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Foreclosure suit alleges landscaping firm affiliate owes more than $6M on loan

January 20, 2017

An affiliate of Indiana landscaping firm Mainscape Inc. has been hit with a foreclosure lawsuit claiming it owes more than $6 million on a building it owns in Indianapolis.

Mainscape Leasing LLC is accused of failing to make required payments on a $7.8 million loan on its building at 4150 N. Keystone Ave. in Indianapolis that came due in March 2016. Mainscape Leasing borrowed the money in February 2006 from JPMorgan Chase Bank, according to the suit.

Chase, through trustee U.S. Bank, is seeking to have a receiver appointed by the court to manage the property during the foreclosure proceedings. A hearing is set for Tuesday. The bank filed the suit on Jan. 13 in Marion Superior Court.

Mainscape Leasing is an affiliate of Fishers-based Mainscape Inc., one of the nation’s largest landscaping companies. The company moved from the Keystone building to Fishers in 2004 and no longer has a presence in its old headquarters, according to Mark Forsythe, president and chief operating officer of Mainscape Inc.

"Mainscape Inc., the landscape maintenance organization, is a separate entity from Mainscape Leasing LLC," Forsyth said in an emailed statement to IBJ. "Mainscape Inc. is not a party to the litigation involving Mainscape Leasing, LLC and its lenders. The litigation has no impact on Mainscape Inc.’s business or services."

The complaint comes after Mainscape founder Dave Mazanowski agreed in October to plead guilty to participating in a $16 million overbilling scheme. Federal prosecutors allege the sham was carried out in cahoots with top executives of the state’s largest nursing home company, American Senior Communities.

Forsythe told IBJ that the foreclosure suit was in no way related to the charges against Mazanowski.

Mainscape wrote in a letter to customers last October that Mazanowski voluntarily stepped down as CEO after being charged. The letter, from Forsythe, said the transactions at issue “were overseen personally by Mr. Mazanowski” and “no allegations of wrongdoing or misconduct” were leveled at anyone else in the company.

Mazanowski started Mainscape as a Ball State University student in 1980 as a way to employ Christian students who otherwise would go home for the summer. It grew steadily over the years and now ranks No. 18 on Landscape Management magazine’s list of largest companies in the industry, with more than $71 million in annual revenue.

Mainscape bought the 100,000-square-foot building on Keystone Avenue in 1995. Current tenants at its Keystone building include the Indiana Department of Child Services and the not-for-profit Child Advocacy Center.

Before Mainscape’s purchase of the building, it last housed an Ames discount store and was nothing more than a shell. The company spent millions of dollars on improvements to the property, according to a 2002 story in IBJ.

Mazanowski, meanwhile, is set to be sentenced Nov. 17 in federal court for his role in the overbilling scheme.

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