Friday 30 September 2016

Court told of Tom McFeely's 'aggressive' attitude and denial he owned €200k in bath tub

Published 11/01/2016 | 02:30

Developer Tom McFeely Photo: Collins Courts
Developer Tom McFeely Photo: Collins Courts

The Insolvency Service official handling the bankruptcy of Tom McFeely has branded the disgraced Priory Hall developer as "aggressive".

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Official assignee Christopher Lehane lifted the lid on his dealings with Mr McFeely in papers filed with the High Court.

He claims the builder has repeatedly failed to disclose assets and was uncooperative. But it is the manner of those exchanges, as described by Mr Lehane, which is most startling.

"I have spoken to him only twice. He has always reacted aggressively to any questions," said Mr Lehane.

The first of these meetings took place in August 2012, shortly after Mr McFeely was declared bankrupt in Ireland. He had been declared bankrupt in the UK earlier that year, but that bankruptcy was successfully challenged by Dublin woman Theresa McGuinness, to whom Mr McFeely owed more than €100,000.

Mr Lehane recounted how, at the meeting, Mr McFeely threw pictures of houses which had been vandalised across a table at him.

Mr McFeely was upset at the damage, but Mr Lehane discovered the damage had occurred before he was appointed to oversee the developer's assets.

Refused

The court papers show Mr McFeely refused to give Mr Lehane an address in the Republic of Ireland.

The former IRA hunger striker, who spent 12 years in the Maze Prison for shooting an RUC officer, maintained that the UK was his main centre of business and that he was a British passport holder.

He would only supply the address of his parents' home in Derry, even though, by his own admission, he was spending most of his time in London.

Mr Lehane said he did not believe Mr McFeely was living in Derry.

Other court papers show Mr McFeely wasn't slow to cast aspersions against Mr Lehane.

"I believe Mr Lehane is discriminating against me because of my northern republican background. He refuses to acknowledge my address in the United Kingdom," Mr McFeely claimed in one affidavit.

He went on to deny withholding any information from the official assignee.

After Mr Lehane sought a meeting with Mr McFeely to discuss the astonishing discovery of €200,000 under a bathtub in his former home on Dublin's Ailesbury Road, the developer claimed to have no knowledge of the money and that it did not belong to him.

He alleged it was planted there by gardaí after the €4m home was repossessed.

Mr Lehane did not believe him and got a High Court order declaring that it had been Mr McFeely's money.

In one affidavit, Mr McFeely lashed out at the press.

"I have been subjected to harassment by the media since the collapse of the property market in Ireland. I have been singled out for treatment," he said.

"I was forcibly evicted from my home and was confronted with the humiliation of an organised media circus outside the house. The press turned the eviction into a publicity event."

Irish Independent

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