The co-owner of a landscaping company claims she was deprived of hundreds of thousands of dollars after her fellow owners took control of the finances when she took a leave of absence from work in 2006.

Sheila K. Dinkelman filed a lawsuit April 25 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Dinkelman Landscaping, Terry G. Dinkelman, Mary Huston and Gina Hays.

In her complaint, Sheila Dinkelman alleges she had been operating Dinkelman Landscaping with Terry Dinkelman since 1997. The two owners agreed to work the business together and to split any profits made, according to the complaint.

In 2006, Sheila Dinkelman stopped working at Dinkelman Landscaping's office because of a serious illness, the suit states. At that time, Terry Dinkelman and Huston began managing and operating the company, the complaint says.

Since then, Terry Dinkelman and Huston misapplied money meant for the business, denied Sheila Dinkelman access to the corporate office and misappropriated company money, Sheila Dinkelman alleges.

Specifically, Terry Dinkelman and Huston allegedly used company money to purchase personal property, sold many of the company's assets, terminated the landscaping portion of the business in an attempt to devalue the 1,000 stocks that Sheila Dinkelman owned and terminated employees essential for the operation of the business, according to the complaint.

As a result of the defendants' actions, Sheila Dinkelman lost income and her business opportunity, the suit states.

Sheila Dinkelman is seeking an order that removes Terry Dinkelman as director of the company and that appoints her to the position and another order that requires the company to reveal all physical assets traded and all financial transactions since 2006. In addition, Sheila Dinkelman seeks a judgment of more than $200,000, attorney's fees and other relief the court deems just.

Rhonda D. Fiss of Belleville will be representing her.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 12-L-215.

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