ISME to the Rescue

1997-10-22 ISME Confirmation

Then Mr. Frank Mulcahy of ISME, one of the many people we discussed our plight with, came to the rescue! I got an invitation to speak at the ISME conference in Killarney.

A few weeks before this was due to happen a Mr. Burbridge from IDA Ireland “happened to be passing” the factory in Clonakilty and suddenly most of what we had agreed before coming to Ireland was back on the table but without the adjacent field or freehold! We were desperately short of space but we would not get the field. These agencies were fully aware of our space problem but they would not include the expansion field. Without the possibility to expand the business could not achieve our goals particularly in North America. Our interpretation of this is that they wanted to give us a way out of the situation to avoid a scandal but they did not want this business in this factory.

In any case as a family we had been through years of very hard work for little pay only to be subjected to 20 months of hell on earth at the hands of what we considered to be a bunch of arrogant, incompetent, condescending, Criminally active conmen. Enough was enough and we wanted to be free. We did not want to have to deal with these people any more.

1997-10-10 Mr. Burbridge IDA Ireland

Please note that this is the same Mr. Burbridge of IDA who says that IDA had nothing to do with us. Of all of the people from the Irish State Agencies with whom we had dealings in Ireland Mr. Burbridge is the most puzzling. He is clearly trying to help in the situation and in contrast to his colleagues had a grasp of the use of reason. What happened with him or perhaps to him in the Holt story remains something we still wonder about.

I advertised for and found an investor who seemed, on the face of it, to be a suitable candidate. A mantelpiece manufacturer from Limerick who was under pressure with orders from the builders. He agreed to buy the wooden table end of the business and the brand for a nominal amount and we would take the Mantis table and the Software to Belgium. The staff and the creditors were secured. We would continue installing and servicing Holt tables on the mainland for a fee. IDA would sell the building to the company as agreed before relocating to Ireland. I could go home.

1997-11-06 Agreement McMahon Russell-Janssen
1998-01-28 IDA Burbridge Everything is OK


It broke our hearts but we were finally free.

To my eternal shame I did not dare to speak at the ISME conference in Killarney. This family owes Frank Mulcahy a great deal.

We needed a contract with the new owner but the company’s solicitors did not return our calls so in the end we wrote one ourselves but insured that we received undertaking from IDA protecting the creditors in any case. The contract was straight forward enough. He was getting a very nice setup with a skill base far better than what he had in his rather dickensian setup in Limerick. We agreed to back him up on the mainland. We had sought and received undertakings from IDA that would insure that Mr. Mc Mahon would have to honor his commitments to the creditors and the Revenue under our contract.

Prior to resigning as directors we called IDA seeking reassurances that all was in order and the reader will note from this tape that we again received such reassurance.

Another Betrayal

In 1998 we became aware that Mr. Mc Mahon was not honoring his obligations under our agreement. On the right you can see the sort of letters he was sending to the creditors. Well I suppose you could say that we should have known better than to trust IDA and indeed that is the case.

The Creditors and the Revenue are ripped off.
The Creditors and the Revenue are ripped off.

I could not believe it Mr. Burbridge seemed to be of a different caliber. He was after all the secretary of IDA Ireland! We could not believe it. After all we had been through they did not sell the factory to Willie Holt (Ireland) Ltd they sold it to another vehicle and Mr. Mc Mahon then sold it immediately to one of his other companies and made a fortune. The company was asset stripped and the creditors and the Revenue ripped off. So after destroying a beautiful project like Willie Holts over their precious real estate they then give it on a plate to some dishonest person from Limerick. We wonder what he did to deserve a present of such a fortune from the tax payers of Ireland or was it just more incompetence from the conmen.

This libelous letter was written by Mr. Carl Dillon a close personal friend of the Willie Holt (Ireland) Ltd´s auditor Mr. Sheehan. The same Mr. Sheehan who witnessed the contract between ourselves and Mr. Mc Mahon! Needless to say having dealt with these creditors for years and having fought for two years to protect us all we were never going to work with the new owner of Holts again. So they lost their Continental installation and service infrastructure.

Holts new owner Mr. Mc Mahon had demanded a price rise from Gauselmann. Price rises in Germany have a season. In our business the time for price increases was before the most important trade show the IMA which takes place in Frankfurt at the end of January each year. It is at this Trade Show that agents and distributers are informed of their prices for the coming year. So Mr. McMahon's demand was out of season. Gauselmann were shocked but in the end agreed to the increase. Mr. Mc Mahon then demanded that each container of tables be paid in advance. This was all going on in English and Mr. Mc Mahon never took the time to visit Germany. Gauselmann never contacted him again.

They did make one more table, a snooker table resulting from an Internet sale to Argentina. Shortly after that there was a web server problem and Mr. Mc Mahon did not understand the technology and the website went off line.

Poor Willie Holts, almost made it to the future. No further billiard tables were ever produced in Clonakilty.

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