Hotel mogul Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart is suing one of Jamaica’s biggest media companies for J$17.5 billion (US$143.8 million) over the publication of an article that he says was “false, malicious, and defamatory”.
Stewart, the founder of the all-inclusive Sandals Resorts and chairman of the Appliance Traders Ltd (ATL) Group, said in a statement yesterday that the report published on The Gleaner Company’s website last Friday had caused “significant damage”, not only to his reputation but to the companies he represents.
The report surrounded the non-payment of J$40 million (US$328,677) in costs, in a legal matter involving Opposition Senator and businessman Noel Sloley.
“This publication was and is factually incorrect,” Stewart said. “This publication has had significant negative impact on the Sandals brand, which is the Caribbean’s leading global brand, and also the ATL brand, resulting in significant losses. The publication was made without any reference to or consultation with Mr. Stewart or his representative(s) to verify the truthfulness or otherwise of the story.”
In the circumstances, the businessman said he was “constrained to initiate legal action”.
Stewart said he is seeking damages in the region of J$17.5 billion, but stressed that was only “a conservative estimate”.
The Gleaner has not yet issued a public response to the legal action, but the article in question was removed from its website.