Law firm files suit against Complete Landscaping citing breach of contract

WICHITA — In a lawsuit filed last week, a Texas law firm claims Wichita’s Complete Landscaping has failed to pay more than $143,000 that it last month signed a consent agreement to pay.

Loewinsohn Flegle Deary filed the lawsuit in Sedgwick County District Court.

According to the suit, Complete Landscaping hired the firm in 2009 to represent it in another lawsuit, which “was successfully settled in approximately October 2010.”

An exhibit in the current lawsuit shows that Complete Landscaping president Laura McMurray signed a consent agreement on Sept. 9 to pay $143,251.45, which is the balance for the law firm’s services.

The lawsuit says Complete Landscaping also owes $1,574.19 in interest.

McMurray and her in-house legal counsel declined comment.

No one with Loewinsohn Flegle Deary returned a call for comment.

Developer Casey Bachrodt faces lawsuit on Waterfront property

WICHITA — Simmons First National Bank has filed a lawsuit against developer Casey Bachrodt to foreclose on property he owns at the Waterfront.

“Well, it will not get to that stage, I will promise you that,” Bachrodt says.

The suit, filed this week in Sedgwick County District Court, also names Waterfront Office Park Development LLC, Bric Waterfront LLC and Andover State Bank.

Bachrodt has eight buildings in his Executive at the Waterfront within the Waterfront development at 13th and Webb Road.

He says the lawsuit is related to a few acres next to those buildings.

“We’re just taking care of a different type of financing on the property,” Bachrodt says.

He doesn’t want to go into details.

“It’s just not worth discussing at this time,” he says. “We’re getting it resolved.”

Bachrodt says he still plans to build on the property in the future.

“Yes, definitely.”

Real Development Corp. faces $28,000 judgment and lets corporate charter lapse

WICHITA — There’s a judgment in Sedgwick County District Court against Real Development Corp. for more than $28,000 the company owes Tax Adjustment Specialists.

As Have You Heard? reported earlier this year, Tax Adjustment Specialists helped Real Development save about $61,000 by appealing to the county to lower appraisals on a few of its downtown buildings.

“I have spoken to them, and we have a payment plan,” says Real Development’s Michael Elzufon.

“I wish to God that were true,” says Jim McIntyre, the lawyer for Tax Adjustment Specialists.

“We had a deal,” McIntyre says. “They didn’t keep their word — again.”

In the process of preparing the lawsuit, McIntyre discovered Elzufon and partner Dave Lundberg let their corporate charters for several entities — including Real Development — expire.

The Real Development charter in Minnesota, where Elzufon and Lundberg are based, has not lapsed.

McIntyre says Kansas charters cost between $25 and $2,000 to maintain depending on the amount of real estate someone has.

Elzufon says the filing lapses are news to him.

Read More »

IMA Financial Group sues former president of its Kansas City and Topeka offices and Lockton Inc. over breach of contract

WICHITA — IMA Financial Group has filed a lawsuit in Sedgwick County District Court against Douglas Anderson, former president of IMA’s Kansas City and Topeka offices, and his new company, Lockton Inc.

Anderson didn’t return a call for comment, but the lawsuit states he worked for Lockton years ago then went to another company and then to IMA in late 2006.

According to the lawsuit, in late 2009, Anderson signed a confidentiality agreement that included a two-year nonsolicitation clause.

“About one year after entering into the Agreement, Anderson began to orchestrate a scheme to resign from IMA, join Lockton, and solicit IMA’s clients to Lockton,” the suit says.

The suit further says that since Anderson left in January, at least two IMA clients canceled relationships with the company to follow Anderson to Lockton.

Earlier this month, Have You Heard? reported that the International Pizza Hut Franchise Holders Association is ending its 18-year relationship with IMA.

It’s not clear if that is one of the relationships the suit refers to.

Read More »

Glazer’s of Kansas files a lawsuit against Loosen Bros. USA, which now is giving up its search for a new distributor

WICHITA — Out-of-state liquor importer Loosen Bros. USA has learned a lesson about Kansas franchise agreements the hard way — through a lawsuit filed by Premier Beverage, which does business as Glazer’s of Kansas.

“We were attempting to change distributors,” says Kirk Wille, Loosen general manager. “We don’t think they were selling as much wine as they should be.”

Glazer’s filed a lawsuit against Loosen in Sedgwick County District Court on Dec. 20 in a fight to keep distributing the following premium wines: Dr. L Riesling, Dr. Loosen Riesling Kabinett Blue Slate, Dr. Loosen Riesling Eiswein, J. Christopher Pinot Noir, Villa Wolf Gewurztraminer, Villa Wolf Pinot Gris and Villa Wolf Riesling.

No one with Glazer’s will comment on the lawsuit.

Wille says Loosen had to choose a distributor here a few years back without knowing much about the state.

“You sign these things thinking, Oh, it’s going to be great.”

The Glazer’s in Texas is selling well for Loosen, Wille says, but the one here is not.

“Then you learn once you sign something it’s almost impossible to change,” he says.

Read More »

Hartman Arena sues wind turbine maker Enertech Inc.

nullWICHITA — Hartmoor Arena, which does business as Hartman Arena, has filed a lawsuit in Sedgwick County District Court against Newton-based Enertech Inc., the company that installed the arena’s wind turbine.

“Hartman Arena . . . was always conceived of as a green venture,” says Zoe Newton, businessman Wink Hartman Sr.’s vice president and general counsel.

“The wind turbine was supposed to be the centerpiece of our green initiative,” Newton says. “Unfortunately, the turbine has never worked or has never worked properly. Mr. Hartman was really disappointed because he was really committed to these green initiatives.”

Newton won’t go into the specifics of the case. Nor will Enertech’s attorney, Paul McCausland, though he says the turbine is working.

According to the lawsuit, here’s what arena officials claim:

The arena entered in an agreement to buy the turbine for $264,400 in October 2008 and paid a deposit of $118,980.

The arena further paid $133,822 to provide a foundation and wiring for the turbine, $19,134 to erect it and an additional $118,980 to Enertech in February 2009.

The hope was to have the turbine operational by the March 2009 Alan Jackson inaugural concert at the arena.

Read More »

Exchange Place LLC and DGL Investments LLC settle claim with Berkley Insurance

WICHITA — Exchange Place LLC and DGL Investments LLC have settled with their insurance company over 2007 damages by copper thieves to Exchange Place at Douglas and Market.

“It was extensive,” Real Development partner Dave Lundberg says of the damage, which he estimates was in the $10 million range. “Just about everything in the building, quite frankly.”

Real Development is developing the Exchange Place project.

A previously postponed trial was scheduled to start in Sedgwick County District Court on Tuesday.

Lundberg says he’s been in negotiations with Phoenix-based Berkley Insurance since the vandalism occurred.

“One of the things the insurance company said is, ‘You’re going to gut the building anyway.’ ”

Lundberg can’t discuss the settlement, though he says it was nowhere near what the damage was.

“It allows us to fix what has to be fixed in order to convert it to (a) residential project,” he says. “We’re going to wait until the project’s finally approved until we know what the final use is.”

Lundberg says the Exchange Place project is separate from Real Development’s Wichita Executive Centre project, which his company is refinancing in order to pay vendors.

He says the Exchange Place insurance money can’t be used on the other project.

Still, it’s a good start to the week for Lundberg, who has been sick with pneumonia for the past three weeks.

“We got an insurance settlement, and my pneumonia went away.”

Key Construction sues former executive vice president Pat Ayars over shares in four companies

ayars.jpgWICHITA — Key Construction has filed a lawsuit in Sedgwick County District Court seeking more than $156,801 plus interest from former employee Pat Ayars.

The dispute relates to shares Ayars owns in four Key companies.

“I was surprised that they elected to sue,” says Ayars, a former executive vice president.

“One of their founding principles is not to sue or be sued, and I thought we were working toward a reasonable conclusion.”

Key chief financial officer John Walker says the company had to file a lawsuit “just to move everything off dead center because he’s been unresponsive.”

Over the more than 11 years Ayars was the public face at Key, he acquired shares in the company as well as parent company Key Construction Cos.; Summit Holdings, a real estate investment LLC; and Key Con-Air, an LLC that owns an airplane.

According to the suit, Ayars signed an agreement that he would sell back his shares to the company at an agreed-upon price if his employment was terminated for any reason.

Ayars lost his job at Key in January and has since formed Oxford Development Holdings to build and acquire senior care centers.

The suit says Ayars signed a promissory note to pay for the stock in the companies.

“Ayars has failed or refused to repay the unpaid balance of the note in the principal amount of $391,459.61 and also owes interest on that obligation at the rate of 7 percent per annum,” the suit says.

Read More »

Mel Hambelton sues longtime business partners Freddie A. LaGreca and Freddie R. LaGreca

WICHITA — Auto dealer Mel Hambelton is suing longtime business partners Freddie A. LaGreca and Freddie R. LaGreca alleging breach of a promissory note, among other things.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed this month in Sedgwick County District Court, the suit relates to the LaGrecas buying Hambelton out of a car dealership they had in Hutchinson.

Hambelton and Freddie R. LaGreca started Hambelton-LaGreca Chevrolet, Geo, Pontiac in 1989. The suit says Hambelton owned 75 percent and LaGreca, who operated the business day-to-day, owned the rest.

The suit says Hambelton had almost no involvement with the Hutchinson dealership and instead focused on his Mel Hambelton Ford in Wichita.

Freddie A. LaGreca also was involved in the Hutchinson dealership.

The suit says Hambelton entered into a stock purchase agreement with the LaGrecas in 2003 and that the LaGrecas made payments on their promissory note to him from 2003 through 2009.

The suit alleges the LaGrecas have not made monthly payments since December 2009.

Hambelton is asking for $524,084 plus interest and attorneys fees over the alleged nonpayment.

David Morgan, Hambelton’s attorney, declined to discuss the lawsuit.

Neither Hambelton nor the LaGrecas returned calls for comment.

Eaton Steakhouse contents will be auctioned today, but who will profit?

WICHITA — A Sedgwick County District Court judge on Tuesday lifted a restraining order that was issued Monday to prevent the former owners of Eaton Steakhouse from selling the contents of the restaurant in a planned auction today.

Bud Palmer Auction can now proceed with the 9:30 a.m. sale. But part of the proceeds from the sale won’t necessarily go to former Eaton Steakhouse owners Steve and Stephanie Compton and Thomas Bowles.

“Sale proceeds will be placed with the court,” says Mike Roach, an attorney for MDI Partnership #72, which owns Eaton Place. “There will be a trial at a later date.”

MDI alleges that the Comptons and Bowles, upon their exit from Eaton Place when the restaurant closed in October, caused damage and took items not belonging to them in excess of $50,000.

Read More »