Net News offices closed by landlord

| 14/10/2009

(CNS): Update 10:45am — Cayman Net News publisher, Desmond Seales, and the paper’s staff are now occupying four suites at the Treasure Island Resort and will be continuing to put out Net News from this new accommodation following the repossession of the Net News offices at Alissta Towers by the property owners, CNS understands. It has been no secret in recent weeks that Net News has faced something of a cash flow crisis. Yesterday, the alleged failure of the proprietor to pay rent at the paper’s offices resulted in the landlord retaking possession of the premises. Staff arrived at work on Tuesday morning to find the locks changed and a notice on the door telling them of the landlord’s action.

 In August Alissta Towers Ltd, the landlord of the property, filed a writ in the Grand Court claiming over $50,000 in unpaid rent, which the landlord said had been presented on 12 bad cheques  issued by Cayman Net News and its sister company MCM consultants.

According to the notice posted on the doors of the newspaper’s offices, staff were given a brief opportunity in the afternoon to collect their personal belongings, at which point, CNS was told, the publisher, Desmond Seales, held a meeting with staff in which he vowed Net News would continue, witnesses reported that Seales removed the computers and other equipment from the premises before driving off in a van.

During the last few months Seales has allegedly struggled to pay staff, pensions, health care payments and permits. A number of employees have resigned or have been dismissed in the last few weeks, including lead reporter Tad Stoner and desk editor Paul Charles.

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  1. Anonymous says:

     I am not surprised. The several meetings I had with Desmond about setting up a new division for him made me realize that he was a crook. He felt he knew everything, so my question was why would he need someone like me. It was very hard to find anyone on the island that had anything good to say about him. In the end I think he realized that there was no way he was going to be able to manipulate me and I turned down his offer.

    It is a real shame about the position he has left his employees in and they really should take him to court. I think another spell in prison will help him change his perspective.

    If he was an honest man none of this would be happening to him.

  2. INVESTIGATE... says:

    If all the allegations of non-payment of Health Insurance or Pensions are true, then it is VERY easy to have that verified.  Why isn’t the Pensions BOard stepping up to at least set the record straight, if he is paying, and at worst, make him a shining example of their powers and the importance of adhering to the law???

    Every pension plan sends out reports to the employees, if they have not been getting these, chances are there is something awry…

    At best, DS will get a gold star for a change, at worst he will be back on his old familiar haunting grounds at Northward!!! 

  3. John Evans says:

    Interesting editorial in Friday’s Net News.

    So it’s everyone’s fault except the owner of the newspaper who is an innocent victim of other people’s wrong doings? LOL!!!!

    When Lyndon Martin joined Net News at the beginning of 2007 the company was on the verge of bankruptcy after a disastrous decision to try and publish six days a week. This additional output had been launched without any valid market research being conducted or with any attempt being made to provide proper staffing.

    As the months went by and the weekend circulation never came close to generating a profit, Desmond was repeatedly told that the project was bleeding the company dry financially but refused to back down.

    Eventually, the ‘Weekender’ was dropped and, with Lyndon’s presence, things started to return to comparative normality. True wages were paid late, cheques occasionally bounced and we had a steady staff turnover but Lyndon tempered our boss’s worst excesses and provided management skills that had been lacking before.

    When Lyndon was arrested things went downhill within days and have obviously never improved.

  4. Anonymous says:

    ALT has been more patient and lenient with Seales  & Net News than our heavenly Father above.  Seales XXXX.& the present situation he has found himself in has nothing to do with the current economic problems.  Owing rent has been a norm  for Seales at Allista Towers for quite a few years now prior to this current economic crisis, so this is not an excuse.  Empty promises and bounced cheques get old after so many years.  Obviously, his extended stay in Northward prison years ago did not teach him a lesson.  Anyone who would believe that this was a political move would be crazy as everyone should be very familiar with Desmond Seales and his business ventures.  His status & MBE should have been taken away a long time ago as he is only an embarassment to the islands.  I seriously doubt Treasure Island with be so lenient with him as a tenant, hope they collected up-front.  He should go bury his head in the sand on 7 Mile Beach, but then again, why contaminate a beautiful beach?Kudos to ALT, Desmond shame on you!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I would "never ever" contribute nothing (financially or by posted comments) to Cayman Net News mainly because of the character of the owner.

    So unpredictable !!!!

    How in the world was an award for an MBE (Member British Empire) bestowed around 20-25 years ago anyhow ???

    I do remember the old "Northwester" magazine which was on Crewe Road next to Jose’s Gas Station (Old ABC Liquors Building) However, giving credit where credit is due, is was an excellent read back then in the 70-80s with this magazine.

    The marl road has it that money is still owed to some of the old employees from back then.

    I feel very sorry for the current staff whom I believe are honest and hardworking and are trying to make an honest living here in the Cayman Islands.

    For their sake, I hope things works out well or maybe they could get a job elsewhere, where they wouldn’t have to worry about getting paid their monthly salary or be under such "control and rule" of their boss. 


  6. AwlyMilly Kins says:

    Aw jus wish we had some more kmanyuns wid da guts of Desmond Seales.  Luv ya paper Desmond! Keep it coming, don’t care where da @#%7*! ya hofice dem. 

    Print shop soon come……………*+0

  7. Pale Rider says:

    I seem to remember an old quote that said, "Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.."…I think DS took that to heart with the NN…

  8. Anonymous says:

    As usual anything with Desmond will drag out to the bitter end. How in the hell can he run a paper out of TI? Rent there is over $1,600 US a month! Maybe he’s worked out a deal with them because times are tight for them too but this is not sustainable. Desmond is incapable of throwing in the towel though and admitting his failure as a business man. As someone who worked for him for about a year I know full well he deducted my health insurance and my pension and pocketed it for himself. DER is so weak though they offered no protection and I just sat through the ordeal until I could leave on my own terms. The journalists who worked there over the years deserve some credit though. It was a constant ethics battle with DS. He ran the paper maliciously more often than not and he ran the overall business like it was a personal charge card and played mind tricks on all of his staff. He preyed on the weak and now he is the weak one with only shame to offer. His story about the lockout was full of nonsense. If the lockout was political, as so many things on Cayman are, its just a means to an end. Desmond was never above playing political games to suit his own ego and I often thought that the man was utterly delusional. After the wall street meltdown Desmond went out and bought a whole new set of office furniture, he spent vast amounts of money on trips to Miami and flying people in from Turks and Caicos to invest in his new plan to start a paper there. Truth is, he will never even be granted a publishing license there because of his vitriol and unscrupulous business tactics. The people who work for DS however are by in large good people, just tainted by their submission to his predatory behavior. Desmond can not blame this on the government, he can only blame this on himself though in the end. If he was running a truly stand up business a $50,000 cash flow issue wouldn’t close him down. He obviosuly had enough to rent some condos at TI but he is effectively broke and probably has just enough money to make it a few more weeks at best. If he is getting sued by AL Tompkins I will imagine he will be forced to file bankruptcy or everything from the Net News computers to his SUV will be repossessed. Anyways its an important story to cover because Desmond has been at the center of so many scandals just in the last year or two that have cost the country more than Boatswains Beach or CAL. Good luck Cayman and thank your god that CNS was started by two former Net News editors because on an island like Cayman there needs to be at least two voices to know what is going on.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Unethical practices in journalism will always ensure the downfall of a newspaper…..remember the CAL/Net News situation adn the money he owed them. Because he pressed them for payment he attached them in his "Not News"

    Good riddance Desmond…..get your a** on a plane to T&T !!!!!!!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Desmond Seales has nobody to blame for the Net News’s downfall but himself. It his complete and utter lack of business acumen that has caused this situation, nothing else.

    Other media organisations have survived the economic downturn by keeping their finances under control and investing in quality journalism. Desmond Seales, however, has no concept of journalism or business, he purely has the means the means to print.

    The way this man has treated his hard-working staff is a disgrace. The sooner this man is banned from operating in the Cayman Islands, the better.



  11. Anonymous says:

    As much as I despise Desmond Seales, you have to admire his perseverance.  He falls, gets up and dusts himself. (Only to start with his XXXX ways again.!)

  12. Anonymous says:

    I think the Cayman Net News Closure is more a Political clamp down than anything.  There is no cash problems.  How did they allowed him to run up his rent to $ 50,000????.  If he had a cash problem, then how come he can rent 4 suites at Treasure Islands now?  Huuuuummm maybe the owners of the Alyssa towers is tired of Desmond’s bashing his poor UDP’s?  One last maybe…Maybe Bridger paid for the suites, Ha thought about that!!!..LOL!!  Desmond you go Boy, keep the news coming.  Keep exposing the dirt on everyone…..they are all too dutty.  LOL!

    • Thankful says:

      If this was not so serious a matter, it would be funny.  No, don’t encourage him to hang himself once more.  Is there space for another daily paper  – I do not know (am not in the business).  Is there a place for competitive, honest, clean, fair and truthful jounalism – yes!

      I can count too numerous times that many of te adjectives could not be used by the Net News.  Pressing the issue is one thing…sensationalism and a total disregard for truth and the responsibility of the dangers for being reckless with the strokes of the pen is quite another.

      In my opinion, Mr. Seales, has allowed personal matters to play into his, I assume, desire for a paper worthy of the .50 cents he wants daily from the public for it.  There is the business of selling papers.  Business does not allow for egos and unscrupulous "deals and actins".  Instead, it supports: best practises, honesty, integrity and value propositions.  He has lost sight of this and seem hell bent on fullfilling a twisted vision.  Business, at least in the long run, will not support this.

      Again, he would be smart to heed the warning on the wall and adjust his vision.  If it is cloudy, the imagination will not be focused.

    • Anonymous says:

      I do  not think it is a political clamp down as guys such as Al Thompson  do not owe their social and financial  postion to the  existence to the UDP, though they may be supporters of that party.

      I guess he was just being lenient on Seales for all these years but finally it came to a point where he ( Al Thompson) was tired of being lenient.

      Desmond has always had problems with paying his bills as he is financially irresponsible and does not have any understanding of financial management and really does not care if he settles his  obligations

    • Anonymous says:

       Right.  How has Desmond managed to stay in business all these years and yet always be broke or in debt?  ‘Cause he’s got the money, he just don’t want to give it to you!

      • Un tasse de tea says:

         ‘Cause he’s got the money, he just don’t want to give it to you!"

        or his staff apparently!

    • Anonymous says:

      Just another senseless PPM idiotic peice of behavior. Grow up. If you was owed 50,000 in rent you would want it too, so just stop your stupidity and get a life. XXXX

    • Anonymous says:

      I would have to agree with the part of exposing all the dirt, XXXXXX However the comment about the UDP etc. is nothing but a pile of BS on your part, how stupid, ignorant and idiotic can one get!!???

  13. Thankful says:

    Maybe this is why the Net News were so strong in their support for the guest worker.  Maybe a debt of gratitude to try and placate them for the alleged labour laws abuses taking place.

    Mr. Seales, the animosity and hard feelings you have single-handedly created in this community are numerous.  Not to mention the many almost treason like writings you have made against the CI, in the name of profits and "I told you so" .  

    It can’t be nice to read the sentiments of rejection and contempt for you and your business-model; surely, you could not expect any less – unless of course your ego thrives on despair.  Then we would have to examine your humanity. 

    I would not wish anyone bad…but I do pray you examine your position on all fronts.  This society, has, for all intent and purposes been good to you.  You seemed to have abused our acceptance on many levels.

    Like the old Caymanians say: Time longer than rope.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Well I hope Treasure Island took money up front.  After the Clifford scandal, the judge Levers fiasco and the Net News breakin/Operation Tempura (all were as a result of this so-called ‘newspaper’) I am sure he will be looking for one more way to cost the caymanian taxpayer millions before he finally slithers off.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Well, I knew it would be long before this would happen…

    I feel it for those who slaved for him while been under paid.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Good!  Maybe this idiot will finally be muzzled, instead of prancing about speaking to visiting journalists and international newspapers about things which he has no knowledge of!

    • Anonymous says:

      May be Desmond needs to contact his buddie, Bridger and ask him for some money. He seems to be flushed with it. 

  17. Anonymous says:

    Although I feel very sorry for the employees this is great news for the Cayman Islands !!!!!!!

    Evil will not prosper…..Stuart Jack & McKeeva next !!!!

  18. Anonymous says:

    I feel bad for the employees; Desmond Seales is a crook and many of them had little other journalistic options (no offense CNS, I know at this point you aren’t in a position to expand your workforce, and really, neither is the Compass).

  19. Anonymous says:

    Thanks CNS for this professional done, impartial reporting. You guys are the best!

  20. Anonymouse says:

    "TAP, TAP, TAP" another one bites the dust.

    This is a regular occurence to any business Desmond Seales starts.

    I could name several that preceeded this one.