Saturday 29 April 2017

Gleeson hotel visits in focus in legal row

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

Publican Frank Gleeson spent 16 nights in Dublin hotels at the Mercantile Group's expense, with regular visits to the plush Intercontinental Hotel, despite living in Dublin, according to a legal filing.

The claim is made in an affidvait sworn by Mark O'Meara of Danu Partners, the investment firm locked in a battle with Gleeson over the Mercantile pub and restaurant group.

The affidavit also says Gleeson "appeared to have been operating an undisclosed practice of taking cash from tills" and had put a woman with whom he had a "close and personal business relationship" on the company's payroll with a salary of €25,000.

"We believe the payment to her is not supported by any responsibilities carried out for the Mercantile Group," O'Meara's affidavit says.

A spokesman for Gleeson said: "No comment, the matter is before the courts."

Gleeson is on gardening leave from his role as chief executive of the Mercantile Group.

Last Thursday he secured a temporary High Court injunction preventing the company from dismissing him or disciplining him on foot of the findings of an investigation commissioned by the company.

Gleeson merged his Mercantile Group with Capital Bars Group last year and took a minority stake in the new entity.

Relations with his fellow shareholders have deteriorated dramatically and Gleeson has taken proceedings alleging he is an oppressed minority shareholder.

In a separate case, a company linked to some of his fellow shareholders is seeking a judgment of €4.6m over allegedly unpaid loans.

O'Meara in his affidavit claimed that a major factor in the merger was Gleeson's finances.

"He [Gleeson] was verging on personal and corporate insolvency. He had debts to Bank of Ireland which were close to €24m and he had significant personal guarantees on amounts due to other creditors of his companies."

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