Fraud claims in property dispute rejected
BUSINESSMAN Noel O'Gara has failed in a High Court bid to have a settlement agreement over ownership of Dartmouth Square in Dublin set aside.
Mr O'Gara claimed he and his wife Naramon were "conned" and "blackmailed" into handing over a lease and title deeds for the Ranelagh square which is to be put up for sale at an Allsops auction next Tuesday.
The court heard Mr O'Gara had previously used Dartmouth Square, in which he bought the freehold interest, as a tiles sales outlet and as a car park which led to legal actions by Dublin City Council against him and his company.
He faced a legal bill of €43,000 arising out of these actions which was not paid and the council successfully filed a petition to liquidate the company in July 2009.
Mr O'Gara claimed a liquidator to his company, Marble and Granite Tiles Ltd, had conspired with Dublin City Council to frighten off potential buyers of the square.
He said Allsops had set a reserve price of €140,000 on the two-acre square when Mr O'Gara's valuer had estimated it at a "rock bottom" value of €300,000.
But Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan rejected Mr O'Gara's application to set aside the settlement on grounds of an alleged fraud.
She said no evidence had been presented to the court to back up his claims.
She also found there was no evidence of fraudulent misrepresentation by the liquidator over the agreement which had been made on consent between the parties.
The liquidator, Tom Murray, strongly denied all of Mr O'Gara's claims.
Mr O'Gara said he only signed the settlement agreement last July "after relentless pursuit using threats of blackmail and fraud".
Michael O'Sullivan BL, for the liquidator and his solicitor, said there was no evidence to back up these claims and the O'Gara's had "freely entered" into the agreement.