Category Archives: Lawsuits

You don’t say

“I did get all the files back after spending all that money.”

Jack DeBoer on why he dropped his lawsuit against two former Hotel at Old Town employees, who he said took files with them to the Ambassador Hotel

“My client denies any wrongdoing whatsoever. … The parties chose to enter into a confidential settlement agreement to resolve their differences. … So, under the circumstances, no further comment is really appropriate.”

Terry Malone, the attorney for Ambassador general manager Sheila Cole and director of sales Amy Grossman, who used to hold the same positions at the Hotel at Old Town


Orpheum Office Building owners association sues Randy Johnston and Hubris Communications

WICHITA — Chris Owen and Randy Johnston purchased the fourth floor of the Orpheum Office Building for a steal last summer, but it’s been anything but a bargain since then.

“We saw this and thought it might be a deal, and it turned out to be a really good deal, or so we thought,” Owen says.

“They think they did their homework, but they didn’t,” says Ram Mofsowitz, president of the building’s owners association.

At issue is the way utilities, janitorial services and other common expenses are calculated. The owners association has sued Johnston and Hubris Communications, where Owen is founder and president.

“Hubris is not involved in any way,” Owen says. “That’s a fishing expedition, and they know it.”

Owen and Johnston purchased the floor for $3,000 at a sheriff’s auction. Owen says they expected to have some fees associated with owning the floor.

“We obviously have no problem with that.”

He says the association divides costs of such things as electricity among owners of the building’s seven floors even though he and Johnston now have a separate meter for their floor.

“This makes no sense,” Owen says.

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Brad Pistotnik sues brother and former firm

WICHITA — Attorney Brad Pistotnik, who earlier this month left the Affiliated Attorneys of Pistotnik Law Offices to start Brad Pistotnik Law, has sued his former practice in Sedgwick County District Court. The suit also names his brother, Brian, who Brad Pistotnik previously said he’s practiced law with “forever.”

“It’s a pretty boring suit,” says Chuck Millsap, Brad Pistotnik’s attorney. “It’s simply a statutory method of dissolving a 50-50 corporation.”

Neither Pistotnik returned a call for comment.

“There’s nothing particularly exciting about it other than they’re two brothers,” Millsap says. “It’s a corporate maneuver to dissolve a corporation … when you’ve got two 50-50 shareholders who have differing ideas about how to manage the company.”

So were those differing philosophies what led to the split?

“I’m not going to talk about that, and I don’t think they are either,” Millsap says.

In the suit, Brad Pistotnik says he’s still a half owner of the firm where his brother remains and that he and his brother “are unable to agree upon the desirability of dissolving the Corporation and the disposition of the corporate assets.”

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Rock Island Studios sues city over CityArts construction

WICHITA — Rock Island Studios has sued Wichita for its construction of CityArts a decade ago.

Rock Island is a photography studio in Old Town Square owned by Don Siedhoff, who has Beyond Napa at Rock Island Studios next door.

Neither Siedhoff nor the city are talking, but the suit says the issue is that the city “knowingly allowed and/or directed its contractors to install concrete structural footings underground on plaintiff’s property, directly underneath the building located on plaintiff’s property.”

The suit says the city didn’t have an easement, license, permission or anything else that would have allowed for the footings.

Rock Island claims it has the power of eminent domain and is entitled to fair compensation along with interest and legal fees.

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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