By Ian Neubauer

The Coogee Bay Hotel (CBH) has said a family that was allegedly served contaminated ice-cream earlier this month went public with the story this weekend following a failed bid to squeeze the hotel for $1 million.

CBH general manager Tony Williams said today (October 27) the hotel and staff were horrified by claims made by Stephen and Jessica Whyte, who allege faeces was concealed in a bowl of ice-cream that was offered to them free of charge on October 5, after they complained about an unrelated issue to management.

Williams said the hotel is cooperating with police and health officials in their investigations, but it would not pay the Whytes for their silence. 

“We tried to maintain open lines of communication with the Whytes. However, our discussions ultimately broke down when they threatened to take this story to the media if we did not pay them ‘hush’ money,” he said. 

“[But] rather than paying off the Whytes, it is our wish to continue investigating this serious allegation with the end result of pursuing criminal charges for what could potentially be a serious act of sabotage — if it did occur.”

Williams also alleges that the Whytes refused to give the hotel a sample of the allegedly contaminated material, which they withheld for outside testing. He said their actions mean there is now no objective way to prove the contamination originated from inside the hotel.

A spokesperson for the CBH added that the Whytes had been offered $5000 in compensation to “let bygones by bygones” but had categorically refused the offer.

But the Whytes’ lawyer, Steven Lewis, told The Sydney Morning Herald his clients were not chasing compensation — only to make sure the incident does not happen again.

And in further revelations, Steve Whyte told News Limited he simply mentioned ‘$1 million’ during negotiations with the hotel, adding that the CBH was desperate to settle the matter quickly.

The Whytes will today lodge a complaint with the Minister of Primary Industries, which will likely kick-start an investigation into the matter. If found culpable, the CBH could face fines of up to $275,000.

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The Shout Team

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