BY JAMES WILKINSON
Billionaire Queensland businessman Clive Palmer has unbranded Hyatt Regency Coolum in what is set to turn into a legal battle between Australia’s fifth richest man and the Chicago-based hotel chain.
Palmer has rebranded the property as The Coolum Golf Resort and Spa and national newspapers were today reporting that the multi-billionaire is set to sue Hyatt for $60 million for “misused funds”.
“We believe Hyatt has been syphoning funds over the years back to their headquarters in Chicago and there has been a major cover up of these activities,” The Sunshine Coast Daily reported Palmer as saying.
“We have uncovered this activity since taking over the resort last year,” he said.
According to the paper, Palmer is set to file an application against Hyatt in the Queensland Supreme Court.
In a statement, Hyatt, which has been running the hotel for the last 24 years, said they were surprised with the move by Palmer to unbrand the property.
“Since the hotel’s opening in 1988, Hyatt has been very proud to be associated with the hotel,” Hyatt said.
“We are extremely surprised to receive notice that the hotel’s owner wishes to terminate our long-standing management agreement and strongly disagree with Mr Palmer’s characterisation of our performance.
“Hyatt is currently considering its position,” the company said.
As of 11:30am today (Feb 22), the Hyatt website was still accepting bookings for the property.