Ex-Taxing Master gives AIB security over properties
Retired court official feared impact of bankruptcy on his practice as a solicitor, writes Dearbhail McDonald
The former Taxing Master of the High Court, James Flynn, must give security over three properties to AIB as part of a €2.5m personal judgement the lender has obtained against him.
Charges recently registered against Mr Flynn's historic Netterville Manor estate in the Boyne Valley, birthplace of the writer John Boyle O'Reilly, must also be released as part of a six-month stay (postponement) against the execution of AIB's court order.
Netterville Manor, which features a chapel and 12th-century castle and is currently used for weddings, private dinner parties and other events, was placed for sale last year with Knight Frank, with an asking price of €2.25m.
Last week, Mr Flynn, a celebrated collector of historical artefacts and rare books, agreed to a €2.5m personal judgement in favour of AIB.
Fortberry, where Mr Flynn is a director and shareholder, also consented to a €5m judgement in favour of the State-owned lender.
The High Court heard that Mr Flynn was concerned that the bank would seek to petition the court to have him adjudicated as a bankrupt.
If this were to happen, Mr Flynn, who is aged in his mid-sixties, would not be able to practise as a solicitor, his counsel said.
AIB had intially opposed a stay of nine months sought by Mr Flynn and Fortberry.
However, following discussions, a six-month stay to October was agreed on conditions, including security over the properties, release of the charges as well as full co-operation from the defendants with the bank.
Mr Flynn told the Sunday Independent he could not "as yet" comment on the case.
He is also being sued in fresh summary debt proceedings brought by Havbell Ltd, according to the website of the Courts Service.
Last year, Havbell, a joint venture vehicle comprising Deutsche Bank and Apollo Global Management, bought a portfolio of Irish loans from Permanent TSB for a total consideration of €800m.
The portfolio includes non-core Irish loans backed by assets - largely made up of hundreds of commercial property loans and buy-to-let mortgages - spread around the country.
AIB brought proceedings against Mr Flynn over guarantees he gave on a loan in 2008 to his company, Fortberry.
The bank brought the case after Mr Flynn and Fortberry had failed to satisfy a demand for repayment of the monies claimed to be due and owing.
The claim was initially fully defended.
It was due to be heard last Wednesday after Flynn had brought proceedings against the bank, seeking specific performance of a settlement agreement that he and Fortberry claimed had been reached with AIB.
When the case was called, however, Mr Justice Paul Gilligan was told by counsel for AIB that the company and Mr Flynn were consenting to judgement.
Judge Gilligan placed a stay on the execution of the judgements until October to allow Mr Flynn and the company sell assets, including a number of properties, to reduce what is owed.
As former High Court Taxing Master, Mr Flynn independently assessed disputed legal bills when cases have ended to achieve a balance between costs involved in litigation and services rendered.
Although referred to in law as "taxation of costs", it actually has little to do with taxes and is a term coined many decades ago.
Sunday Indo Business