Sunday 25 March 2018

For DJ, this wasn't just business -- it was embarrassingly personal

DJ Carey and partner Sarah Newman who nominated a liquidator to wind down their contract cleaning business yesterday. Photo: PAUL SHERWOOD
DJ Carey and partner Sarah Newman who nominated a liquidator to wind down their contract cleaning business yesterday. Photo: PAUL SHERWOOD

THERE was no mistaking the four creditors seated at a table in the narrow hotel lobby outside the boardrooms. Former Kilkenny hurling star DJ Carey stopped to say hello, with small talk and smiles exchanged all round. Everything seemed normal and perfectly civil -- but it was clear that everybody, without exception, was highly embarrassed to be there.

One had been a supplier of bleach to DJ's contract-cleaning company, another was a former employee.

"Like a f***ing funeral, isn't it?" one large, burly man amongst the group had remarked in too-hearty tones upon his arrival at the Moran Red Cow Hotel in Dublin.

The difficulty for all concerned was that this wasn't just business, it was all too personal.

DJ Carey faced his companies' creditors in a round of meetings scheduled on the hour from 10am to deal with the financial difficulties of his three former companies: Dublin Janitorial Centre, DJ Carey Enterprises Limited and Alton Limited.

It wasn't the usual faceless encounter that generally signifies the winding-up of a company.

These were personal contacts and he knew them all, one by one.

He had a relationship with them, having painstakingly built up his cleaning business, DJ Carey Enterprises, brick by brick over the last 17 years.

DJ first went into business at the tender age of 23, back when he was still the brightest jewel in Kilkenny's hurling riches -- a true aristocrat of the ash.

The video of the GAA all-star's life was the bestselling sports video of all time in Ireland.

He rubbed shoulders with Tiger Woods, played golf with Colin Montgomerie and demonstrated hurling in African villages.

Simply put, DJ was a true legend and those two initials tripped easily off the tongue -- even for those who weren't necessarily au fait with the long-dropping ball.

His contacts book came ready made, so striding off the pitch of Croke Park and on to the business stage was an easy move, launching him to continued successes -- this time financial.

DJ later teamed up with the multi-millionaire businesswoman Sarah Newman of 'Dragon's Den'.

Then emerged the shock of financial irregularies that DJ uncovered within the company, with €200,000 written off as "missing".

That's why, when it all came tumbling down in a bleak boardroom of a suburban hotel, it seemed like an embarrassing twist to the DJ legend.

Just a couple of people turned up for the first creditor's meeting yesterday and a handful for the second.

The liquidator took names at the door and was thrilled when one man who attended confessed that he wasn't actually a creditor at all but in fact owed the company some money.

"Great! We're glad to see you," he enthused.

ABOUT 20 creditors were there for the final meeting, for which DJ had changed out of the purple diamond-patterned jumper he'd been wearing earlier and into a sharp suit. He looked stressed.

It all took place in private and lasted less than an hour. Afterwards, one man who had been inside claimed that those in attendance had proposed that an alternative liquidator be appointed.

The difficulties appeared to have been ironed out, however, because they ultimately opted to retain the liquidator who had been appointed by the company.

All wrapped up, DJ emerged.

"No, I can't, sorry," he replied in response to a question about how it had all gone, flashing a dazzling smile of apology.

At the same time, two men were leaving a training meeting for construction workers in the boardroom next door.

"Look, look -- it's DJ," one nudged the other in tones of total awe.

Still a legend.

Irish Independent

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