Mansfield's son 'did not understand €6.28m loan'
Court hears James has reading abilities of a seven-year-old
Published 30/04/2010 | 05:00
A SON of millionaire businessman Jim Mansfield has claimed he was unsure of documents he signed for a €6.28m development loan because he has the reading ability of a seven-year-old.
James Mansfield junior is opposing a court bid to seek immediate repayment of the loan. The Commercial Court will rule today on whether Mr Mansfield and three other businessmen should have summary judgments entered against them over the €6.28m loaned for the development lands in Duleek, Co Meath.
The summary judgment application was brought by AIB against a partnership comprising Mr Mansfield Jnr of Palmerstown House, Johnstown, Co Kildare, Brian Higgins Allensgrove, Celbridge Road, Leixlip, Co Kildare, Glen O'Callaghan, Drapier Road, Dublin, and Seamus Kavanagh Kyle, Killea, Templemore, Co Tipperary.
All four oppose AIB's application which arises out of loans advanced in 2003. Their lawyers argued yesterday the matter should go to a full hearing.
Counsel for Mr Mansfield told the court he was objecting to summary judgment because he did not intend to develop the lands.
Mr Mansfield has literacy difficulties, due to either or a combination of dyslexia and because he left school at a young age, counsel said. He was therefore unsure of the nature of the documentation he was signing in relation to the purported partnership, counsel said.
The court heard Mr Mansfield, who has never read a book or a newspaper, requires matters explained to him and did not understand the meaning of the term "jointly and severally liable".
A psychologist's report stated the businessman has average intelligence but the reading ability of a seven-year-old.
Mr Justice Kelly said it was extraordinary Mr Mansfield, who is a director of 23 different companies, could not understand the term "jointly and severally liable".
Mr Mansfield's counsel said that he is a director alongside his brother, father and mother, who explained to him things he could not understand.
Counsel for AIB said Mr Mansfield never informed the bank of any such difficulties and had not made out a case that he was unsure of the nature of any documentation.
The bank claims the defendants formed a partnership to acquire the lands with the purpose of constructing apartments, an underground car park and commercial units. The bank demanded repayment of the loans in September but they failed to repay.
Counsel for the other three men said that while his clients were not contesting the factual matters, they were contesting AIB's application for summary judgment on a point of law.
They obtained the loan for purposes outside of their normal trade and were entitled to be treated as consumers under the provisions of the 1995 Consumer Credit Act.
AIB has rejected these arguments and said that the evidence clearly showed that the money was loaned to the four who acted in a partnership so that they could develop the lands.
The loans were not given for personal use, and could not be regarded as consumer transactions, AIB said.