Ian Greer Associates was so much a part of the political scene that its advertisements graced the back of Vacher's Parliamentary Companion, the little reference book for the politics industry, with the slogan "Europe's leading public affairs company".
He was the insider whose links with the Tory party were second to none. He claimed to have raised pounds 750,000 for party funds and, somewhat fancifully, to have provided a car for John Major's 1990 leadership campaign.
Yesterday, a small legal notice in the newspapers revealed that the bubble had finally burst. Ian Greer's companies are being put into liquidation and there will be precious little for the creditors to fight over when their meeting is held on 7 January.
Mr Greer himself quit the companies soon after the libel trial which he and Neil Hamilton brought against the Guardian collapsed in October. The newspaper had alleged that Mr Greer had arranged for Mr Hamilton to be paid to ask questions on behalf of Mohamed Al Fayed, the owner of Harrods, in Parliament and the two had sued.
At its height, Mr Greer's business, created in 1982, had a turnover of pounds 3.5m. A lifelong Tory supporter, he claimed to be on first-name terms with most of the Cabinet and spread largesse among dozens of MPs in order to earn their gratitude. His clients included a roll-call of blue chip companies, including British Airways, British Gas and Carlton TV. Now his company's affairs are in the hands of the insolvency accountants Leonard Curtis, appointed to arrange the winding-up.