George Lee in company with Barry O’Halloran of the Irish Times and Pat Burke a partner at Grant Thornton discussed the continuing fallout from the horsemeat in burgers scandal (The Business).
Tesco, Burger King, Asda and the Co-Op supermarket chain in the UK all dropped their contracts with Silvercrest Foods in Co. Monaghan. The Burger King and Tesco deals alone were worth €45 million.
What was interesting about the discussion was the fear shown by all when it came to talking about the owner of Silvercrest, the notorious Larry Goodman.
Initially the discussion centred on the possibility of litigation against Goodman.
When one of the guests said that Goodman could indeed face litigation George Lee quickly realised the danger of upsetting the great meat emperor.
Or at least Silvercrest Foods rather than Larry.
The panelist quickly fell into line.
Silvercrest Foods, the individual operator which is a small part of the Goodman Empire.
This ‘clarification’ was followed by a bout of nervous laughter from everybody.
Thereafter all reference to the great Larry and the word litigation was dropped.
As with most RTE broadcasters Lee was very gentle in his treatment of Goodman.
Larry Goodman is quite a survivor. He has been in the wars before. He’s a very media shy person; he would hate this, so this kind of thing is very damaging for him.
Lee, a public service broadcaster, didn’t see the need to provide his listeners with even a brief mention of the ‘wars’ in which Larry was involved.
So here’s some of what the Beef Tribunal Report had to say about Larry’s companies.
The Goodman Group is found guilty of flagrant fraud at Rathkeale. The Goodman meat plants are also found guilty of widespread tax evasion and of offering employees illegal under-the-counter payments (Irish Examiner, 19 July 2003).
I have to say, in case an angry Larry hunts me down, that the Tribunal also found that neither Larry nor any of his senior executives had any notion whatsoever that such nasty things were happening right under their collective noses.