Vaz failure not all my fault, says Mr Jackson
ELUSIVE businessman Alan Jackson yesterday broke his silence over the collapse of the Vazon Bay Hotel and No. 44 Restaurant.
ELUSIVE businessman Alan Jackson yesterday broke his silence over the collapse of the Vazon Bay Hotel and No. 44 Restaurant. After four days of no comment, Mr Jackson, pictured right, contacted the Guernsey Press and claimed that an ongoing legal battle between himself and Tony Gover, who sold him the businesses in March - along with The Golden Lion, the Wayside Tavern and The Steakhouse - played a key role in his failure to keep them open.
He also denied that he had fled the Bailiwick but declined to say where he was.
'The matters surrounding the closure of the Vazon Bay Hotel, No. 44 and The Steakhouse are complex,' he said.
On Monday, Mr Gover insisted the businesses were in a fit condition when he sold them.
But Mr Jackson said: 'As highlighted by staff in Saturday's Press, the ongoing legal dispute between myself and Arete Holdings Ltd 'Mr Jackson's company' against Tony Gover and associated parties in respect of the sale
of apparently ?sound businesses? has been going on for more than three months and this matter will not be well served by a protracted public debate through the Guernsey Press. I have not left the Bailiwick and I am working with all the authorities to ensure this matter is fully resolved.
'I want to extend my sincere regrets for the way in which this matter has come to a head in respect of the impact on staff and creditors.'
The Wayside Tavern was saved from closure last week by Mr Jackson's brother, Derek, who took on the tenancy and paid off HM Sheriff.
Mr Gover, who bought back The Golden Lion business in July, said the situation was the most frustrating he had faced.
'I have nothing to hide, but my stomach is in a massive knot because I've been gagged,' he said.
'This is the most annoying thing that has ever happened to me because my hands are tied and I can't do or say anything.
'I sold a business and it's not there any more.
'But at one stage the Vaz was the busiest in the island and I ran it happily for 10-and-a-half years.'
Staff at the Vazon Bay Hotel and No. 44 Restaurant were left facing homelessness without a job or money after Mr Jackson failed to pay their wages.
Josie Vialli, formerly Mr Jackson's PA, said her ex-boss's statement was 'a hollow response' and did not go anywhere near making up for the way he had treated staff.
'The general manager here, Paolo de Menezes, has helped us as much as possible, but Jacko has done absolutely nothing,' she said.
'So when he says he is working with all the authorities to resolve the situation, he is not talking about us.
'He is only talking about important people who can make more trouble for him. He doesn't care what happens to his staff.'
Gemma Keating, a barmaid at the hotel, said Mr Jackson had still not been in touch with anyone there.
'We know him better than anyone and it has taken him three days to word that statement just right,' she said.
'He said in the paper when he bought the businesses that he wanted his staff to feel like a family. Well, he has deserted this ?family...?.'