Category Archives: Lawsuits

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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TJ’s Burger House owner John Abdayem wants to erase confusion over restaurant

UPDATED — It’s been more than nine months since TJ’s Burger House owner John Abdayem has been gone from his east-side TJ’s, but customers are still confused about his role there, especially now that the restaurant has closed.

Abdayem wants to be clear about a couple of things. Most importantly, he says, his Delano TJ’s remains open.

The former TJ’s that was on the east side at Harry and Webb recently closed, but it’s been since May that Abdayem was there. The circumstances surrounding his departure are in dispute.

Abdayem says he hadn’t planned on leaving but that his landlord, Homer Morgan, unexpectedly locked him out. Morgan’s attorney, Ed Robinson, says Abdayem broke his lease and left owing Morgan about $32,000.

“What actually happened is entirely different than what he’s describing,” Robinson says.

He says Morgan sued Abdayem in Sedgwick County District Court, and Abdayem has brought a counterclaim.

Abdayem says that until a week ago when it closed, the restaurant continued to operate as Burger House, which he says led some people to think he was still there.

Regardless of the legal situation and its outcome, Abdayem says he continues to get questions from customers and wants everyone to understand the situation and that it’s not related to his Delano restaurant.

Cafe Bel Ami resolves its lawsuit over parking at the O’Rourke Title Building

UPDATED — Cafe Bel Ami’s parking situation at the O’Rourke Title Building finally is resolved, although so far no one is sharing details.

Restaurant owner Nabil Bacha filed a lawsuit against his landlord at the building at 229 E. William after reserved signs were placed on certain parking spots that he says his customers have a right to use.

Through an e-mail, Simon Palmer Properties says there’s now “an amicable resolution,” although president Troy Palmer won’t elaborate on it.

Bacha didn’t return calls for comment, but his attorney, Harry Najim, says, “It is a fair and equitable resolution of the lawsuit.”

The Simon Palmer e-mail regarding the resolution says: “The building owners are pleased to have one of Wichita’s Finest Downtown Restaurant as a long-term tenant.”

Cafe Bel Ami owner sues landlord and property manager over parking

WICHITA — The owner of Cafe Bel Ami is in a parking dispute with his landlord and the company that manages the O’Rourke Title Building at 229 E. William, where the downtown restaurant is located.

Nabil Bacha filed a lawsuit in Sedgwick County District Court after reserved signs were placed on certain parking spots that he says his customers have a right to use.

Harry Najim, Bacha’s lawyer, says his client has nonexclusive use of the entire parking lot during certain hours and that reserved signs hinder that.

He says customers “don’t want to go in the restaurant and come back and find their car gone.”

Troy Palmer, president of Simon Palmer Properties, says he can’t discuss the dispute much beyond saying that there is one.

“We really hope to have it resolved before Friday,” he says. “We’re still kind of negotiating.”

There’s a temporary restraining order that forced Palmer to remove the reserved signs for now. A hearing is set for Friday.

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Terradyne Country Club and residential partners in lawsuit over financial dispute

UPDATED — The partners in Terradyne Country Club and Terradyne Residential are in a financial dispute that has led to a lawsuit against one another.

CS Ventures, which is Craig and Christy Smith, and Terradyne Residential have filed a lawsuit in Sedgwick County District Court against partners Jerry Slack, Earle Evans and Wichita-based BGS Cos.

“It’s just that some of the partners … have not paid their part of the cash calls,” Craig Smith says. “We’ve been patiently waiting and waiting.”

Evans says he and Slack have paid.

“We feel like we’re not getting full credit on it for what we did,” he says.

Evans says the first he heard of the suit is when a reporter told him about it.

“I’m amazed because I talked to Craig Smith … yesterday. He never said anything,” Evans says.

“That can’t be true because he’s signed receipt of it,” Smith says.

Regardless, Evans says he’s not pleased.

“There probably will be some repercussions on that.”

Meaning a possible countersuit?

“Could be. I don’t know.”

A 10-person partnership formed in 2006 to buy Terradyne out of bankruptcy, and Smith and his lawyer, Harvey Sorensen, say initially it did well.

“They had a positive cash flow excluding capital expenditures,” Sorensen says.

“They invested a lot of money in redeveloping the course and redeveloping the clubhouse and getting the residential development ready to go, and then the world collapsed.”

He says, “There are several people who wanted to ride the elevator up but wanted to get off when it started to go down.”

During the difficult times, Sorensen says the club and residential development’s losses were funded through only about half of the owners.

“We have started a campaign to remind the noncontributing members of their obligations. We expect to be in contact with several prominent members of the community who have not paid their fair share.”

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Property owners file lawsuit against Casey Bachrodt claiming mismanagement and breach of fiduciary responsibility

WICHITA — Various entities, all partially owned by Summit Holdings LLC, have filed a lawsuit in Sedgwick County District Court against developer Casey Bachrodt.

Summit’s five shareholders also own Key Construction.

The suit claims Bachrodt mismanaged six properties in which he also was an owner.

“We feel like he didn’t fulfill his fiduciary responsibility,” says John Walker, Summit administrator and member.

Bachrodt didn’t return calls for comment.

The relationship between Bachrodt and Summit goes back at least a decade.

Starting in October, Summit began removing Bachrodt from managing its properties, including two strip centers in Andover, one in Emporia, one in Texas and two office buildings on and near Rock Road in Wichita.

Walker says Bachrodt didn’t market the properties properly or do a good job keeping tenants or being responsive to them.

“It’s been an ongoing problem, and we weren’t able to control it and get all the details we needed until we took (the properties) over,” Walker says.

Builders Inc. now manages the properties, which Walker says “has been a very good move for us.”

 

 

BRIC Development sues Yellowbook over rent

WICHITA — BRIC Development, the group that owned the former Feist Publications building near K-96 and Webb until December, is suing former tenant Yellowbook.

“It’s just a failure to pay rent,” says Eric Metz, BRIC’s attorney.

Metz says in 2001, Feist signed a lease with BRIC, which built the building for the company. In 2004, Yellowbook acquired Feist and eventually took over the lease.

“Basically, there’s unpaid rent for approximately 16 months,” Metz says.

No one with Yellowbook could immediately be reached for comment.

This isn’t the first time BRIC sued Yellowbook. In 2007, BRIC filed a lawsuit over what it claimed was Yellowbook’s failure to pay almost $200,000 in property taxes, which the group said was holding up refinancing of its loan on the property.

Yellowbook also faced a lawsuit from Feist in 2009 for what Feist claimed was a violation of the purchase agreement that set a five-year period allowing Yellowbook to use the Feist name.