Irish

Thursday 31 July 2014

Cullen to sell property to help pay €8.2m debt

Tim Healy

Published 13/11/2012|05:00

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The celebrity car dealer agreed to a judgment against him in the Commercial Court after a judge heard he had failed to make repayments since November last year.

BUSINESSMAN Bill Cullen has promised to sell property to help pay back €8.2m in loans to Danske Bank.

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The celebrity car dealer agreed to a judgment against him in the Commercial Court after a judge heard he had failed to make repayments since November last year.

The court was told three unsuccessful attempts were made to serve legal proceedings on Mr Cullen last month at his home, Osberstown House, in Sallins, Co Kildare.

The property is surrounded by a wall and has electric access gates with an intercom, a summons server said in an affidavit. The bank was eventually allowed to serve the legal documents by post.

The case arose from an €8.1m loan given to former 'Apprentice' judge Mr Cullen in April last year to restructure an existing loan.

This was to be repaid in full by April 2012 via quarterly installments, but the bank claimed no repayments had been received from Mr Cullen since November 2011.

The bank said it had tried to work with him since February of this year to achieve a solution, but negotiations broke down.

Danske's application came after receivers were last month appointed by Ulster Bank over Mr Cullen's Glencullen Holdings, which operates car dealerships in Swords and Liffey Valley in Dublin.

Ulster Bank is owed an estimated €12m. Mr Cullen himself is Glencullen's biggest creditor and is owed €19.5m.

The court heard there had been three failed attempts to serve summonses on Mr Cullen at his home. When the server first tried at around 7pm one evening, there was no response when he rang the intercom.

On the second attempt the following morning, the intercom was answered by a woman who kept saying she could not hear him. When he rang again, the intercom was answered by a man who also kept saying he could not hear.

Sick

Next morning, the intercom was answered by a woman and the gates opened. He drove in and spoke to a woman, who said she was the housekeeper.

When he asked to speak to Mr Cullen the woman said he was in a meeting.

The server said it was important, and a man appeared shortly afterwards and said Mr Cullen was sick and would not be coming out.

At the Commercial Court yesterday, Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan entered summary judgment for €8.2m against Mr Cullen. Counsel for the businessman said he was consenting to the judgment, and it was anticipated the planned sale of property would reduce the sum.

Danske said the €8.1m loan was secured by mortgages over the Antrim Arms guesthouse at Upper Drumcondra Road, Dublin, and assignment of a lease on property at Upper Drumcondra Road with annual rental income of €180,000 to Citygate Motors Airside.

Rental payments under the lease were guaranteed by Glencullen Holdings.

In an affidavit, Donal Scully of Danske Bank said he visited the secured properties in Drumcondra last August and it appeared tenants were in occupation and trading from them.

Given Mr Cullen's failure to pass on rental income, the bank decided to examine the possible appointment of a receiver, he said.

Irish Independent

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