TROUBLE continues to mount for high-profile restaurateur and publican Jay Bourke, with a second complaint being lodged against him with the business watchdog.
Mr Bourke (47), inset, was reported by a liquidator to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) over the running of his failed Shebeen Chic bar in Dublin.
But the Irish Independent has now learned that a second complaint against the businessman has also been filed with the ODCE by representatives of a chef who was sacked from her post at Shebeen Chic. Mr Bourke is disputing the claims made in both complaints.
Leanne McDowell (33) was awarded €50,000 by an employment appeals tribunal in 2011 after taking a case for unfair dismissal against one of Mr Bourke's companies, Sherland Entertainments Ltd.
The case was not contested.
Ms McDowell told the tribunal she had been working in bars and restaurants run by Mr Bourke for five years when she was sacked in 2009 after going out sick due to stress and exhaustion.
The tribunal heard a claim that a manager with the company did not give her a reason for her dismissal and she felt she "was just a piece of rubbish".
However, the award was never paid and Sherland was subsequently dissolved.
In the complaint to the ODCE, Ms McDowell's representatives claim Mr Bourke failed to maintain company registers or file statutory documents with the Companies Office, and did not keep proper books for the business.
When contacted by the Irish Independent, Mr Bourke described the claims as "ridiculous".
"I don't know what they're talking about really," he said.
In relation to the Employment Appeals Tribunal, he said: "She won an award. We should have defended it. We didn't. We couldn't afford to really."
The businessman also defended his record as an employer, saying: "I've employed thousands and thousands of people in my life. I have a very good record."
Shebeen Chic closed in 2011 with the loss of 21 jobs following a high-profile rent dispute.
"I'm a small businessman who has taken on the cause of upward-only rent reviews," he said.
PJ Lynch, the liquidator of Shebeen Chic, is expected to apply to the High Court in the for an order compelling Mr Bourke and a co-director to hand over documents and co-operate with the liquidation.
Mr Lynch has told the ODCE he also intends to apply to the High Court to have Mr Bourke disqualified as a director.
Mr Bourke insists he has co-operated with the liquidator.