Local business’ complaints due to dispute with Albuquerque company

Freedom New Mexico

A Tucumcari playground equipment builder who came under fire over consumer complaints said much of the problem stems from a dispute with an Albuquerque company with a similar product.

Dome Climber owner Rodney Ward said Tuesday he was never an employee of Zia Toys as claimed by Zia Toys Inc. President Wendell L. Jones.

Ward said he actually invented the geodesic domes being manufactured by both companies, contrary to what Jones claimed in a Jan.12 Quay County Sun story.

Jones has said they were co-inventors.

In 2009, 130 complaints against Ward’s business were filed with the Better Business Bureau from customers who said he did not deliver orders they had paid for.

Those complaints are currently being investigated by the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office.

Jones said the complaints against Ward have tainted Jones’ customer relationships and harmed his business in Albuquerque.

Ward said the conflict with Jones goes back to a landlord-tenant relationship they had in 2005. Ward said when a rental arrangement they had fell apart, allegations were made that continue to hurt his business.

The dispute, Ward said, centers around who invented the domes and who owns the rights to the design.