By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
That's when the Harkins people sent two faxes to the couple, telling them to call Farren and arrange to pick up a check at the attorney's office. Barb Vlahopoulos says Farren never called her and that when she called his office, she was told there was no check.
Farren says the check sat there for some time, and he eventually sent it back to the Harkins corporate office.
Then Harkins began demanding payment from Hog-Wash -- and a stop to the media campaign.
An April 6, 1998, letter from Farren to Barb Vlahopoulos said Harkins owes nothing, that the lien is invalid and that under Arizona law prohibiting fraudulent liens, Hog-Wash owes Harkins at least $6,000. Farren also questioned whether the Vlahopouloses are still entitled to the receivables since they sold Hog-Wash in 1997. (They say they retained the Harkins claim under the sale agreement.) In the letter, Farren accused them of extortion, saying the letter is a "formal demand" to stop the media campaign "to falsely accuse Harkins of shirking its responsibility for paying Hog-Wash's invalid claims."
Two months ago, Harkins made a settlement offer of $3,000 to Hog-Wash, even though Harkins maintains it is Jaska Construction that should pay the claim.
The Vlahopouloses rejected the offer in December, saying they wanted $7,000 plus attorney fees by December 26. "This should be a simple matter to settle. . . . All we want is to be paid for the services we provided," they said in a letter to Harkins.
They never got an answer. So, just after Christmas, Barb Vlahopoulos began sending out e-mails and letters to the media and others.
Meanwhile, Harkins is working on new projects -- a $9.3 million complex in Prescott Valley and a $16.5 million megaplex in Fresno, California. There's no indication that the Flagstaff dispute has affected those projects.
Farren says the company would like to settle the matter with the Vlahopouloses. The day after being contacted by New Times, he sent Tony Vlahopoulos a fax saying he was willing to discuss the issue with him.
"We hope to resolve this real soon," he says.
Contact Laura Laughlin at her online address: email@example.com