Signature Living chairman Lawrence Kenwright has accused Liverpool City Council of being "corrupt" after a food hygiene inspection resulted in the closure of one of its restaurants.
The Carpathia restaurant at the company's 30 James Street hotel in Liverpool (pictured) suddenly closed its doors following the inspection.
A council spokesman said: "We can confirm that we carried out a routine food hygiene inspection at 30 James Street and recommended that the venue closed while certain issues identified are resolved."
A spokesperson for Signature Living said: "Following recent building works adjacent to the 30 James Street hotel, we are now currently investigating an issue which has affected our kitchen and service. We will issue a more fuller statement when the findings of that investigation are made clear which we expect to have concluded in the next 48 - 72 hours."
However, Kenwright took to Facebook detailing a "long-running feud" between himself and the council.
"We believe we are about to be told that our bid for Croxteth Hall is not good enough," Kenwright said on Facebook, referencing the company's bid to transform the city's Grade II-listed Croxteth Hall into a hotel and wedding venue.
He continued: "Tonight we received a visit from EHO [Environmental Health Officers] in 30 James St who come unannounced and discovered mouse droppings due to building work next door which has dislodged mice…
"We have a council which is desperately trying to discredit Signature Living - a local company that employs 800 people and is the lifeblood of our city's tourism economy - just so they can vindicate their reason for leaving Croxteth Hall on the shelf. A straight NO would have done it!"
A council spokesperson said: "Our Environmental Health team have a legal duty to inspect all food premises on a regular basis, and it is standard national practice for them to visit unannounced. Following a complaint from a member of the public, and in line with our usual procedures, we visited 30 James Street on Wednesday 7 March and identified serious hygiene issues.
"They have been treated in exactly the same way as any other premises would be, and we look forward to working with them positively to support them to resolve the problems we have identified, and make sure the food they are serving to the public from their kitchens is not compromised due to hygiene issues."
— Lawrence Kenwright (@LawKenwright)
The 64-bedroom, Titanic-themed hotel opened in 2014 following a £7m investment by Signature Living. The building was once the office of White Star Line, which co-ordinated the launch of the ill-fated Titanic. Carpathia was the name of the ship that helped rescue survivors of the Titanic.
Videos from The Caterer archives