Wednesday 18 October 2017

Killilea poses new questions for Hibernia Reit in Dunne bankruptcy row

Gayle Killilea, wife of Sean Dunne
Gayle Killilea, wife of Sean Dunne
Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

Gayle Killilea has intensified her pursuit of Hibernia Reit over any contacts its CEO Kevin Nowlan and other executives may have had with US private equity firms concerning her husband, developer Sean Dunne's former assets.

Killilea's lawyers submitted an additional request in the US bankruptcy court in Connecticut last Thursday having filed a 'Notice of Issuance' on January 12 last in which she asked for Hibernia Reit senior adviser Frank Kenny to be subpoenaed to testify at a deposition in Dunne's bankruptcy and provide certain documents to her.

In her original request, Killilea sought copies of any correspondence or communications relating to Sean Dunne's former assets between Nama, Hibernia Reit, Kevin Nowlan or Kenny with Cerberus, Blackstone and Oak Tree Capital. She has now added another major US fund, Starwood to the list of parties.

It remains to be seen if Frank Kenny will exercise his legal entitlement to seek to have the subpoena quashed or modified by the court in advance of February 3 next, the date Killilea's lawyers have proposed to take his deposition. A spokesman for Hibernia Reit declined to comment when contacted by the Sunday Independent.

Killilea's interest in the affairs of Hibernia Reit and the events leading up to its establishment would appear to have been triggered by an email Kenny sent to Nowlan on July 17, 2011, when Nowlan was still working as a portfolio manager for Nama and handling the affairs of Sean Dunne.

In that email - a copy of which is appended to the papers submitted to the court - Kenny told Nowlan that: "I hear that our friend SD [Sean Dunne] is bidding for a $12m site on Long Island Sound in Rye, NY, to build two or three houses. This would be a third project - got to be running a $20/30m residential business at this point. Tough on those left unpaid in Dublin!!"

While it is unclear what response, if any, Nowlan gave to Kenny's email, Nama moved against Dunne two days later on the morning of Tuesday, July 19, 2011 with demands for the repayment of loans amounting to €296.7m.

Since being established in 2013, Hibernia Reit has become one of the country's biggest property players. Key to its strategy has been its investment in and development of prime properties in Dublin's CBD (Central Business District), an area where Sean Dunne and other major developers concentrated their activities prior to the Crash and the transfer of their companies' multimillion euro loans into Nama.

Sunday Indo Business

Also in Business