A half-million-dollar sour taste

TOUGH TIMES: Restaurateur Martin Bosley.
TOUGH TIMES: Restaurateur Martin Bosley.

A trail of debt left by prominent chef Martin Bosley has cost his creditors more than half a million dollars.

A preliminary liquidators' report shows he owed $595,100 after putting his award-winning restaurant Martin Bosley's Yacht Club into voluntary liquidation on February 4.

This included $30,000 in holiday pay to staff and $135,000 in unpaid taxes to Inland Revenue.

Bosley also owed $195,000 to trade creditors, while he and fellow 50 per cent shareholder Gavin Bradley have taken a $259,000 hit themselves.

The sale of restaurant equipment will not be nearly enough to cover Bosley's debt, with $20,000 in fittings listed among his only assets. There was no money in the bank and $4000 was owed to him by debtors.

Bosley said last night: "The restaurant was a major part of my life, into which I put everything I could, and now all of this has gone."

Because Martin Bosley's Food Ltd is a limited liability company, he cannot be held personally responsible for the debt.

Creditors contacted yesterday either declined to talk or expressed their support for Bosley.

Beervana founder David Cryer would not say how much Bosley owed the craft beer festival, but said it would still work with him in future.

"We fully support the guy, he's done a great job for us and I see enough of business to know that sometimes things don't go [people's] way."

On Trays owner Steven Scheckter said he had worked with Bosley for 16 years and considered him a friend. "Yes, he does owe us money and it does have an impact on us . . . but we were aware of his difficulties and he was honest with us.

"He was doing his best to dig himself out of that hole, and he didn't do anything untoward."

But one creditor, who would not be named, said some small businesses, including his, had been hit hard. "He's a smart man, he owns nothing himself, he's still driving around in his flash [car] and he's not paying his bills, basically."

Bosley said: "On the day of the liquidation, I personally contacted as many of my creditors as was possible . . . As well as attempting to contact them all on the day via telephone or in person, I also sent letters to them. I had been working with the support of my creditors over the past 18 months, and had been able to make a significant reduction of the debt while still continuing to trade.

"I thought we would be able to trade out of trouble but, as previously stated, once we knew the lease became tenuous, we were unable to take bookings beyond March 31 so to continue trading was problematic," he said.

Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club, from which he leased his restaurant space for 13 years, is among the creditors.

Yacht club chief executive Dean Stanley would not say how much it was owed or what for, but said it was not rent.

"It's fair to say we were owed a little bit of money but there's nothing we can do about it. It's done and we just have to move on.

"It's sad what has happened, but it's clear [from the report] the business wasn't particularly sound."

The club had received "quite a few" expressions of interest from people wanting to pick up the lease, and would make a decision in the next fortnight.

It wanted to include more casual dining as part of the Clyde Quay boat harbour restoration project, which aimed to attract more people to the waterfront.

The Dominion Post