Category Archives: Lawsuits

Profinium Inc. files foreclosure suit against Real Development

UPDATED — Minnesota-based Profinium Inc. has filed suit against Real Development and its principals, Michael Elzufon and Dave Lundberg, to foreclose on a few pieces of property they own here.

“It’s not nearly as icky as it might sound,” Elzufon says.

“Profinium’s great people,” he says. “We have a very long … and very good relationship with this bank.”

At issue are portions of the Petroleum Building at 221 S. Broadway and Broadway Plaza at 105 S. Broadway.

“We owe more than they’re worth,” Lundberg says.

Elzufon says the filing is mainly about one thing for Profinium.

“They need to protect their interests.”

Also, he says, it’s “for us to continue to make our exit out of various assets that we’ve had down there.”

Lundberg says there are liens and a couple of mortgages on the properties.

“In order to clean up the title, they’re going to foreclose on it,” he says. “It’s all worked out, but they filed it anyway. Their attorney jumped the gun a little bit.”

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You don’t say

“My first place that I am not going to get married at is the Grand Chapel.”

– Sedgwick County Chairman Jim Skelton, whose upcoming marriage to Stacy Luke won’t take place at the facility he sued over his daughter’s wedding

“That’s correct, he’s not.”

– Grand Chapel owner Dennis Wilkie, who says Skelton is “a troublemaker, and I just don’t want to deal with troublemakers.”

New York’s Dermot Co. sues Wichita’s the Butler Group over roof repairs

WICHITA — A New York firm has filed a lawsuit against TB Enterprises of Wichita, which does business as the Butler Group, for what it says was improper installation of new roofs on apartment complexes it owns here.

Dermot Co. owns the Village Park apartment communities of Eastborough, Cedarbrooke, Rockborough and Woodgate. Wichita attorney Mitchell Herren says the company hired Butler to do roof work in 2009 and 2010 following hail damage.

“Basically, after the hail damage was fixed, it turned out a lot of the shingles had been falling off,” Herren says. “It appears that they were improperly installed.”

Butler founder and managing partner Adam McCollough didn’t return calls for comment.

“We are not sure yet, but it looks like the Butler might have used some subcontractors,” Herren says.

He says he’s not sure why, but “there was some kind of a communication breakdown there before I got involved.”

Herren says now Butler has a new attorney involved.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to get some better negotiations going.”

Herren says having Butler make new repairs to the roofs could be an option for his clients.

“They’re open to different options,” he says. “Whatever gets the … roofs fixed the most quickly and the most efficient way.”

MoJack Distributors sues former CEO Nate Gregory for performance issues

WICHITA — MoJack Distributors has filed a lawsuit against former president and CEO Nate Gregory due to what the suit says were performance issues.

The company formed in 2007 to produce lifts that make maintenance of riding mowers and equipment easier. The suit says MoJack then expanded its business to hand trucks and moving accessories and created a model that would allow for further expansion.

According to the suit, Gregory was hired shortly after the company formed and initially “acted in the best interest of Plaintiff and its members” as the company grew to have $40 million in business.

MoJack then “lost a major retail customer that significantly affected” business in 2012, the suit says, and around that time Gregory asked permission to invest in CN Cash for Gold.

The suit says Gregory was told that he could if it were a passive investment but that he then began focusing on buying a majority interest in CN Cash for Gold and became an active manager in the company.

The suit further says Gregory inappropriately pledged his membership units in MoJack as collateral for a bank loan to invest in CN Cash for Gold and managed it during his MoJack working hours.

In March, the suit says MoJack’s manager, Dan Drake, discovered how much Gregory had been diverting his time away from MoJack and fired him.

Gregory referred questions to his attorney, Greg Drumright.

“We’re looking forward to presenting our side of things and responding to all of the allegations,” Drumright says. “We need to wait and respond at the appropriate time, and now is not it.”

MoJack attorney Todd Shadid won’t comment either.

“I’m not going to comment beyond what’s in the petition,” he says.

Drumright won’t say what Gregory is doing these days.

“That pertains to some of the allegations,” Drumright says. “It would be inappropriate to comment about that.”

City of Udall sues Poe & Associates

WICHITA — The city of Udall has filed a lawsuit against Wichita’s Poe & Associates.

The suit, which is seeking $650,000 in damages, stems from a 2008 contract for work on the city’s new water tower. It was completed in 2009.

“They were unhappy with some of the results that they got,” says Jeff Carmichael, the Wichita attorney representing the city of Udall.

No one with Poe could be reached for comment, but Carmichael says the firm did design work on the tower and was supposed to oversee its construction.

“We believe, based on opinions we’ve received so far, that the work resulted in significantly increased water pressures … causing line breaks around the city of Udall.”

Carmichael says there are other issues and expenses, including ones related to insulation at the tower and the installation of what city officials believe is an unnecessary valve.

“We believe that there’s a number of things that need to be done,” he said.

He says city officials aren’t blaming anyone who did the work.

“No, this is an engineering issue.”

Carmichael says Udall has not been without water service due to the issues.

“They have enough water.”

He says there are “a variety of issues,” though, that aren’t acceptable.

“It’s been an unfortunate situation.”

Jerseys Grill and Bar owner owes more than $77,000 to building owners

WICHITA — The owners of the building that is home to Jerseys Grill and Bar have filed a forcible detainer petition seeking eviction against the owner and previous partners in the business.

According to the petition, Mitch Lyon, Kefford Vincent and Jordan Allbright owe more than $77,000 in rent and related charges on the business, which opened in late 2011 in the former Johnny Carino’s space near K-96 and Webb Road.

“Actually, we’ve already got it worked out, and I’m surprised it hasn’t been taken off of there,” says Lyon, who says he’s the sole owner of the business.

He says he fired Vincent two weeks after the business opened and fired Allbright more than a year ago. Neither Vincent nor Allbright could be reached for comment.

There was a hearing regarding the petition on Aug. 14. Lyon didn’t attend.

“I wasn’t aware of that,” he says. “I didn’t know.”

Lyon says the building’s majority owner, Warren Daniel, is a champion of Jerseys.

“Warren . . . has been a hero of ours,” Lyon says. “He voted not to do what these other people did.”

Daniel has Transamerica Equity Corp. in Scottsdale, Ariz., and says that’s the largest owner in the Jerseys building.

Speaking on behalf of himself, and not the large group of other owners, Daniel says he considers the situation almost resolved.

“Basically, we’re trying to negotiate a longer-term lease,” he says. “Everything’s been negotiated and agreed on.”

He thinks the negotiations didn’t happen quickly enough to prevent the petition.

“I guess the time ran out on negotiations, is what triggered that,” Daniel says. “It’s squared away.”

Lyon says he negotiated to reduce his rent from about $10,000 a month to $5,000 a month.

“We just revisit every quarter,” he says.

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DeBoer says he was close to settling lawsuit with former employees, but now that’s off

WICHITA — Hotel developer Jack DeBoer says he was close to settling the lawsuit his Hotel at Old Town filed against two former employees who left for the Ambassador Hotel, but he says that’s now changed.

“They’ve made an offer to settle, and finally I was ready to do it,” DeBoer says of his former general manager Sheila Cole and former director of sales Amy Grossman, who now have the same positions at the Ambassador.

The lawsuit, which was filed in June, alleges breach of fiduciary duty, the destruction of evidence and the misappropriation of trade secrets, among other things.

DeBoer says Cole has now hired his head of housekeeping, front desk manager and one other employee.

“Sheila to do that, it’s unconscionable,” DeBoer says. “Hell, the lawsuit’s still out there.”

That’s why DeBoer says he changed his mind about settling.

“I said, ‘To hell with it. Let’s leave it out there.’ People don’t think.”

Terry Malone, the attorney who represents Cole and Grossman, says he wasn’t aware DeBoer was ever close to settling.

“As is typical of all lawsuits, there has been some … settlement negotiation and discussion,” he says. “I’ve had no indication that they’re close.”

Malone says he has been dealing with DeBoer’s attorney and not DeBoer, but he says what’s been suggested in negotiations is that everything should remain confidential. He says that’s how he’d like to keep it.

To say much more, he says, “Frankly, I think it would be inappropriate.”

Malone says he’s not sure about other employees Cole may have hired.

Regardless, he says Cole has done nothing “that is wrong or in violation of any law or contract.”

“I do not know why he would be angry,” Malone says of DeBoer. “People change jobs all of the time.”

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A-OK Enterprises sues Joseph Hollander & Craft over incorrectly filed lawsuits

WICHITA — Bruce Harris and his A-OK Enterprises have sued Joseph Hollander & Craft, a past attorney for the company, but no one with the law firm is disputing wrongdoing.

“We knew eventually we were going to get real embarrassed about this, and the time has arrived,” says attorney Steve Joseph.

“We screwed up.”

The issue is over lawsuits that the firm filed to collect from A-OK customers who defaulted on payday loans. The suits were supposed to have been filed under a payday loan statute. Instead, Joseph says they were filed under a worthless check statute. The bank commissioner penalized A-OK $20,000 for the mistake.

Harris doesn’t have a comment on the situation.

“It’s understandable how this would happen unless you look at this from hindsight,” Joseph says. “The attorney responsible for it isn’t with us any longer.”

He says attorney Michael Priddle was fired over the incident.

“Under the law, he was our employee at the time, and we’re responsible …,” Joseph says.

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You don’t say

“We made a mistake using an out-of-town vendor. Looking back, definitely work with someone local on LEDs.”

Genesis Health Clubs owner Rodney Steven, who is suing what he calls an unresponsive out-of-state company that he says installed such faulty LED lights that he’s had to revert to the traditional lighting he previously had

County Commissioner Jim Skelton and Grand Chapel owner Dennis Wilkie trade insults over financial dispute

WICHITA — Payment for what was supposed to be a joyous wedding in July is now cause for an acrimonious court date instead.

At issue is almost $3,000 that County Commissioner Jim Skelton says one of his daughters paid to the Grand Chapel to reserve wedding space. He says she decided to hold the event elsewhere and now can’t get back the money, some of which he says is from her savings and some of which he says he paid.

“This guy’s an idiot,” says Grand Chapel owner Dennis Wilkie. “He’s trying to wiggle out of this.”

Wilkie says he would have been willing to work with the bride if her father hadn’t been so rude.

“He was trying to use his political office to … try to strong-arm me to give him all his money back,” Wilkie says. “The minute somebody starts trying to bully me, I take a pretty firm position myself.”

Skelton says a small claims court already sided with him but that Wilkie appealed to district court.

“He made some statements that I will look forward to him clarifying in court,” Skelton says.

He calls Wilkie’s comments “pretty weird” and “disappointing,” and Skelton says he particularly takes exception to Wilkie’s claim that he’s abusing his elected office.

“That just sounds crazy and unreasonable,” Skelton says. “I guess if that’s his best defense on this matter, then I look forward to winning twice, which is better than winning once.”

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