€6.4m judgment against Setanta House Hotel owner
A businessman who bought and did up a Kildare hotel which later went into receivership has had summary judgment for €6.3m entered against him in the High Court.
Danske Bank, formerly National Irish Bank, sought the judgment against Sean McElvaney over guarantees for his company Connotes for loans relating to a €6.4m facility in 2004 for matters including development work at the former Setanta House Hotel in Celbridge.
There was default on the loans and in 2011 the bank appointed a receiver over the hotel which was sold and the bank received around €815,000 when the receivership was completed.
Mr McElvaney claimed when he signed the guarantee for Connotes loans, he believed his liability was limited to €1.3m.
He said he did not have very good reading skills as he had left school at 15, he said. He also did not have independent legal advice when he signed, he said.
He claimed he would not have entered a guarantee for €6.4m because he has not personal assets which would enable him repay such an amount.
The bank said it was entitled to summary judgment for €6.4m.
Mr Justice Paul McDermott rejected his claims that he did not realise what he was signing.
The judge said he knew the document to have an effect of a guarantee for a transaction which was clearly a commercial banking arrangement.
The judge was satisfied there were no reasonable grounds for concluding Mr McElvaney had an arguable or credible defence to the bank's claim for judgment.