Former Distinguished Hotels chairman Tim Hadcock-Mackay claimed "abuses of trust" caused the collapse of the hotel marketing association shortly before his suicide last month.

According to his lawyers, Hadcock-Mackay, 43, who was found dead at his Nottinghamshire estate on 28 July, left a note which told of his "utter dismay at the rumours circulating from fair-weather friends" after the demise of Distinguished.

The company went into liquidation last month after closing its doors in April with debts of more than £1m.

Former financial director David Owen, who failed to ensure that PAYE was paid for five years, and shareholder William Burruss are currently helping financial authorities with their investigations.

At the time of the collapse, Hadcock-Mackay said he was considering legal action against Owen and had "only been guilty" of trusting his former financial director.

The subsequent publicity surrounding the case was the apparent cause of his suicide. His lawyers said: "The letter leaves little doubt that it was the subsequent personal abuse he received from a number of ex-colleagues and perceived friends that left him unable to carry on."

Despite the continued uncertainty surrounding Distinguished, tributes to Hadcock-Mackay have poured in from the hotel industry.

Anne Voss-Bark, owner of the Arundell Arms hotel in Lifton, Devon, called him a "person of great charm and integrity".

"He wasn't an accountant. He was the type of person that trusted people. When I joined Distinguished it was purely on the strength of the person I deemed him to be," she said.

Hotel PR agent Nigel Massey described Hadcock-Mackay as a mixture of "Bertie Wooster, Cary Grant and Nigel Havers".

"There are strong characters in the restaurant industry but Tim was the sort of larger-than-life character the hotel industry needs and will miss," he said.

Andrew Beale, managing director of Beales Hotels, said: "In an age when most senior hotel people seem rather robotic, with revpar and Ebitda more highly prized than personality and imagination, Tim was the exception."

The funeral took place yesterday (9 August) in Retford, Nottinghamshire, and a service of thanksgiving will be held later this year.

Tim Hadcock-Mackay's career

  • 1985-1991: Began as a manager at the Stafford hotel, St James, London. This was followed by various sales and management roles at the Ritz and the Dukes hotel in London and at marketing consortium Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
  • 1992: Founded Grand Heritage Hotels International marketing consortium in Europe as chairman.
  • 2004: Launched Distinguished Hotels marketing consortium as chairman.

By Tom Bill

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