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Monday 15 October 2018

Editor recounts Hall of Fame's downfall

Businessman Cyril O'Brien left the Hot Press Music Hall of Fame museum venture in September 1999 for several reasons, including that it was losing money, the High Court heard yesterday.

Hot Press editor Niall Stokes also said Mr O'Brien was unhappy with how promoter Denis Desmond was carrying out the promotional side of the Hot Press Music Hall of Fame museum and that was one of the reasons Mr O'Brien sold his shares to the other investors and left. Mr O'Brien was unhappy about the promotional side of things, the losses being incurred by lives shows, and believed Mr Desmond was not taking on board the concerns of the other promoters, he said.

Mr Desmond faced an onerous task at the time, Mr Stokes added. Mr O'Brien had not said anything about forgetting or being unaware about an indemnity in relation to personal guarantees provided by Mr Stokes and his wife,Mairin Sheehy, Mr Stokes added. He was told by his counsel, Brian O'Moore, that Mr O'Brien's evidence would be that the indemnity was "overlooked''.

Mr Stokes (55) was continuing his evidence in the action by himself and his wife of Trinity Street, Dublin, against Denis Desmond, of Strand Road, Killiney; Moya Doherty and John McColgan; Cyril O'Brien, of Knockabbey Castle, Co Louth; and Tony Burke of Lambourne Wood, Cabinteely, Dublin.

The action is over liability for some €1.5m losses for the company which ran the Hot Press Music Hall of Fame museum. The failure of the Hall of Fame left Mr Stokes in a position where he was offered £800,000 (€1m) for his shares in the hall by Mr Desmond and Mr McColgan and Ms Doherty. Yesterday, Mr Stokes said the Hall of Fame had opened at Middle Abbey Street, Dublin, in April 1999 at a cost of some £5m. By July 1999, trade was not at the level anticipated, he said.

Mr Stokes claims Mr O'Brien, Mr Burke and Mr Desmond are liable for the bulk of the €1.53m losses allegedly incurred while Mr McColgan and Ms Doherty are liable for over €158,000.

The case continues.

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