By Clyde Mooney

Sydney's Abercrombie Hotel has re-opened after a serious fire last week, and its operators have rejected once and for all any involvement of underworld identity John Ibrahim in their business operations.

Persistent media reports have connected Ibrahim with the Abercrombie and the other Sydney pubs operated by the Drink & Dine group, including the Carrington, Norfolk and Forresters venues in Surry Hills.

Last week's fire was apparently started by arsonists and subsequent media coverage inferred underworld involvement.

But speaking to TheShout, Drink & Dine's Jaime Wirth this week rubbished reports linking Ibrahim with his pubs.

"There is no connection between Drink & Dine and the Ibrahims. James Miller and myself own the business/leasehold of each hotel. There has been significant and ongoing misreporting on this topic," he said.

"We have a few smaller partners in each hotel – the general manager of each hotel and our designer.

"Frasers is our landlord at the Abercrombie, Greg Magree is our landlord at Norfolk, Carrington and Forresters."

Wirth pointed out that the freehold and leasehold agreements for his venues are on public file and can be viewed at any time on registers held by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

"There are no secret details in any of these deals," he said.

"Unfortunately, the truth is apparently not as interesting as the stories the press, the police and the public like to believe.
"It’s pretty frustrating, to be honest, and undermines the incredible amount of our time, energy and money that goes into making our hotels work."

After a clean-up lasting two days, the Abercrombie re-opened its doors last Friday afternoon.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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