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Hospice Care of Kansas shareholder sues parent company

A shareholder in Hospice Care of Kansas' parent company has filed a lawsuit alleging she has been denied information and proceeds related to its sale.

Karen Rowe's lawsuit asks that Voyager HospiceCare Holdings, based in Fort Worth, be found guilty of breach of contract and that she be awarded the money she is owed plus interest and legal fees.

Voyager was acquired by Harden Healthcare, a Texas-based company, earlier this year. Voyager HospiceCare offers hospice and home health services in seven states, through Hospice Care of Kansas and other subsidiaries. It is the largest hospice provider in Iowa and Kansas.

Cindy Keim, regional vice president for Hospice Care of Kansas, referred calls to Harden COO Mike McMaude, who was not available for comment. A.J. Schwartz, an attorney for Rowe, did not return calls for comment.

Voyager HospiceCare bought Hospice Care of Kansas from Mark Rowe and others in 2004, the lawsuit says. Mark Rowe is Karen Rowe's husband.

With the closing of the sale, Mark Rowe bought 3.52 percent of the Class A shares of Voyager HospiceCare, the lawsuit says. He stayed on as the company's president and CEO until 2006, when his contract expired.

In October 2007, Mark Rowe transferred his shares to his wife. Voyager objected to the transfer, but a Sedgwick County District Court judge and the Kansas Court of Appeals found that the transfer was legal, Karen Rowe's lawsuit says.

When Voyager's sale to Harden closed, the lawsuit says, Karen Rowe was entitled to notice of the sale and to her proportionate share of the proceeds.

Voyager and its board members have failed to provide her with information about the sale and an accounting of the proceeds, the lawsuit says. It alleges that others have received their share of the sales proceeds.

In addition to Voyager HospiceCare, the lawsuit names board members William Gumina, Michael McMaude, Robert Thompson and Alex Pelligrini as defendants.

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