Auckland property developer Mark Ensom is expected to take ownership of Parnell-based Swan Hotel and the adjoining Swan Brew Bar just weeks after its refurbishment and glitzy opening.

The business failed when it defaulted on a loan to a private lender and a receiver is now working on selling the hotel and bar, which had previously been owned by Richard Karam, son of ex All Black and David Bain supporter Joe Karam.

"They borrowed some money from a private lender and were unable to repay it and the private lender put the company into receivership to protect their position," receiver Damien Grant of Waterstone Insolvency said.

The Herald understands Ensom, who owns the land and buildings, is negotiating on a deal to purchase the business.


Ensom's company, Big Wonders Limited, has acquired a security interest from the lender, Paul Evans, who is a former shareholder of the Swan Group.

Both the Swan Brew Bar and Swan Hotel's website and Facebook pages have been deactivated but Grant said no staff had been let go following the receivership and the bar and hotel were trading as normal.

"We are running the business in receivership and we expect to have it sold in the next 24 hours," Grant said.

Grant said the person in control of the websites and Facebook accounts had taken them down without his permission.

The Herald understands all staff were paid $500 last week when the company was placed into receivership but there are still outstanding wage arrears. The landlord is also owed rent arrears.

The Swan Hotel was refurbished and had a glitzy opening in November last year.
The original hotel was constructed in the 1800s. The building is listed as a heritage site and is one of the earliest public timber houses in Auckland.

Karam has been approached for comment.