Malmaison founder Ken McCulloch has suffered a fresh blow to his hotel interests after business partner and Formula One star David Coulthard had a winding up petition issued for the Dakota hotel in Nottingham.
Coulthard had taken the action after personally lending the Dakota Sherwood Park hotel in Nottingham hundreds of thousands of pounds.
It comes after the business partners' Columbus hotel in Monaco was placed on the market in July. Speculation at to why has suggested a disagreement between McCulloch and third Columbus investor US multi-millionaire Phillip Morris.
McCulloch insisted that despite the winding up petition it was very much business as normal at Dakota.
"Absolutely nothing has changed," he told The Scotsman. "It was a shareholder issue but there was absolutely no need for David to do this. He will be paid. I can't understand why he did this. I did try to speak to him."
Dakota is McCulloch's "super-budget concept". Other than Nottingham there are two other sites in Scotland, with plans to take the chain across the UK.
A luxury £18m Columbus hotel is also ear marked for Mercedes Benz World at Brooklands, Surrey. The project, being handled by architects Carey Jones, has already been delayed by a year but is due to open later this year.
By Chris Druce