Underground Vaults & Storage of Hutchinson has filed suit against document-handling giant Cintas Corp. over a broken business deal.
Underground Vaults stores valuable documents and goods in the former salt mines 650 feet beneath Hutchinson.
In the suit filed last week, the company contends that it partnered with Cincinnati-based Cintas starting in December 2009 to pursue a seven-year, "multi-million dollar" contract with the Boeing Co. to transport and store its engineering drawings and documents.
The two companies, according to the suit, worked closely together during most of 2010. Underground Storage would provide underground space in Hutchinson and Cintas would provide the document management.
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The team was tentatively awarded the contract in July, and the two kept close contact, ironing out details. Underground Vaults spent considerable money preparing a site inside the mine.
But in November, according to the suit, a Cintas official mentioned reservations he had about Underground Vault's insurance, fire suppression and potential for flaking paint. Then Cintas officials stopped returning phone calls.
The suit contends the concerns were "mere pretext" and that Cintas and Boeing were both familiar with the company's insurance and fire suppression.
On Nov. 30, a Cintas official told Underground Vaults that it was no longer part of the Boeing contract.
The suit claims Cintas breached its fiduciary duty and interfered with the company's relationship with Boeing. It is seeking more than $75,000 in damages.
Attorneys representing Underground Vaults declined to comment, as did a spokeswoman for Cintas.