RENTAL DISPUTE STATEMENT FROM GEORGE PETOUSIS, OWNER AND CEO OF PETOUSIS FAMILY HOLDINGS
[Cape Town, 26 October 2020] Yesterday, 25 October, the Sunday Times reported that one of our suppliers, Alan Lyons’ Onshelf Investments, had lodged an application with the Cape High Court to liquidate The Vineyard hotel over an alleged debt of less than R160 000 (GBP7500 / US$10 000).
We understand and appreciate the possible concern and anxiety that this article may cause suppliers and future guests. We wish to share some context around the unfounded allegations and provide comfort that the legal action instituted is entirely without merit.
We can confirm that a rental dispute exists between The Vineyard hotel and Onshelf Investments, the landlords of a storage facility that we used to store our excess furniture. It is our view that we have been overcharged and they dispute this. This is a standard commercial dispute and has nothing whatsoever to do with our ability to pay.
We deem their application to be frivolous, in bad faith, without merit and placing undue pressure on a dispute process that is already well advanced. All undisputed rental fees to Onshelf Investments have been settled in full and we have placed the disputed rental fees in our attorney’s Trust account in preparation for – and pending the outcome of – the December court proceedings.
We are a family enterprise which, over two generations, has forged an excellent business reputation. That this reputation has been impugned is deeply distressing. The property itself is worth significantly more than the disputed amount and, since national COVID-19 restrictions were reduced to Level 1, we – like so many in the South African tourism sector – are working tirelessly on our recovery. We are particularly excited to have been chosen to host two international sporting teams during November and December.
While it is true that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have taken their toll on many, particularly those in the hospitality industry, we can assure you that The Vineyard is a solvent, liquid and fully functioning business – open for overnight accommodation, as well as for restaurant and conferencing guests, with all precautions in place.
We look forward to putting this unpleasant business behind us as soon as the legal process has played out.