Silk and 64° owners say they had no choice but to close down
A spokesperson for 64° at Port Royal Golf Course says the bar and restaurant’s controlling shareholders had no choice but to close it down after they became aware of mounting issues surrounding the lease and relating to former managing director Claudio Vigilante.
Thai restaurant Silk, which was part of Mr Vigilante’s Fresco’s group up until around October last year, has also closed and it’s not known at this time whether it will reopen. The two restaurants had employed about 18 staff in total.
A slew of legal actions have been filed by and against Mr Vigilante arising from the change in control last year of 64° and Silk, formerly part of the Fresco’s marketing group.
The spokesperson for 64° told
The Royal Gazette the shareholders had become aware of unpaid renovation bills, and also could not overcome issues with the terms of the 64° lease and the restaurant’s design, which included long terms of operation seven days a week, a large staff, and a golf check-in procedure that didn’t require golfers to come through the main doors where the bar and restaurant was located.
In addition, one of the shareholders in 64° also recently suffered a serious health issue and had to go abroad.
The spokesperson said that the staff employed at 64° would all be paid through their last pay period and the entity that owns the restaurant would most likely be wound up.
Fresco’s group at one time included Fresco’s (now Maria’s) restaurant, as well as Opus Bar & Lounge (O Bar), Silk, Aqua and 64°.
But last year, 64° and Silk had a change in controlling shareholders and Mr Vigilante left. Aqua had closed down and its holding company, Associated Ventures, was deregistered. Each of the restaurants had separate and different shareholders. Mr Vigilante kept Fresco’s and renamed it Maria’s Ristorante, and also took over the space previously occupied by Bar One trading as Opus Bar & Lounge.
Each of the restaurants was owned by groups of various shareholders but managed by Mr Vigilante.
The spokesperson for 64° said they tried to work with Port Royal Golf Course management and trustees to make a seamless transfer where Port Royal would operate the ‘halfway’ house and bar, the restaurant would be closed day to day until the economy improved and they would be allowed to cater the existing weddings, PGA and other events.
But they were unable to reach any agreement in the short time frame and ”the likelihood remains unknown”, the spokesperson said.
A judgment in default was made in January this year against Mr Vigilante in the amount of $267,985.86 for renovation work done at 64° by M&M Construction.
According to the judgment, Mr Vigilante unsuccessfully argued to set aside that judgement, contending the company that had employed him as general manager should assume responsibility for paying the money owed to M&M.
In his judgment, Judge Ian Kawaley wrote: “The Default Judgment is a simple money judgment entered against a businessman which he was happy to leave in place as long as it was paid for by the Company. It would encourage misuse of the Court’s machinery to permit litigants to freely elect not to challenge a default judgment for several months and then to change course at their own whim. Moreover, the Defendant’s prospects of success are only marginally good.”
Commenting yesterday, Mr Vigilante said: “The judgment against me by M&M Construction is in respect of the work done by that company for 64º. I am continuing my action against the owners of 64º for the indemnity to which I am entitled.”
Mr Vigilante said he left 64º and Silk last September and he believed both restaurants had been trading successfully until that time. However, the spokesperson for 64º said they had had an accounting opinion that the restaurant was not financially viable.
Another contractor, GSC Ltd, issued a writ again Mr Vigilante, while Bristol Cellar and another vendor have separately issued writs against Associated Cuisine.
Mr Vigilante said the GSC writ has since been withdrawn.
Rosemarie Madeiros, who was Fresco’s group vice-president and accountant, with Church Bay Trust as trustee of Ariel Trust, filed a writ against Christopher Trott, Andrea Dismont, Royal Cuisine and Associated Express.
Meanwhile, Mr Vigilante has filed writs against Royal Cuisine Ltd, Christopher Trott et al, Associated Express Ltd and Christopher Trott alone.
Associated Express is the company linked to Silk Thai Cuisine while Royal Cuisine is the company linked to 64°.
Lawyer Mark Pettingill was a director in various restaurants.
Last February Mr Pettingill issued a minority shareholder’s writ in the matter of Royal Cuisine Ltd, in which he raised a number of concerns including the alleged transfer of funds from Royal Cuisine to Bar One and/or Associated Cuisine without formal authorisation of the board of directors.
The petition stated that Royal Cuisine had had a demand loan facility with a local bank for up to $1 million.
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