Belfast Telegraph

Boss of failed Red Sky made bankrupt over debts of £17m

The former head of controversial construction firm Red Sky has been declared bankrupt over debts of nearly £17m.

An order was made against Norman Hayes at the High Court in Belfast following a petition by the Northern Bank.

The bank brought proceedings claiming it was owed millions of pounds on a series of personal guarantees.

Mr Hayes, described in court papers as a businessman of Quarry Road, Belfast, was managing director of now defunct company Red Sky until it went into voluntary administration in 2011.

It followed a decision by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) to cancel maintenance contracts with the firm over concerns about shoddy work practices and over-charging.

Red Sky's maintenance firm began working for the Housing Executive in 2004 and had major contracts to carry out repairs and maintenance.

The company was employing around 450 people when it was stripped of its lucrative Housing Executive contract in 2011 – and the troubled firm went into voluntary liquidation.

In the aftermath, there was a major political row after the DUP was accused of trying to influence a party councillor's vote over whether to extend a Red Sky contract at an NIHE board meeting. The minister in charge of the NIHE, Nelson McCausland (right), has denied any wrongdoing and his department is examining the matter. In its bankruptcy application the Northern Bank – now Danske – listed five personal guarantees between 2006 and 2008 it said formed part of Mr Hayes' debt.

They included nearly £7m in total for lending facilities provided to the Red Sky Group.

A further £6.59m was linked to Rivermount Developments Ltd.

Another £646,000 was for facilities the bank provided to Ramparts Holding Company Ltd.

The bank has also attempted to claw back nearly £2.56m on a series of accounts, according to the papers.

Its petition stated that despite formal demand letters the money remains due.

"The above-mentioned debt is for a liquidated sum payable immediately and the debtor appears unable to pay it," it claimed.

Mr Hayes' centre of main interests were listed as Quarry Road and the offices of Totalis Solutions Ltd, Grove Street East, Belfast. The Northern Ireland Court Service confirmed a bankruptcy order had been made against the businessman.

PROFILE

Norman Hayes, the chief executive of controversy-hit housing repair firm Red Sky, was once a Manchester United trialist who later joined Irish League side Glentoran. The 49-year-old is a member of a £130m film investment syndicate alongside football legends Sir Alex Ferguson and Glen Hoddle.

Originally from east Belfast, he began his business career with a newsagents shop and a coal business before building a multi-million pound empire with the Red Sky maintenance firm at its heart.

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