Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland hoteliers disqualified as directors for misconduct

Two businesswomen who ran a prominent Londonderry hotel have been disqualified from acting as directors for unfit conduct including failing to pay tax and misusing a bank account.

Caroline Ayton (52) of Donnybrewer Road, Campsie, Eglinton, and 45-year-old Johanne Patricia Ferguson (43) of Millgrove Park, Eglinton, were disqualified for nine years and four years respectively for their conduct as directors of Beige Game Trading, which operated the Waterfoot Hotel and Country Club on Clooney Road.

According to a statement from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Caroline Ayton's misconduct as director included "misappropriating" £52,000 from the company when it was insolvent, while Johanne Ferguson was said to have breached her duty as director by allowing her colleague to do so.

Beige Game Trading went into liquidation in January 2008 owing £397,000 to creditors and shareholders. It had zero assets.

DETI said it had accepted disqualification undertakings from both women for unfit conduct which was not disputed for the purposes of the disqualification.

That conduct also included failing to pay £116,200 in PAYE, National Insurance Contributions and VAT.

A total of 28 cheques amounting to £82,902, which eventually bounced, were written on a Bank of Ireland account between April 2006 and August 2007.

The same account also bore 65 unpaid direct debits of £101,821.

Caroline Ayton also accepted that she had borrowed more than the permitted £5,000 amount from the company and had failed to file accounts within the prescribed time period for nine years from 1984 to 1992 and for a further nine years for the period 1997 to 2005.

Johanne Ferguson also accepted failing to file an annual return for the year up to December 2006 and for failing to file annual returns from 1998 to 2005.

The Waterfoot Hotel and Country Club is now being run as part of the Garvan O'Doherty group, which also includes Da Vinci's Hotel.