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

WICHITA — 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.