BoI takes control of properties as it pursues O'Donnells
Published 16/12/2011 | 05:00
BANK of Ireland has taken control of three prestigious buildings in Dublin's Merrion Square owned by a Celtic Tiger couple who amassed a €1bn global property empire.
Solicitor Brian O'Donnell and his wife Mary Pat own 61 and 62 Merrion Square, two five-storey period buildings, and an adjoining property at Fitzwilliam Lane. The three properties, which are interconnected and are rented out as offices, are up for sale.
The O'Donnells put them on the market as part of their efforts to repay Bank of Ireland €71.5m, which the High Court has ruled that they owe. The properties were valued at €30m in 2005.
Speaking to the Irish Independent this week, Mr O'Donnell said he was "stunned" by the bank's lack of communication with him and his wife.
He said the couple were "seeking a solution" to their massive financial challenges but the bank was aggressively pursuing the debt.
This newspaper has learned that the bank appointed Tom Kavanagh of Kavanagh Fennell as receiver to the three Dublin offices recently. Mr O'Donnell is said to have learned of his appointment from the couple's tenants after Mr Kavanagh had arrived to tell them that the complex was in receivership.
Mr Kavanagh did not return calls last night.
The O'Donnells also own 84 Ailesbury Road, another prestigious property that is expected to be put up for sale by the bank.
The O'Donnells believe that Bank of Ireland's relentless pursuit of them is designed to scare other lawyers, doctors and professionals who owe it money.
The bank is expected to move to repossess their luxury home, now that it has secured judgments for €71.5m. Under an agreement that the bank says has been breached, it can move to take their palatial Killiney home, 'Gorse Hill' on the Vico Road, in the coming months.
The 9,000sq.ft property overlooks the sea and has a swimming pool, tennis court, stables, gym and sauna. The couple purchased the 1.25 acre site in 1997 and extensively developed it.