The boss of a security company says his firm worked at the Margaritaville Beach Resort for a year – for virtually no money.
Elite Security claim they are one of a number of local businesses who have been left seriously out of pocket after not being paid by the Howard Hospitality Group.
Last week HHG dismissed rumours claiming they have left a trial of debt behind them after taking over the former Treasure Island complex.
It’s managing director said such allegations are “hurtful” and any claims vendors are not receiving payments are false.
But businessman Owen Lattie tells a different story.
He says he’s owed “tens of thousands of dollars” by HHG for security work carried by his firm during the construction process.
“It’s a disgrace,” said Mr. Lattie. “It’s demoralising that such a big company feel it can get away with refusing to pay its bills.
“We provided guard for the site for the whole year it was being built. After we parted company and I tried to get what’s owed to me I’ve just been met with a brick wall.
“Every time I ask for payment I’m just fobbed off. Their favourite excuse is claiming the person who signs the cheques is off Island. If I’ve heard that once, I’ve heard it a thousand times.”
Some money was paid to Elite Security by HHG, but the bulk of the cash, said Mr. Lattie, has never materialised.
Now he’s considering legal action to try and recoup some of his losses.
“I have a duty to carry on paying my staff,” he added. “I still have to pay their holiday, health insurance and pensions but it’s difficult to do when I’m not being paid myself.
“I understand HHG are looking at building and operating the new hotel on Pageant Beach but that many people have been left with a sour taste in their mouths I doubt they’ll find anyone who can carry out the work.
“I’ve no doubt that the company has put money into the economy through tourism, but they are not putting any money into my business because of the bills they refuse to pay.
“It’s the small businesses like mine that really suffers.”
Mr. Lattie has ran Elite Security for 14 years.
The Cayman Reporter contacted HHG through their Florida-based public relations company.
They refused to comment on Mr. Lattie’s claim, insisting on talking instead about Hurricane Irma.
HHG President Michael Wilkings said: “At this time, our focus is on the safety, security and well-being of our employees, guests and partners as we prepare for the possible arrival Hurricane Irma.
“We send our thoughts and prayers to all of Caribbean neighbours. We are focused on preparedness at this time and will not be making any additional comments on the claims you are referencing.”