Gym boss defaults on £12,000 payout

The owner of Platinum Gym has defaulted on a payment of a £12,000 settlement to a former employee, the ‘Journal’ has learned.

Mehran Ghanbari agreed on behalf of his company to pay the financial settlement to former employee Charlene O’Donnell in respect of her claims to an industrial tribunal on March 3.

Mr Ghanbari was given 28 days to make the payment but has made no attempt to do so despite the deadline being reached on Wednesday last - the day before Platinum Gym and Cabelo hair and beauty salon pulled down the shutters.

The settlement contract, which has been seen by the ‘Journal’, has been signed by the claimant and by M. Ghanbari, for and on behalf of the respondent Cabelo/Platinum Gym/Ben Madigan Ltd.

The contract states that the respondent ‘makes no admission of liability’ and that ‘the terms shall remain confidential and shall not be published’.

However, following the default on the payment, Ms O’Donnell, who is from Claudy, said she had no reason not to bring the matter into the public domain. Ms O’Donnell brought a case against Cabelo/Platinum Gym/Ben Madigan Ltd, claiming that she had not been paid for more than seven weeks of work as a hairdresser at the Springtown premises.

Speaking to the ‘Journal’, she said: “A settlement was made for £12,000 in damages because I had to give up a full-time job to work for them, but I’ve been given nothing. I at least want the wages I’m owed for the work I did. I went to see a solicitor on Thursday and he sent a letter to Mehran, but on Friday the business was closed, so that was the end of that.

“It’s disgraceful how someone can get away with this,.I went the legal route and it seems he is going to get away with this.”

Ms O’Donnell, who has not been able to find employment since leaving Cabelo, said that during an interview at the premises she was told the job was “a once in a lifetime opportunity”. “The advertisement said the wage was £10 per hour but after two weeks I had been paid nothing or told nothing of pay. When I asked about it I was told payments are made monthly but on payday everyone else got paid but I didn’t. After seven weeks I went to Mehran and asked where my money was,.He told me to get my stuff and get out to f***.”

She said Mr Ghanbari did give her a cheque for four weeks’ work at just £5 per hour but the cheque later bounced. She later received partial payment by cheque before seeking an industrial tribunal.

Mr Ghanbari could not be reached for a comment.