The company behind the Margaritaville Beach Resort has dismissed rumours claiming they are behind on their bills.
The Howard Hospitality Group, who are also planning to build and operate the new multi-million dollar Pageant Beach Hotel, say any claims by employees or vendors not being paid are false.
They insist they are “loyal to the good people of this Island” and say they are disappointed rumours are circulating showing them in a bad light.
“Any claim of former employees or vendors not receiving payments is false,” said Michael Wilkings, president and COO of The HHG Companies.
“If anyone has not received payment, it is because there is an active dispute that is, again, being handled privately.”
One local construction company has started court proceedings against HHG claiming $640,000 unpaid for work carried out on the 285-room former Treasure Island resort.
In a writ filed in June, Kee’s Construction and Management says HHG Advisory Services failed to pay for renovation and construction work.
Mr. Wilkings says since the claim was filed, HHG have hired an independent, third party company to investigate and he says it’s not a case of his company owing Kee’s Construction money – but the other way around.
He said: “On Aug. 15, a very detailed defense was filed with the court, as was a counterclaim for money that in reality, HHG is owed.
“The initial claim was completely unfounded as evidenced by the report, and we are confident the final ruling will be in HHG’s favour.”
But it’s on the ground in Cayman were the latest rumours have surfaced. Staff both past and present have spoken to The Cayman Reporter claiming pay cheques arrive late on regular occasions and a number of distribution companies who provide food and drink for the resort have not been paid.
Mr. Wilkings described these claims as “false and hurtful” adding: “HHG will not address former employee or vendor issues in a public forum or in the media.
“Any such matters have been, and will continue to be, handled privately, in a professional manner that is respectful to all involved.”
He also insisted all staff health contributions made by the company have been paid. But when The Cayman Reporter asked is this the same case over pension payments, their U.S.-based public relations company would not provide an answer.
But Mr. Wilkings did insist HHG are here to stay in Cayman and will continue to make a positive impact on the tourism industry.
He added: “HHG has made its home on Grand Cayman and with several properties under development, we have invested more than $45 million already into the local economy.
“We are loyal to the good people of this Island and while we are disappointed by the rumours that are apparently circulating, we maintain that this is a wonderful place to do business.
“We will continue to push forward in every way possible to make a positive impact on the Caymanian tourism industry.”