Innkeeper and restaurateur Jay Bourke will try to make a deal with the Revenue Commissioners to avoid being declared bankrupt.
well open interview with the Indo Daily Podcast, the businessman admitted he found himself in “a pretty difficult situation” after making “a lot of mistakes.”
But he told presenter Denise Calnan he was far from done with the deal and would try to pay the IRS, which filed for bankruptcy in January over a €558,000 debt.
The sum is only a small part of the 13.7 million euros that Mr. Bourke owes to various creditors.
But the 56-year-old, who at times had pub and restaurant interests employing more than 1,000 people, said he was contesting his biggest debt of €12.2million.
This is said to be due to his interest in Bellinter House, the hotel in Co Meath he co-owned with the late music promoter John Reynolds.
Mr Bourke claimed the debts had already been paid but they were still being pursued by Goldman Sachs’ vulture fund, which he described as a “blood-sucking squid”.
He is one of the most well-known figures in Dublin nightlife.
Over the years, his interests have included Rí Rá nightclub, The Globe bar, Front Lounge, Eden restaurant and Cafe Bar Deli.
He also spread his wings outside the capital, being involved with Bar Bodega and the Savoy in Cork and Bar Garavogue in Sligo.
But much of the last decade has been a struggle.
He got into trouble with the Inland Revenue when he tried to offset a capital gains tax liability of around €500,000 from the sale of the bodega against the significant fall in the value of Bellinter House.
This was denied and he lost appeals to the Tax Appeals Commission and the Circuit Court.
Other debts involved small bank loans he couldn’t repay or personal guarantees he couldn’t honor after the 2009 financial crash.
To make matters worse, he was stripped of his tenure as company director for seven years in 2017 after it was revealed the company behind his Dublin pub Shebeen Chic had continued to trade during bankruptcy.
A possible solution to his financial woes was taken off the table earlier this week when the High Court dismissed his application for a personal bankruptcy scheme which would have paid off the bulk of his debt and ensured he kept his £1.4million family home in Rathmines.
The agreement was no longer viable after a key part of the proposal fell through.
It was suggested that between €570,000 and €750,000 would be returned from a return on an investment by Mr Bourke in insurance broker XS Direct, which he expects to go public.
However, the plan was thwarted when receivers were appointed to the brokers in February.
Mr. Bourke told the podcast that there are many things he would have done differently in hindsight.
“You make the decisions you make based on the best information you have,” he said.
“You can be wrong, you can have wrong information, you can make a mistake. I’ve been in the business a long time now and I’ve made a lot of mistakes. You should think about it and think about it.”
The businessman said he has no intention of fighting the tax debt any further.
“So I’m going to try to pay it and make a deal with the IRS and that’s going to be it,” he said.
If he can do so, it would stave off an IRS bankruptcy filing, which has been suspended pending the outcome of the personal bankruptcy settlement filing.
However, he plans to fight Bellinter House’s debt, which stems from Bank of Scotland loans.
Mr Bourke said the debt was taken over by Goldman Sachs and settled by 3 million euros.
“Everyone but me has received a letter of full and final reckoning. And I would argue that it is indeed a debt paid and I will argue that in court and expect to prevail,” he said.
However, Mr. Bourke faces an uphill battle having accepted he owes the money in his personal bankruptcy filing.
He spoke of the stress that comes with being followed.
“They also sued John Reynolds, who sadly passed away, and they sued Hugh O’Regan, who sadly passed,” he said.
“So the aftermath of these giant vultures chasing people’s lands, chasing people like me, they’re really quite consequential. It’s incredibly sad.”
Mr Bourke described the situation he found himself in as “incredibly uncomfortable”.
“I’ve worked very hard for a long time and at the end of my 55th or 56th year I’m in a pretty difficult situation,” he said.
However, he was keen to put his problems into context.
“We are not fleeing our homeland. Millions and millions of poor Ukrainians have lost all their possessions and their homes and their culture and are scared to death. That has certainly not happened to me before,” he said.
“But I certainly don’t enjoy it and I certainly don’t enjoy the untruth that the Bellinter debt is not a settled debt. It is a settled debt and I will prove that in the High Court in due course.”
When asked if he regretted it, Mr. Bourke said there wasn’t a businessman who didn’t.
“Well, I guess I wish I’d sold the banks short,” he said. “We made the decision to sell a lot of properties in 2006, 2007 and 2008 because we thought the economy was really overcooked.
“But we thought the banks wouldn’t go bust, and they did. So there was no banking system at all. In fact, Ireland nearly went bankrupt.
“I knew it was going to be tough, but not that bad. So I guess I would have acted differently if I really thought how bad it was going to be.”
In the interview, he made it clear that he is far from finished.
“I think as long as you’re in your health and your sanity and you’re fit to work, you can use your experiences and maybe work with some other people who bring new experiences,” he said.
“You get my age and you ask yourself, what do young people want? My kids are 25 and 30. I was 21 when I started my first business, so I had a better idea of what 21-year-olds wanted. How do I know now?
“I like people. I like working with people. I still love architecture, I love buildings, I love the process of building. So I’m hoping to do a lot more things before I’m done.
“I consider myself lucky. So many of my friends and business colleagues ended their lives due to business pressures and the vagaries of what is going on.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/publican-jay-bourke-will-seek-deal-with-taxman-to-avoid-bankruptcy-41532267.html Innkeeper Jay Bourke will seek a deal with the IRS to avoid bankruptcy