Tuesday 26 September 2017

'Cleaner to stars' renews promise to pay her former solicitor €100,000

An injunction was obtained preventing Gina Farrell from reducing her assets below €174,000. Picture: Courtpix
An injunction was obtained preventing Gina Farrell from reducing her assets below €174,000. Picture: Courtpix

Ray Managh

Gina Farrell, the self-styled 'cleaner to the stars' who fled her solicitor's office after grabbing the deeds of an apartment she owns, has reached agreement over a €100,000 debt.

Gina Farrell, the self-styled 'cleaner to the stars' who fled her solicitor's office after grabbing the deeds of an apartment she owns, has reached agreement over a €100,000 debt.

Roughan Banim, counsel for solicitor Brian O'Brien, told Mr Justice Henry Abbott in the High Court yesterday that she had renewed an undertaking to pay the money to Mr O'Brien, who represented her in a case involving developer Sean Dunne.

Mr Banim, who appeared with barrister Aoife McCarthy, said an interim injunction had been obtained last week restraining Ms Farrell and her husband Michael from reducing their assets below €175,000 or selling the apartment in St Rapheal's Manor, Celbridge, Co Kildare.

The court had been told Ms Farrell and her husband, with an unidentified man, had gone to the offices of her then solicitor Enda P Moran in Celbridge on the pretext she needed to check the deeds - and then ran off with them.

A locum solicitor, who tried to stop them and recover the deeds, had been "pushed aside".

The court heard Enda P Moran solicitors had previously given an undertaking to Mr O'Brien, to whom Ms Farrell allegedly owed a legal costs debt of €158,471, that a settlement figure of €100,000 would be paid to his legal firm directly from the sale of the apartment.

Overcharged

Mr O'Brien had represented Ms Farrell, trading as Gina Farrell Cleaning Services, in a 17-day High Court case in which developer Sean Dunne was awarded €22,500 on the basis she had overcharged him, between 2003 and 2006, for cleaning services at an apartment complex his company Hollybrook (Brighton Road) Management owned in Foxrock, Dublin.

Initially, a legal costs and VAT bill of €263,470 was reduced to a balance of €158,471 on payment by Ms Farrell of €105,000.

Later, this figure was reduced, in settlement talks, to €100,000 which had still not been paid.

The court heard that in July last, Ms Farrell's apartment had gone "sale agreed" for €208,000.

On August 21, Ms Farrell and her husband, with the unidentified man, had visited Enda Moran's office on the pretext they needed to check something in the deeds on the instructions of Bank of Ireland to see if they could obtain a loan from the bank.

When a locum solicitor in Mr Moran's office had presented the deeds on her desk, Ms Farrell "grabbed them and proceeded with her husband and the other man to flee from the office," the court was told.

The locum solicitor had attempted to take back the deeds but had been "pushed aside".

The locum had later made a phone call to Mr O'Brien's office stating that the €100,000 undertaking regarding the proceeds of sale had been cancelled.

The court heard that Mr O'Brien, practising under the style of O'Brien Redmond Solicitors, believed Ms Farrell and her husband were conducting the sale through a third solicitor and that they intended dissipating the proceeds.

Judge Abbott made the new settlement agreement an order of court. The proceedings were adjourned until October 16.

Irish Independent

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