Sunday 23 November 2014

Boutique hotel owners - now living in guesthouse - being pursued for €9.9m

Published 24/03/2014 | 17:35

A couple are being pursued by Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) for €9.9m in outstanding loans secured on a boutique guesthouse, their family home and a villa in Portugal.

Noel and Deirdre Comer now live in their guesthouse, "Number 31", at Leeson Close in Dublin having sold their family home in nearby Herbert Park.

IBRC is seeking judgment against them for alleged failure to repay €9.9m outstanding on €12.3m in loan facilities advanced to them between 2004 and 2008.  They had been secured on the guesthouse, the former family home "Milverton", Herbert Park, and on a villa in Quinta do Lago in Portugal.

A receiver was appointed over Milverton last July and it  was sold for around €4.5m, bringing the debt, which had risen to around €14.2m, down to €9.9m and interest on that continues to accrue at €814 per day.

The bank is now seeking vacant possession of the guesthouse which the Comers, who now live there, are opposing.  It also says their move from Milverton into the guesthouse was not done with the bank's consent.

The case was transferred yesterday by Mr Justice Peter Kelly to the Commercial Court despite the opposition of counsel for the Comers.

Michael Corbett, a manager in IBRC's  recovery management department, said in an affidavit there had been "extensive efforts" to engage with the Comers in that hope that a mutually accept commercial resolution could be reached.

It involved negotiations over two years carried out by Mr Comer as well as by three separate financial and legal representatives they had appointed, McLaughlin Walsh Accountants, insolvency expert Jim Stafford of Friel Stafford, and later a firm of solicitors.

Ultimately, no agreement could be reached, Mr Corbett said.

The Comers had admitted they had repaid creditors other than the bank despite not making repayments on their borrowings, he said.  They have also admitted repaying car loans and a term loan from AIB, Mr Corbett said.

These and other matters demonstrated a "consistent tendency" by them to act contrary to their contractual obligations, he said.

Mr Comer has denied being unco-operative with the bank, the court also heard.

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