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Creditors back television's Mr Hotel over liquidation

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: March 21, 2012

Mark Jenkins shot to fame in Channel 4's documentary The Hotel

Mark Jenkins shot to fame in Channel 4's documentary The Hotel

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A Westcountry hotelier who shot to fame in his own fly-on-the-wall TV documentary, last year put three of his businesses into liquidation with debts of several thousands, it has emerged.

But the local traders to whom the businesses still owe money are, in the main, happy to stand by the man who has become an unlikely television hit, even making a cameo appearance on comedian Harry Hill's show.

Out-of-pocket creditors could have been forgiven for harbouring a grudge against a Mark Jenkins, manager of the Grosvenor hotel in Torquay, and who has subsequently gone on to enjoy success as the protagonist in Channel 4 fly-on-the-wall series The Hotel. Yet the majority of those owed money seem to hold nothing but admiration for a man who they say has simply made innocent mistakes.

"Mr Jenkins has done everything he can to keep jobs in Torbay – I've got absolutely no problem with how he has run his business," said one Devon-based businessman, who was among an army of creditors who came out in defence of Mr Jenkins after being contacted by the Western Morning News.

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The man, who asked not to be named, lost nearly £6,000 but said he had no grudge with Mr Jenkins, and was proud to count himself among his list of suppliers.

He added: "Mark has tried his hardest not to go bust. I am not a man to kick someone when they're down, and I'm happy to support him because he is doing well for Torbay."

Inglewood Hotel Limited formerly traded the business of the Inglewood, Kistor and Grosvenor hotels prior to its cessation in June 2011.

Mr Jenkins was director since 2002 and, despite the corporate changes, is still referred to as proprietor of the hotel company.

The freeholds to each of the hotels were owned by Mr Jenkins personally and the company traded the hotels under lease agreements with the freeholder. The trading of the three hotels is now being carried out by different trading entities.

The Grosvenor has since gone on feature in its own documentary series, and assured Mr Jenkins an extension to Andy Warhol's 15 minutes of fame.

The series has drawn comparisons with Fawlty Towers due to Mr Jenkins' eccentric management style, though his new-found "celebrity status" has been a kick in the teeth for some creditors.

They include John Patt, managing director of John Patt's Ltd fresh produce firm, who said he was owed around £5,500 when the businesses were put into administration.

Mr Patt, of Barnstaple in North Devon, said: "Seeing Mark Jenkins on the television and in the newspaper saying that business is excellent is a very bitter pill to swallow.

"We are not a large company and I appreciate that we are only one of the suppliers who have lost money, but to us a £5,500 loss is an unacceptable situation."

Others, however, are content to wipe the slate. One creditor, owed just over £3,500, said: "I'm not going to get a penny back, but I was at the creditors' meeting and I thought Mr Jenkins came across as an honest, decent and genuine man.

"He's not the only person in the world to have made the odd mistake.

"But he has kept dozens of people in jobs and he has helped bring television cameras to Torbay. He didn't ask for the documentary to be made about him, and doesn't live the life of Riley."

In fact the 51-year-old lives in one room of the Grosvenor, and only recently began paying himself a wage, of £300 per week. He has seven-figure negative equity and has seen the collapse of his marriage.

Despite the setbacks, caused by "a lack of support and funding" from banks, he is determined to honour the faith his suppliers – and the people of Torquay – have shown in him.

"I am so sorry that anybody lost money in all this," he said. "Obviously, it was never my intention and we have continued to trade with suppliers as much as possible. I can understand why some people are upset.But I'd never had a company liquidated in my life, and I'm not one of these characters who lives the high life while sticking two fingers up to everyone else.

"A sane person would have walked away from this, but I want to try and help Torquay as much as possible. And, judging by what people in the industry are saying, The Hotel has helped show tourists a little of the area I know and love."

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  • debbieeltring  |  February 05 2013, 5:19PM

    What a crying shame that such a motivated and forward thinking man such as Mark Jenkins has lost the battle to keep this Hotel afloat. You do not have to have known the man to feel compassion for him. I am glad to say I have the chance to to air that opinion along with so many others. I watched his plight on Channel 4 and openly admired his tenacity and very amiable character. He didn`t have the best start as the odds were already stacked against him but he couldn`t of sacrificed anymore of himself to turn things around. Very sad indeed. Wish I could wish him all the very best in person.

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  • Wrathpaco  |  March 21 2012, 3:44PM

    HENRYBLINCE in answer to your comments !!!!!!! Do you realy think that the people commenting on here do no know this man, hius buisness or how he has run it ?, surely you can not be that naive. This man bought the Grosvenor with none of his own money because he did not have any, continued to trade while he knew he was insolvent, produced fraudulant accounts which he sent out to the financial market place, formed 2 phoenix companies to carry on trading the day after he liquadated Inglewood Hotel Ltd, then purchased a £100,000 Bentley the week after, does Mark Jenkins and you realy think that people are going to sit back and say, oh well we lost a lot of money but he's a goodguy so lets not be bothered that he has ripped us off ?. I dont bloody think so !!!!, He can have his 15 mins of fame and enjoy it for the time being, but i can assure you people will not just sit back and let this man swan around with there hard earned money propping up his new buisness and do nothing about it. Should Mr Jenkins or you find any of my comments unfounded, snarky or libellous then please feel free to sue me.

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  • goldenoldy  |  March 21 2012, 12:03PM

    He runs himself ragged doing the best for HIMSELF' and his remarks caught off main camera where he makes detrimental remarks about guests,entertainers and staff plainly show who his priority is.Also when he charges into the kitchen and starts doing the chef's job in his day clothes with no hair-net and hand wash should have the health inspector taking note.

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  • nicold  |  March 21 2012, 11:30AM

    " Mark runs himself ragged trying to do the best for his." I take it you mean 'customers', as he's obviously not running around trying pay back his creditors, whilst swanning around in his Bentley car, which must cost a fortune to run... And he does NOT charge for autographs!!" Why should he charge?...he's a nobody!

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  • goldenoldy  |  March 21 2012, 9:50AM

    @Henryblince, it might occur to you that Some of the people commenting here know the fellow VERY well ! and had dealings with him to their detriment. Dont be so quick to defend the indefensible.

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  • jumblejee  |  March 21 2012, 9:32AM

    No Basil Fawlty he aint!! Basil Fawlty was horrible to his customers and staff. Mark runs himself ragged trying to do the best for his. And he does NOT charge for autographs!!

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  • ivanovski  |  March 21 2012, 8:46AM

    Henryblince I don't think you have thought this through. Yes we do know about this man and a lot about how he has run his businesses. Bankruptcies are in the public domain. Mr. Jenkins has sought publicity and publicly comments on the history of his business dealings and publicly defends his conduct. He is willingly interviewed by television and the press. People therefore have a legitimate right to comment on the financial and moral dimensions involved here. If Mr. Jenkins wanted it all to remain under wraps he could have conducted himself quite differently. However you are right to say that such comments should not be libelous.

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  • Debris  |  March 21 2012, 8:14AM

    @henryblince - clearly you haven't actually read the story because it clearly states that some of the people who have done business with him and he owed money to are not happy and it actually names and quotes one of his crediters.

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  • henryblince  |  March 21 2012, 7:58AM

    Why is this the business of anyone here? None of you know this man, his business or how he runs it. His creditors, who have done business with him and do know him have no problem with the way he's conducted himself. He obviously works hard, he's created jobs and he brings money into the region. What rights do any of you have to come here and make unfounded, snarky and libellous remarks about a complete stranger. And shame on the Herald Express for encouraging this kind of thing.

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  • goldenoldy  |  March 21 2012, 12:13AM

    How sad is it that people are queuing up to have photo's taken with him and get autographs (paid for) from his camp staff just because they are on T.V. just like the dumb Essex planks who are no good to society whatever,car-crash tv rules. Some folk would watch paint dry on ch4, if it was a well run nice hotel, no story. This man is an ego-maniac,Basil Fawlty he aint .

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