Friday 30 September 2016

American woman's action against former Irish lover adjourned

Aodhan O'Faolain and Ray Managh

Published 08/01/2013 | 14:03

A HIGH Court action by a 60-year-old American heiress who claims she was defrauded of millions by her younger Irish lover has been adjourned to next week.

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Elisa Rodino claims Thomas J Queally, who had been engaged to her, has stolen about €3m of her money – a large portion of which was lodged by him into a bank in Ennis, Co Clare.

She also claims that Mr Queally, who she has not seen for months, had been living a double life and had another fiancée while engaged to her. Mr Queally denies the claims, and says that while he was in involved in relationship with her, he was never her fiancée.

He also claims her allegations that he transferred money to Ireland from a joint bank in the US to his bank account in Ireland without her authorisation were simply untrue.

Last month Ms Rodino's lawyers secured a number of temporary freezing orders against Mr Queally, of Sherman Avenue Yonkers New York who is originally from Lahaknock, Kilmaley, Co Clare.

They prevent him reducing, dissipating or transferring funds below a value of €1.6m held in a bank account at Permanent TSB in Ennis, Co Clare.

Ms Rodino, of Cathedral Avenue, Hempstead, New York, claims the money in the Ennis bank account, approximately $2m (€1.5m), is hers. She claims that it was moved by Mr Queally from a US account held in both their names.

Today when the matter returned before Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy at a vacation sitting of the High Court the parties agreed the case should be further adjourned to Tuesday of next week.

The adjournment is to allow for a further exchange of affidavits between the sides.

Lawyers for Ms Rodino want the case to be heard as soon as possible. However Mr Queally lawyers intend to bring a motion to have the freezing order against their client's bank account struck out.

Mr Justice McCarthy agreed to put the matter back to next week when the new legal term resumes. The freezing order will remain in place till then, the Judge added.

Ms Rodino's Irish lawyers secured orders against Mr Queally shortly before Christmas. They told the court that she was a vulnerable woman who had been taken advantage of by Mr Queally, whom she first met in 2007.

She claims that last August, in order to aid Mr Queally in a court case against a former employer, she agreed to put his name down on one of her bank accounts. It was a deposit account that contained $5m.

She claims Mr Queally asked her to do this because it would show that he and Ms Rodino, who had inherited a sizeable property portfolio from her late father, were a couple and that the work he did on her properties was not a contract of employment.

Last October, she claims Mr Queally was due to meet up with her in Spain, but never showed up. When she arrived back in the US she discovered that money had been transferred to the bank in Ennis and to a US bank account, and did not return her calls.

She has also brought a legal action against him in New York, where she alleges that Mr Queally misappropriated property as well as cash from her. Mr Queally denies all the allegations of wrongdoing made against him in both the Irish and the New York courts.

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