Kevin Dundon’s Dunbrody House hotel sold to family of controversial US TV host

Republican candidate for Pennsylvania and cardiac surgeon Dr Mehmet Oz is Trump supporter

Celebrity chef Kevin Dundon has sold his Dunbrody House hotel to the in-laws of Dr Mehmet Oz, a controversial TV host and Republican candidate for Pennsylvania for the United States Senate, financial disclosures show.

As part of his run for the Senate, Dr Oz, had to disclose his financial assets. These showed his wife, Lisa Oz, is an owner of Dunbrody House hotel. Ms Oz’s family, the Lemoles, have invested in the site as a family.

Mr Dundon, the well-known celebrity chef, and his wife Catherine, have both owned and lived on the site since 1997. Financial disclosures from Dr Oz show the hotel is valued at between $500,000 and $1,000,000. Company records in Ireland show that Ms Oz’s father and sister are listed as directors for the new company.

A spokeswoman for Mr Dundon said that the Lemole family paid €2.15 million for the private residence on the site and a further €2.9 million for the hotel. Mr Dundon and his wife continue to operate the hotel as a going concern themselves and lease the private house from the Lemole’s.

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It is understood that Gerald Lemole, a qualified heart and lung surgeon and the father of Lisa, approached Mr Dundon about the purchase. Mr Lemole’s CV states that he has previously been in Ireland as a visiting professor at Trinity College Dublin.

Puck, an American political news website, reported last month that Dr Oz is said to have travelled to Ireland “to visit family” during June and July instead of being out campaigning. Dr Oz’s campaign officials declined to comment to Puck on whether or not he had visited Ireland. They also did not return a request for comment to The Irish Times.

Mr Dundon would not confirm if Dr Oz stayed at the hotel or residence with his family in recent months.

Dr Oz is a controversial figure in American public life. A qualified cardiac surgeon, he has long hosted his own TV show. In 2018 he tweeted that people should look to astrology for help with their health. The tweet was subsequently deleted.

Dr Oz was also appointed to be a member of then president Donald Trump’s council on sports, fitness and nutrition, an advisory board devoted to promoting healthy lifestyles across the nation. He has also promoted homeopathy. He subsequently secured the endorsement of Trump when he decided to run for the Senate.

Company records show that last April a new company, Dunbrody Country House Limited, was formed, with Mr Dundon and Mr Lemole as directors.

Dr Oz is running against John Fetterman, the Democratic candidate in the race, and is publishing increasingly bizarre attack ads against his opponent. This month his campaign ran an ad where screws and a bong emerged from the head of Fetterman, with the line: “Let’s pull back his hoodie and see what’s in his head. It looks like he has a few screws loose.”

Dunbrody House hotel has recently undergone a large-scale renovation costing €2 million as a result, with celebrity architect Hugh Wallace appointed to renovate the site.

Mr and Ms Dundon said when the Lemole family first contacted them about purchasing the site, they were really attracted to their “passion for Irish culture and heritage properties”.

They said the Lemoles’ vision and enthusiasm for old country houses was one they also shared. “Having looked at the working partnership they envisaged, we became very aware that it was the perfect way to secure the future of Dunbrody Country House hotel.”

They said they “very much look forward” to a close working partnership with the Lemole family in the years ahead. “It’s been fantastic for Catherine and I to remain 100 per cent part and parcel of Dunbrody.”