Tuesday 23 May 2017

Bankrupt Dunne accuses Nama boss of 'harassment campaign against family'

The developer wrote last week to complain to Nama CEO Brendan McDonagh writes Ronald Quinlan

Developer Sean Dunne has written to Nama. Photo: Collins
Developer Sean Dunne has written to Nama. Photo: Collins
Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

Bankrupt developer Sean Dunne has sent an open letter to the National Asset Management Agency's (Nama) chief executive accusing him and Nama of "conducting and financing a deliberate and calculated campaign of asset destruction and harassment" against his family.

Dunne's claim against Nama and its ceo Brendan McDonagh comes in response to a decision taken in March 2015 by the official administering his US bankruptcy to register a Lis Pendens (a notice that there is litigation pending) against four luxurious houses being developed by his wife, Gayle Killilea, in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Dunne says the properties - which he contends are held in trust by his adult son John for his and Gayle's four minor children - were due for completion in June 2015 and expected to "sell very quickly". However, the US trustee's claim that they are a part of the developer's US bankruptcy estate has complicated matters. Dunne claims there have been "wasted costs" of some $6.85m (€6.38m) to date as a result.

Explaining this, he refers to the year-long delay the Connecticut project experienced after its lender refused to provide further funds to allow for its completion following the US trustee's intervention.

Dunne says the houses were only completed in July 2016 after 151 Millbank, the company behind the scheme, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy allowing for the provision of special 'Debtor in Possession' (DIP) finance.

Referring to the financial impact of the US trustee's ongoing refusal to agree to a Chapter 11 plan of reorganisation which would allow the sale of the Connecticut houses to proceed, he says the strategy is "holding up sales thereby preventing the secured lender and bona fide creditors from being repaid in full". Outlining the schedule of losses he claims have arisen as result of this ongoing delay, the developer writes: "These costs continue to escalate as the loan is now in default and accruing interest at a rate of 17.25pc per annum. On a loan of $5m this equates to $74,271 per month. In June 2017, the lender will exercise their rights to fire sale the property and repay their loan. Losses will then be fully quantifiable."

Dunne says he believes his dual bankruptcies in the US and Ireland are being "used as a mechanism to wreak maximum damage on assets legitimately owned by my closest family members".

Taking aim at McDonagh directly, the developer points to a series of email communications between the Nama ceo and Nama's public relations advisers, Gordon MRM, in relation to media coverage of the State agency's pursuit of him.

On this, he says: "I enclose also a trail of emails regarding publicity generated by you as CEO of Nama from 2010 to 2012 where you as CEO sign off 'All part of the game'.

"You have used the Nama PR machine to skew public opinion ... ," Dunne alleges.

The developer concluded the letter which he sent to the Nama ceo last Monday with a demand that his complaint be brought to the attention of the Nama board, and that its response be communicated to him.

Dunne informed McDonagh of his intention to hold Nama and the Ulster Bank liable for all losses suffered on the Connecticut project in his capacity as "joint guardian of my minor children's assets and obliged to look after their interests".

Asked for comment on the claims made by Dunne in his letter, a spokesman for Nama said: "All such matters are for the US bankruptcy trustee and the Official Assignee to deal with."

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