A WELL-known Lancaster bar and restaurant owner is believed to have left the country after his business collapsed.
Fernando Sousa, 43, director of Verdes Italian restaurant, Bar Eleven and Touro, all in Church Street, was last seen by staff at the beginning of November. He is thought to have returned to his native Portugal.
Bar Eleven and Touro closed at midnight on New Year’s Eve, and Verdes closed on Friday, January 13 – leaving around 20 staff members out of a job, and some, who lived in flats above Verdes, without a home.
Bar Eleven and Touro got a stay of execution from bailiffs to carry on trading and pay staff.
Oliver Hogg, who had been manager at Bar Eleven and Touro for 14 months until he was sacked by text by Mr Sousa on Boxing Day, said: “He went away and didn’t tell anyone he was going, and he didn’t leave us with any money.
“I had to inject £1,500 of my own money into it to keep things ticking over so we could make enough to pay staff what they were owed.
“If I hadn’t done that, everyone from December 12 onwards wouldn’t have been having their Christmas party with us.”
See the Lancaster Guardian (19-01-12) for full story.