Progen Pharmaceuticals shareholders meeting at Indooroopilly Golf Club : Progen chief executive officer Justus Homburg.
Progen Pharmaceuticals shareholders meeting at Indooroopilly Golf Club : Progen chief executive officer Justus Homburg.

Doughnut Time founder’s debt payment to cousin ‘a joke’

A PALTRY cheque for $402.44, an unwelcome reminder of an ill-fated business deal, just landed on the desk of Murray Griffiths.

It's all the Toowoomba-based organic food store operator will recoup from the $557,704 that a court awarded him and a relative in late 2017 after they sued his cousin Damian Griffiths, the failed Brisbane hospitality operator.

Damian, whose restaurant empire once included Doughnut Time, declared personal bankruptcy in March last year and creditors of his 18 collapsed companies subsequently submitted proofs of debt totalling nearly $30 million to his trustee.

But Damian emerged from bankruptcy in May this year after those owed money agreed to accept a pittance, a lowball offer of just $129,500, rather than wait years and likely get nothing.

Damian Griffiths
Damian Griffiths

Murray, who grew up with Damian in Dalby, told City Beat this week that it's been an "absolutely horrible'' financial hit to absorb.

"It's hardly even worth banking the cheque. It's a joke when there's so much missing,'' he said.

Murray and a relative loaned Damian $1.35 million in 2014 to acquire the Limes Hotel in Fortitude Valley.

After Damian repeatedly defaulted on repayments, they won those court orders to recover the outstanding balance.

Damian decamped to the UK after the implosion of his entire business group, which included Les Bubbles bistro, the Alfred & Constance bar, Chester Street Bakery and Mr Fitz's Finest Ice Cream.

He is now involved with running the Doughnut Time chain in London and still owns two heavily-mortgaged apartments in Paris collectively worth at least $1.3 million.


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