Friday 28 April 2017

Jackie Lavin and Bill Cullen 'still very much together' despite legal action over plush mansion

Jackie Lavin and Bill Cullen pictured together in 2010. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Jackie Lavin and Bill Cullen pictured together in 2010. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Melanie Finn

Melanie Finn

Jackie Lavin and Bill Cullen are "still very much together" despite her issuing legal proceedings against the former The Apprentice star.

The self-made businesswoman hit the headlines after she initiated a legal action against Cullen and one of his companies.

She is suing Glencullen Properties, which is in receivership, as well as the Penny Apples author, who is the firm's sole shareholder and director.

The case concerns a €1m deal for the sale of Killegy House in Muckross, Co Kerry, the High Court heard.

The high-profile pair, who previously ran the Muckross Park Hotel, have been together for nearly 40 years and have weathered a huge amount of financial turmoil.

Despite the legal action, a source close to the couple confirmed they are still together and their relationship status is unchanged.

"This legal case has nothing to do with their relationship. This is purely a business and legal matter that needs to be dealt with, that's all," he said.

They continue to work together at Bill Cullen Premier Motors on the Naas Road and were seen out and about only last week.

Last month, the High Court was told that Ulster Bank appointed Kavanagh Fennell as receivers for Glencullen Properties' assets, which in- cluded Killegy House, in 2012.

Ms Lavin claims she has been a long-time resident of the plush mansion and she considers it to be her home.

She claims that, in 2009, the company sought additional credit.

However, she alleges the bank was unwilling to offer this unless €1m was put into the firm.

After selling a property they had in Florida for €7.3m, Ms Lavin claimed she agreed to advance Mr Cullen €1m so that he could pay down Glencullen's liabilities.

She claims that part of the arrangement was that Killegy House would be sold to her after she paid over €757,000, but this did not happen.

The case came before Mr Justice Tony O'Connor last week and was adjourned for mention at the end of this month.

Speaking in 2014, Ms Lavin said Mr Cullen was "punched from all sides" after their business empire failed in the recession. It saw the banks pursuing him for €10m from his property and motoring business.

"You have to get up and fight," she said. "I'm certainly not Mother Teresa, but we played it straight. We did everything by the book and have been left with nothing."

Herald

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