Pub baron Justin Hemmes has been spotting leaving Sydney airport with an unidentified brunette after returning to the city by private jet just in time for Easter.
The billionaire owner of the Merivale Group, which runs more than 70 bars and restaurants, was innocently seen getting into a blue Rolls Royce with the woman on Tuesday night.
The 48-year-old dressed casually in a buttoned shirt and pants as he exited the plane as he returned to the city.
Spotted: Justin Hemmes got into a car with a brunette woman after jetting into Sydney Airport on Tuesday while his girlfriend Madeline Holtznagel enjoyed a solo outing in Double Bay
He was all smiles as he chatted to the woman as the driver put their bags in car.
Earlier that day, his girlfriend and model Madeline Holtznagel, 24, appeared forlorn as she was spotted walking through Sydney’s Double Bay.
She glanced repeatedly at her phone during the walk, wearing tiny black shorts and a P.E Nation jumper.
Back home: After jetting into the state’s capital on a private jet, the businessman jumped into a car with the brunette
Chatting away: The pub baron chatted to the female while the chauffeur placed his bags into a blue Royce Rolls
Waiting game: The brunette was spotted standing nearby as their bags were placed into a car
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Hemmes and Holtznagel for comment. It is understood that he and the brunette are just friends.
Justin and Madeline were last spotted together on March 10, boarding a seaplane outside his harbourfront estate in Vaucluse.
The pair were believed to be heading to Hemmes’ south coast getaway in Berrara.
The publican has substantially increased his holdings in the area, recently buying waterfront pub, The Quarterdeck in Narooma.
Solo outing: Madeline (pictured) was spotted strolling around Double Bay while her boyfriend landed back in Sydney. She appeared downcast as she glanced at her phone during the walk
Last public appearance: Justin and his girlfriend Madeline were last spotted together on March 10, boarding a seaplane outside his harbourfront estate in Vaucluse
Conversation: The brunette was also spotted talking to another woman
The couple first sparked romance rumours when they were spotted partying on his Bombardier Challenger jet in August.
Madeline lifted the lid on their relationship in October, telling The Sydney Morning Herald she was yet to introduce Justin to her parents.
‘My parents and my sister Anna haven’t met him yet, but [her other sister] Simone has been introduced to him and really liked him,’ she said.
Leaving: Justin and the brunette were seen leaving the airport together in the blue car
Madeline remained tight-lipped about how long she and Justin had been dating, but hinted they’d been seeing each other for longer than reports suggested.
She said: ‘We have known each other for two years and met when I was modelling in Singapore.’
When asked about his new romance, a coy Justin said at the time: ‘We hang out a bit.’
Successful: Justin is the chief executive of his family’s hospitality firm Merivale, which owns a collection of several pubs and hotels including popular Sydney venues The Ivy, Coogee Pavilion and The Newport Arms
History: He has been in charge of the group since 1997 – a business built from scratch by his father John and was named after John’s wife, Merivale. Hemmes is assisted by his sister Bettina, who is the part owner of the Merivale Empire
Justin is the chief executive of his family’s hospitality firm Merivale, which owns a collection of several successful pubs and hotels including popular Sydney venues The Ivy, Coogee Pavilion and The Newport Arms.
He has been in charge of the group since 1997, after taking over from his father, John, who named the company Merivale after his wife.
Hemmes runs the business with his sister, Bettina.
Justin’s hospitality empire is believed to be worth about $1billion.
Candid: Despite his wealth and endless model companions, Justin told The Daily Telegraph that he ‘doesn’t think you need money to be happy’
Despite his wealth Justin has previous said he ‘doesn’t think you need money to be happy’.
‘For me, I think working hard, getting lots of exercise and keeping the mind active is what is most important,’ he told the The Daily Telegraph.
Justin shares two children, Alexa, four, and Saachi, three, with his ex Kate Fowler, from whom he split in July 2018.
‘For me, I think working hard, getting lots of exercise and keeping the mind active is what is most important,’ he said
Merivale was found to owe up to $129million to its workers in unpaid wages if it fails to overturn a Federal Court judgement.
Justice Thomas Thawley ruled the hospitality giant’s 2009 WorkChoices agreement – which slashed penalty rates and overtime – wasn’t valid, despite passing a so-called ‘fairness test’.
If the class action succeeds, more than 14,000 Merivale staff will receive millions in compensation.
The class action was taken by staff employed by Merivale ‘at any of their venues in a hospitality position, during the six years prior to 24 December 2019’.
Underpayment cannot be claimed dating further back than six years.
According to the Australian Financial Review, Merivale has said the decision was ‘extremely concerning’ because it believed it had met the so-called fairness-test that applied at the time.
The court heard that Merivale’s workplace agreement failed that fairness test twice before being approved by the regulator – but the judgement hinged on that final approval.
Family: Justin shares two children, Alexa, four, and Saachi, three, with his ex-partner Kate Fowler, 29, from whom he split in July 2018