€2m creditors left stunned as top restaurant 'has new owner'
Published 04/03/2011 | 05:00
SUPPLIERS owed €2m by the company behind the fashionable Unicorn Restaurant were stunned to learn yesterday that it is no longer run by that company.
It had been understood that the restaurant was part of the Springmanor company, along with the Unicorn Cafe, the Unicorn Foodstore and the restaurant Il Segreto.
Springmanor is owned by Georgio Cosari and Jeff Stokes, the father of Dublin socialites Simon and Christian Stokes.
Yesterday, Springmanor was put into liquidation with debts of €2m.
But it emerged that the Unicorn Restaurant ceased to be part of the now-insolvent business in the middle of last year.
At that time, the lease was transferred to a new company named Vino Classico. Georgio Cosari is listed as a director of the new company.
The trendy Unicorn Restaurant was considered to be the most valuable asset of the company.
The latest revelation means that Springmanor suppliers will now be left out of pocket -- while the Unicorn Restaurant remains open for business.
The company's remaining assets will not be enough to repay any of the suppliers who are owed hundreds of thousands of euro for wine, meat and linen supplies.
Yesterday's liquidation is the latest development in the saga of the high-profile Stokes family.
A bar and a number of restaurants built up by Jeff Stokes's sons Christian and Simon collapsed with debts of €9m last year.
The liquidator was appointed to Springmanor yesterday after a creditors' meeting at the Harcourt Hotel in Dublin.
According to a document circulated to creditors, Springmanor's main assets are leasehold interests in the Unicorn Cafe, the Unicorn Foodstore, and its sister restaurant Il Segreto.
The three venues and the Unicorn Restaurant share adjacent sites on Dublin's Merrion Row, close to St Stephen's Green.
Accountant Butler Reddy was appointed as the liquidator of Springmanor. The company was put into liquidation with debts of €2m and assets valued at just €853,000. A staggering €250,000 is owed to Cassidy Wines alone.
Georgio Cosari and Jeff Stokes moved to liquidate Springmanor after kitchen supplier Kaneco sought to have the company wound up.
An attempt by Kaneco to have accountant Anthony Weldon appointed as an alternative liquidator was voted down at the meeting.
The biggest creditor, AIB, is owned €890,000 and even though its debt is secured, it will not be paid in full. Nor will the Revenue Commissioners, who are owed €74,000.
Unsecured creditors are owed €1.2m and are likely to come away with nothing.
These include four creditors who are each owed six-figure sums. Toner McAllister, a shop-fitting business, is owed €282,000. Dublin Corporation is also owed €131,458.