The first meeting of the five-person committee of inspection that will oversee the interests of creditors in the liquidation of OCS Operations, the trading arm of Clerys, will take place on Monday at the Dublin offices of KPMG.
Concession-holders owed more than €2 million in takings by the bust department store succeeded on Tuesday in gaining three seats on the group.
Helen Lynch, owner of Best of Irish Designs, David Jones of Best Menswear and Keith Rogers of shoe retailer Ecco are believed to be the business-owners elected to the body.
They will be joined by a representative of the Department of Social Protection as well as barrister Hugh Hegarty of Siptu. Mr Hegarty will represent the interests of workers who lost out when the store went into liquidation in June.
The committee was elected at a meeting of Clerys’ creditors in Dublin yesterday called by the KPMG liquidators. Concession-holders were told they would receive an interim payment of €400,000 of the money they are owed.
Ms Lynch described the establishment of the committee as “another step forward in locating where our money has gone”.
“We will go to KPMG’s offices on Monday and ask questions in relation to whether the money was held in trust, and we will ask to see spreadsheets and so on. If the money was held in trust, where is it now?” she said.
Siptu said its representative would help to “oversee the liquidators’ ongoing investigations concerning the behaviour of the company directors and relevant transactions prior to the liquidation”.
“The appointment of a Siptu legal expert from our Workers Rights’ Centre will ensure that the workers’ voices are heard throughout this process and that their interests will be represented,” it said.
Some creditors have expressed concern that Clerys was separated into a solvent property company and what became an insolvent trading arm in the years before it was sold.
US private equity house Gordon Brothers sold it to a consortium led by property developer Deirdre Foley in June. The trading arm was then flipped for €1 and put into liquidation.
The Irish Times revealed yesterday that Lorraine Sweeney, a prominent business owner who ran the cafes at Clerys, was preparing a legal action against the vendors and buyers of Clerys, as well as the liquidators, in relation to the decision to split the business into two divisions.