BUSINESSMAN Bill Cullen has told of his frantic dash to his luxury hotel to head off the receiver appointed to take over the business.
Mr Cullen – who with his partner Jackie Lavin was last week thrown a High Court lifeline to save their five-star Muckross Park Hotel in Killarney, Co Kerry – said he wanted to break the news to staff that the hotel was in receivership before they heard it from the man appointed to take over the running of the business.
With the receiver on the way to Killarney, Mr Cullen left Dublin for Kerry. He managed to get the receiver on the phone and demanded to be allowed to break the news to his loyal staff.
"I actually told the receiver on the phone on the way down, we were dashing down from Dublin... and I said, 'if you go into that hotel and tell my people that they're in receivership you'll have me to answer to and I'm very angry'," he said.
"So he did stop off and hold back until we got there," he added.
The couple, who formerly presented 'The Apprentice' on TV3, were given a chance last week to save their business after a High Court judge ordered that the receiver appointed by ACC Bank should be replaced by an interim examiner instead.
If the appointment is confirmed at a hearing next month, it will give interim examiner Kieran McCarthy, of Hughes Blake chartered accountants, the opportunity to find new investors for the business, which employs 105 people, and to fund a "scheme of arrangements" to pay creditors.
Mr Cullen has accused ACC Bank of pouncing on the hotel to sell it off just as he was beginning to succeed in making it profitable.
He told the Pat Kenny radio show that he was "shocked" by the bank's move, which did "terrible damage" to the hotel's business.