| 16°C Dublin

Bill Cullen owed €350,000 as rehab clinic shuts

MILLIONAIRE businessman and 'The Apprentice' star Bill Cullen is licking his wounds after suffering a substantial loss following the closure of his exclusive rehab clinic.

Brian Purcell, the car dealer tycoon's spokesman, refused to say how much he lost when The Forest residential treatment centre went into liquidation earlier this month.

However, it's understood that Mr Cullen is one of the biggest creditors owed money following the demise of Forest Healthcare.

He confirmed that Mr Cullen was unhappy that the luxury treatment centre was operating at a loss over the past three years.

"It's been very disappointing," Mr Purcell told the Irish Independent last night.

The centre, based near Glendalough in Co Wicklow, catered to wealthy clients with drug and alcohol addictions and other problems.

It opened at the height of the Celtic Tiger in 2004 and is understood to have charged well-heeled clients around €17,000 for an average three-week stay.


However, the centre has been bleeding money since 2008 according to the latest available accounts which reveal it had accumulated losses of €305,000.

Mr Cullen was also reportedly owed €350,000, while co-owner Declan Murphy was owed close to €134,000.

But a rift developed between the owners, who reportedly invested €3m each in the business. Mr Cullen owns the land where the 13-room facility is located and there were reports that the partners had a falling-out over use of the property.

Mr Cullen declined to comment on the closure.

However, Mr Purcell said any existing clients are continuing to receive counselling but he would not elaborate on details of where they are receiving treatment.

Irish Independent