He drives a Lamborghini worth millions but according to his landlord, Janine Stacey Charles, Durban nightclub owner Lovendran Marimuthu has not paid rent for months.
Frustrated and “financially embarrassed”, Charles made an urgent application to the Durban High Court this week to have Marimuthu evicted.
He owns the popular Bellagio Nightclub. She owns the property situated on 178 Matthews Meyiwa (Stamford Hill) Road. Judgment is pending.
In court documents, Charles claimed she was owed about R600 000.
This was made up of an overdue deposit and unpaid rent.
She said despite not paying his dues, Marimuthu continued to “flaunt his Lamborghini”.
She alleges that he tried to deceive her that the nightclub was in “financial distress” by applying for business rescue. But according to information Charles had, Bellagio was taking in R250 000 a month, mostly in cash, from entrance fees and the bar.
Marimuthu is the son of convicted drug dealer Timmy Marimuthu, who is believed to have used his influence to secure high-ranking positions within the SAPS for at least four close family members.
He is the sole member of Velvet Star Entertainment, the close corporation that owns Bellagio.
Charles is the managing member of a company that had a lease agreement since 2010 with the night-club boss, who is known as the “Lamborghini man”.
After he failed to raise the cash to buy the building from Charles, he entered into a 48-month deal to rent it in June 2013. The deal required him to pay a deposit of R180 000. His monthly rental was set at R55 000 and increased to R58 000 six months later. In terms of the lease he was not allowed to make any alterations to the premises without Charles’s written consent.
The relationship soured when Marimuthu allegedly:
l Made major alterations to the premises without Charles’s endorsement.
l Failed to pay the rental deposit.
l Repeatedly breached their lease agreement by failing to pay monthly rentals.
By July last year Marimuthu owed more than R135 000 – debt which he acknowledged.
His arrears grew over the next few months but Charles allowed Marimuthu to operate in the hope he would clear his outstanding dues. However, that failed to happen.
In November Charles was told business rescue practitioners had taken over operations at Bellagio.
On February 3 the practitioners wrote to Charles informing her that Bellagio was “doomed to failure”.
Charles claimed that Marimuthu made a deliberate attempt to “frustrate” her by committing Bellagio to business rescue. “It was an abuse of the process and used for an ulterior purpose,” she alleged.
In court papers Charles said she had to pay about R12 000 a month in respect of levies, rates, water and lights and insurances for the building. She did this without getting a cent from Marimuthu, who continues to operate Bellagio.
“This is a slap in my face,” she said.
Charles has asked the court to cancel the lease with Marimuthu, evict him and order him not to remove fixtures and fittings.
Werner Cawood, the business rescue practitioner at the Bellagio, opposed the application.
Cawood said Charles was aware of an application in the Gauteng High Court to have Marimuthu’s business liquidated and she was trying to get ahead of Bellagio’s creditors.
The liquidation application is still pending.
The practitioner labelled the fixtures and improvements a “contentious issue” because some of the items were not completely fixed.
“Business rescue is not about the personal life of Marimuthu but the affairs of the business,” was Cawood’s argument, in respect of the Lamborghini.
He acknowledged that Marimuthu owed money to Charles but questioned why Charles allowed him to trade from her premises for almost a year before making the application.
He also said that if the nightclub had generated R250 000 his attempts to rescue it would have been possible.
Meanwhile, a Facebook page has been created advertising a new nightclub called Tribeca, operating at the same address as the Bellagio.
The advert said Tribeca would “give Durban nightlife with a New York spin with its rich wood and leather bar and lounge downstairs and a pumping light and sound exhibition upstairs”.
According to the manager, who identified himself as Jeremy, the club will open on Friday for VIP guests and on Saturday to the public.
“The club has new owners,” said the manager but was not prepared to reveal their identities.
When contacted for comment Charles said she had heard rumours about the new nightclub and the Facebook page.
“I’m surprised and can’t understand how a new club can be opened while there is an eviction application pending in the High Court.”