The saga of Sea Point’s Ritz Hotel rolls on.
If you are playing catch up on this front, you should start with our story back in late May.
In a nutshell, after a costly revamp and glitzy reopening, Ritz Hotel Management Company (RHMC) were ordered to vacate the iconic hotel in Sea Point by June 22.
RHMC, celebrity businessman Nicky van der Walt’s former management company, didn’t come out of the ruling in great shape. Western Cape High Court judge Patrick Gamble said RHMC had displayed “chutzpah of the first order” by occupying the Sea Point hotel since March last year without paying a cent to Ritz Plaza‚ which owns the property.
After publishing our initial story, we received an email from RHMC. We published that email here, with the gist being that the RHMC was fighting Gamble’s ruling and appealing the judgment.
The email stated that “until the finalisation of the appeal process, everything remains in place at the Hotel and it is business as usual”, and “bookings [were] looking very promising for the 2018/2019 summer season and beyond”.
Earlier this month, we received word that the Ritz Hotel staff were up in arms about not having received their July salaries, promised to them by RHMC.
This after having been told that salaries would be paid on the last day of July, which formed part of an agreement reached during CCMA arbitrations to facilitate the retrenchment of staff going forward.
All of that leads us to the latest email, sent out to Ritz Hotel staff earlier today by RHMC, on the day their salaries are due to be paid.
That email in full below, with the bold emphasis added from our side:
It is with deep regret that we have to advise you that Ritz Hotel Management Company is in the process of being liquidated and, as a consequence, unfortunately no longer in a position to make any further salary or severance payments to any employees.
This is a direct consequence of:
- The stance adopted by the Landlord who, despite our best efforts, is not interested in carrying on with the business as a going concern. The Landlord is apparently in negotiations with potential operators to take over the Hotel but has stated unequivocally that it has no intention of taking over any of the current employees if the Hotel reopens.
- Substantial material and fraudulent misrepresentations by the previous operator.
Employees will become preferential creditors of Ritz Hotel Management Company with regards to any salaries, severance pay, etc due to them. We will inform you once the provisional liquidator has been appointed.
We reiterate that we regret the current state of affairs.
I’m sure you regret the current state of affairs, but nowhere near as much as the staff who won’t be getting paid after putting in a full month’s work.
There are always two sides to every story, and it’s clear that RHMC and ‘the Landlord’ aren’t in agreement over how we reached this point.
Sadly, it looks like it’s the staff who are the ones being thrown under the bus.
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