Letter to the Editor
It is in no one’s interest to attempt to try legal disputes in the press. As a result I have tried to refrain from making public comments on matters regarding The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman since it was put into receivership by Five Mile Capital, the group that purchased the senior debt from Credit Suisse.
However, some recent reports (about which I was never approached for comment) are in my opinion misleading and require clarification.
To begin, let me remind people that, for the last 15 years, through all sorts of challenges, I have devoted myself to the creation and operation of The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman resort, with the single goal of creating the finest resort in the region; a project that elevated Cayman to become the premier destination for high-end tourism and residential ownership in the Caribbean. With the help of a fantastic team and great partners I was able to make that happen and over a billions dollars of economic impact was delivered, thousands of jobs created and a new level of skills brought to the Islands from which everyone benefited.
As the world has struggled through the current economic crisis I did everything possible to maintain the value of the project, its reputation and also the reputation of Cayman.
As part of those efforts I worked without pay for many years and invested funds to try and keep the project going while working on a restructuring of the project debt that would allow it to go forward and realise its, and Cayman’s, full potential.
Ultimately these efforts were unsuccessful and the lender controlling the senior debt stack, Five Mile Capital, decided, with no advance notice, to place the properties in receivership, something I heard about after it was announced in the press.
One result of this was that I was left being owed millions of dollars of outstanding salary, fees and loans I personally made to the companies. The first thing I was told by the receivers and their attorneys was that they would not honour any of the obligations to me or my companies. They then started legal proceedings against me, less than a month after the date of their appointment.
The latest allegations are based on misreadings of select company bank statements. Ernst and Young has been auditing the companies for years and the accounts are there to be seen by the receivers. Had I been systematically taking millions from the companies then the auditors might have been expected to notice.
In light of this, I find the receivers’ approach both surprising and desperate, as will be demonstrated in the defence that is due to be filed next month.
As I said at the outset, I do not think it is proper to try and resolve legal disputes in the court of public opinion nor do I condone character assassination as a legitimate tool in business negotiation. I continue to believe that the majority of people agree with me, notwithstanding the salacious pleasure some people get from seeing someone’s name smeared, that there are two sides to every story and if something has been brought to court then it should be settled there before any opinions are formed or aspersions cast. Anyone can make an allegation; proving it is another thing.
I did not begin these disputes, as I have often said, I believed both in the future of The Ritz-Carlton Resort and the Cayman Islands and did everything I could to see them move forward to realise their true potential and avoid a wasteful process like the one now under way, but now that they have been started I will pursue my defence and counter claims to the end.
I have every confidence that when this process is finished it will be proved for all to see that I devoted all my efforts to seeing the project survive, that I acted properly at all times and that I am the one who has been wronged and is owed funds from the project.