Carrie Rengers

Carrie Rengers: Florist's dispute grew prickly

Not all Valentine's Day stories involving flowers are love stories. This one is a little less happy.

"Basically, like most things, it comes down to money," says Joad Donnelly , who owns the building at 1302 E. Waterman where the Flower Factory is.

Earlier this week, Have You Heard? reported that the Flower Factory is leaving downtown for a new shop on the west side near 21st and Tyler.

Owner Steve McKnight said he wouldn't be moving until March 1, well after the Valentine's rush.

Thursday, though, he was briefly evicted.

Donnelly bought the building in the fall.

"It's just been a fiasco getting Steve to pay rent ever since then," Donnelly says. "If he's not paying the rent, I just need to move on."

The issue was over $3,615 in rent and late fees.

"This is crazy," McKnight says. "He doesn't really know how to work with someone who's leasing from him."

This is Donnelly's first commercial property.

"I'm not a rich person at all," he says. "I'm trying to enjoy the whole real estate process."

After being evicted Thursday afternoon, McKnight rushed to court for an emergency hearing to try to reopen the shop in time for Valentine's Day orders.

"If he gave me a check, I had to give him a key," Donnelly says.

He complied, and the shop is back open.

"Ultimately, I don't want to see anybody fail in their business and livelihood," Donnelly says. "I'm not that guy.

"On the other hand... he's caused me nothing but hassle from day one."

McKnight says, "It was basically just a miscommunication."

He adds, though, "To be quite honest, this is why I'm moving. This guy's owned the building for five months, and we've knocked heads ever since.

"He can have his building. I don't want it."

Except for the next couple of weeks. The next few days, of course, are key.

"Now we're just trying to deliver arrangement after arrangement," McKnight says.

"Life's good."

Rascally sale

There's an auction of the late George Poulos 'estate today at 10 a.m. at the Malone Auction Center at 922 E. Central.

"It's not a big, big estate, but there are some cool things," says Eric Malone of Malone & Associates Auctioneers & Realtors .

Along with furniture and art, there are some more unusual items, such as an 8-foot Statue of Liberty.

"He was big on civil liberties," Malone says.

There are a lot of copies of Poulos' second book, "The Rascal Is Back ."

"He dubbed himself a rascal because he had hundreds of run-ins with the law," Malone says. Some of those "run-ins" involved arson.

The second book cover features a police officer chasing Poulos with a billy club while a building burns in the back.

"We actually have the original cover art for some of the books," Malone says.

There's also a desk once owned by Wichita attorney Warner Moore , whom Malone says was known for representing a few "rascals."

See more auction items at www.maloneauction.com.

You don't say

"This is one fantastic newspaper, let me tell you. I read it every day."

—Boston journalist Geoff Edgers referencing The Wichita Eagle in a video (http://bit.ly/g8XrDX) to promote his Feb. 18 return to Wichita to show his "Do It Again "documentary and raise money for it to be cut for TV

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