans to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy personally, because he guaranteed the loan on his office, and start a new company to franchise the business. Current employee Eric Kimler is the first franchisee.

Wells says a lot happened to lead him to this decision.

“There’s a long story behind that.”

Wells says issues started at his almost 20-year-old company in 2003 when he settled a trademark infringement lawsuit over the name of his moving company, Two Guys and A Truck, with the national company Two Men & A Truck. He changed his company’s name to Get A Move On.

“To this date we still get phone calls,” Wells says of people looking for Two Guys and A Truck.

Then, Two Men & A Truck entered the Wichita market.

“They really capitalized on our past name when they came here,” Wells says.

Another new competitor opened as well.

Wells says with new competitors, “somebody’s going to lose.”

Then the recession and housing market crash hit. Wells says sales went down about 40 percent.

“We weren’t doing so hot financially.”

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Complete Landscaping files Chapter 11, is hopeful for large new contract

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.

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Suede owner files Chapter 11 bankruptcy

WICHITA — Disc Heat LLC, which does business as Suede, has filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

“It’s a long story,” owner Ed Banda said when first contacted about the filing.

In a follow-up e-mail, Banda said he wanted to make only one statement:

“I was forced to take action due to pending litigations in order to protect suede and remain fully operational.”

Look for more details in the coming weeks.

Melange Custom Jewelry to reopen

UPDATED — When the state forced Melange Custom Jewelry out of business in January, owner Leslie Kinder told Have You Heard?: “At some point, I guess I’ll just regroup, get back together and start another store.”

That’s exactly what she’s done, although instead of starting a new store, Kinder is reopening Melange at its former space in Delano at 718 W. Douglas.

“I’m still kind of running around happy that I got my keys back,” Kinder says.

She’s reopening June 12 and will be open half days most afternoons except for Sunday and Monday.

Kinder says she filed Chapter 13 to reorganize and is working out a plan with the state to pay more than $40,000 in back taxes.

Appraisals will be a new focus of the business.

“Until I was outside the store, I didn’t realize there was a need for somebody … to go and help people with estates and things like that,” Kinder says.

In addition to making monthly payments to the state, Kinder says she’ll raise the bulk of what she owes through a three-day sale to liquidate stock in the next month or two.

“I’m glad they’re going to let me do the sale in my own way.”

Kinder says she’ll let us know the date of the sale soon.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee Laurie Williams to move to the Garvey Center

WICHITA — Reluctantly, Chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee Laurie Williams has to move her office.

“When I moved here, I really had hoped to not have to move again,” she says of her 2,300 square feet at 225 N. Market.

“I love this space and its proximity to my courthouse, but my caseload has grown, and I’m just out of room.”

Williams is moving her office to 5,800 square feet at the R.H. Garvey Building at 300 W. Douglas.

The new office will allow for more files and employees.

Williams, who makes recommendations on whether Chapiter 13 plans should be approved and then administers them, has almost 2,900 cases.

Currently, she has 12 employees.

“I hope to add two more,” she says.

Larry Weber represented the Garvey Center in the deal, and Patrick Ahern of Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial Group represented Williams.

The new office will be ready in late summer.

B&C Barbecue owner files for bankruptcy

WICHITA — B&C Barbecue owner Carey Maurer has filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but he says it won’t affect his restaurant.

Maurer, who took over the restaurant at 355 N. Washington from his late parents, has unresolved tax issues dating back at least to 2008.

At the time, he owed almost $52,000.

He lists liabilities of $49,152 for his bankruptcy, but Maurer says that’s not what he owes in taxes.

“Who knows what the right figures are.”

Maurer says he’s simply reorganizing now.

“We’ll get it all figured out, I guess.”

Owner of former Golf USA in Derby files bankruptcy

WICHITA — Golf USA owner Howard Love has filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy for the Golf USA store he closed in Derby in December.

“It doesn’t have anything to do with the Newton store,” Love says.

He opened Golf USA of Newton at Chisholm Trail Center-Outlet & Retail Shops in 2008.

The Derby store was open three years.

“Absolutely business was tough down there,” Love says. “It just wasn’t working out.”

The bankruptcy filing doesn’t stipulate how much Love owes except that it is between $100,001 and $500,000.

Love, who says business in Newton is “great,” is hesitant to discuss the bankruptcy.

“It was just a business decision.”

Brooklyn’s Chophouse & Brew Tavern owner faces lawsuit and bankruptcy

WICHITA — Last week, Brooklyn’s Chophouse & Brew Tavern owner David Chaffin said he was selling memorabilia left from when the business was Players Sports Bar & Grill in a restructuring effort to pay debt.

It turns out the restructuring is a little more serious than that.

Chaffin is about to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and the Bank of Kansas is suing him for more than $1.7 million plus almost $60,000 in interest.

“This is just business,” Chaffin says of the bank having to protect itself “in writing.”

He thinks the memorabilia sale is what prompted the lawsuit.

“I think that forced their hand,” Chaffin says.

Bank president Pat Gearhart declined to comment on the lawsuit.

The person who loaned Chaffin the money for the memorabilia has a lien on it for about $130,000, Chaffin says. He says any proceeds from the Feb. 8 sale will then go to the bank.

“They just had to make sure they get that,” Chaffin says.

“We will work it out with the bank. There’s no advantage for the bank to foreclose on us.”