Douglas County Commissioner Jim Chappell said today that he plans to settle a small claims lawsuit against him out of court, even though an unfortunate game of "phone tag" has kept him from getting together with the plaintiff.
Chappell, owner of Kaw River Mercantile Company Convenience Store, was named in a lawsuit in small claims court filed Feb. 2. The plaintiff, Roger Yarbro of Heartland Slush Puppie and Snack Food, is seeking $636 in unpaid bills.
The court date for the lawsuit is Tuesday, but Chappell said he plans to settle out of court.
"Originally, there was a dispute regarding the payment of some invoices," Chappell said. "We just had records reflecting that we had made payments to him, and we just assumed that we had paid him for what he charged us."
However, Chappell said, Yarbro has since provided him with records showing that he still owes Yarbro the amount in question.
"I consider it to be accurate, and I'm going to pay him," Chappell said.
Chappell said he and Yarbro have experienced trouble getting ahold of each other in recent weeks. Still, Chappell said he plans to pay Yarbro before Tuesday's court date.
Yarbro said Chappell left him a message March 10 saying he would like to get together this Thursday. Yarbro said he returned Chappell's message on March 11. He said Chappell then left another message on Tuesday. Yarbro said he then left a message for Chappell on Wednesday. Yarbro said this morning that he hadn't been contacted by Chappell since.
Bank IV Kansas also has filed a suit against Chappell in Douglas County District Court, alleging that Chappell has failed to repay two personal loans amounting to $28,238.
Chappell said this morning that he's still trying to work out an arrangement for paying off those loans.
Chappell, who also is a practicing attorney and co-owner of Chappell Land Co., said relocating his Kaw River convenience store in November was one reason for his financial difficulties.
"We had an unexpected decline in business" after the move, Chappell said. "I'm pleased that the store's doing a lot better now."
Chappell also said his fall election campaign required a lot of time and energy that took away from the attention he could devote to his business.