J.V. Johnston takes Newman University job and keeps ownership in Johnston’s

jvWICHITA — J.V. Johnston is the new vice president of institutional advancement at Newman University, which means he’s now the former president of Johnston’s, the men’s clothier at his Collective development just east of 21st and Greenwich.

“I’m leaving because I’m able to leave,” says Johnston, who will remain an owner in the business.

He says he’s been delegating more and more the last several years.

“One day, I came in, and I said, ‘I don’t have anything to do,’” he says. “I really kind of delegated myself out of a job.”

He didn’t have any intentions to work at Newman, though, until he felt a calling.

“It may sound squirrely,” Johnston says. “I’m religious. I’m not fanatical. I never had a calling. This time I did.”

Before he got that higher calling, though, Johnston heard from Bob Simpson, his friend who owns Simpson Construction Services.

Simpson told Johnston about the open position and the qualities the school was looking for in that potential employee.

“I’ll get you some names,” Johnston told him.

Simpson made it clear he had someone else in mind for the job.

“He leans over the table and says, ‘I’m looking at him.’”

Johnston says he “really felt like someone hit me with a club over the head, and I was going to fall out of the chair.”

He asked president Noreen Carrocci if she would consider him. She advised he get a resume for starters.

“I never had a resume, which is weird.”

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Collective Merchants Association sues salon owner and developer Sami Halaseh

WICHITA — Salon owner and developer Sami Halaseh is in a dispute with Collective developer and Johnston’s owner J.V. Johnston.

The Collective Merchants Association has filed a lawsuit against Halaseh’s Jordan’s Place LLC.

Halaseh bought ground at the Collective, which is at East 21st Street and K-96, where he then brought Soho Salon and Mini Dental Implant Centers of America. He’s also negotiating to bring a 4,000-square-foot medical spa there.

The lawsuit is over maintenance fees for things like mowing, snow removal and the operation of fountains on the property. The merchants association is suing for $11,400 in nonpayment of those services, plus interest and attorney’s fees.

“I’m doing my own maintenance,” Halaseh says. “I’m just basically separating myself from the Collective area. That’s the dispute.”

Halaseh says he never signed anything agreeing to maintenance.

“Yeah, he signed it,” Johnston says.

“When you buy the land, you sign it just like a homeowner’s situation,” Johnston says.

“He just doesn’t want to pay. He said, ‘I’m going to take care of it myself,’ and I said, ‘No, you can’t.’ ”

Halaseh doesn’t think Johnston and the association have a case.

“I said, ‘If you want to do it that way, fine, we’ll take it to court,’ ” he says.

Johnston says the association continues to take care of all of the Collective property, including Halaseh’s.

“He’s a nice guy,” Johnston says, “but I wish he’d pay.”