A satellite view of Hurricane Katrina, which struck the Gulf Coast.

CHARLESTON – One Charleston man is suing another over more than $55,000 they earned in a joint venture of cutting and clearing trees and brush in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Kenneth R. Stone filed a lawsuit against Nathan (Nate) Newman last month in Kanawha Circuit Court. In the suit, Stone says he and Newman entered into a joint venture and/or contract to travel to Mississippi in the wake of Hurricane Katrina to cut and clear trees and brush destroyed by the storm.

They entered the venture "for the purpose of carrying out a single business enterprise for profit for which purpose they combined their property, money, effects, skill and knowledge."

Stone says he borrowed $3,000 to buy equipment that would be needed and for travel expenses. The suit says Stone and Newman took five employees to help with labor.

The suit goes on to say that the group worked in Mississippi from about Sept. 12 to Oct. 6, working six days a week.

Stone claims they grossed at least $93,525 and possibly more. After deducting expenses, Stone estimates they cleared at least $55,360. Stone says he has contacted Newman numerous times to divide the proceeds. He said he and Newman had a verbal agreement to split the profits 50-50.

In the suit, filed by attorney Kevin W. Hughart, Stone says Newman gave him a cashier's check for $8,000 out of which he had to pay one of the laborers $5,925. Then, Newman tried to convince Stone to keep the entire $8,000.

When Stone tried to return the difference of the $8,000 balance, he says Newman told him to keep it.

As of the filing of the suit, Stone had not cashed a $2,025 cashier's check given to him Nov. 22 by Newman.

In the suit, Stone says Newman owes him at least $25,655. That is the difference between $27,680 – which is half of the $55,360 profit estimate – and the $2,025 cashier's check Stone has yet to cash.

Stone alleges Newman is in breach of their joint venture and/or contract by not paying him his half of the profits and refusing to do so.

He seeks his half of the money plus reimbursement for all court costs and attorney fees as well as other relief.

Stone also seeks a temporary injunction to freeze Newman's bank accounts to keep him from disbursing and/or hiding funds owed to him.

Circuit Judge Tod Kaufman has scheduled a hearing for Jan. 12 on the temporary injunction.

Stone seeks a jury trial.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 05-C-2752

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