Sunday 26 March 2017

Judge tells Mansfield's son to repay €6m loan

Tim Healy

A SON of hotelier Jim Mansfield and three other businessmen must immediately repay a €6m loan given to them to develop lands in Co Meath, the Commercial Court ruled yesterday.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly said AIB is entitled to summary judgment orders against the four over the unpaid loan.

Mr Justice Kelly found none of them had made out an arguable defence to the bank's claim such as would allow the matter go to a full hearing.

He placed a stay on the judgment orders for a week to allow consideration of an appeal.

The orders were sought against James Mansfield Jnr, of Palmerstown House, Johnstown, Kildare; Brian Higgins, of Allensgrove, Celbridge Road, Leixlip, Kildare; Glen O'Callaghan, of Drapier Road, Dublin; and Seamus Kavanagh, of Kyle, Killea, Templemore, Tipperary.

The judge rejected Mr Mansfield's claim that he was only liable for one-sixth of the loan because he had signed documents believing there were something else, based partly on a claim that he had the reading fluency of a seven-year-old.

The judge noted reports to the court showed Mr Mansfield had very little school after two years without taking exams.

Given Mr Mansfield's difficulties, it was surprising to find he could fly a helicopter and was a director of 25 companies with a wide range of activities and had signed annual returns for those, the judge observed.

While the judge accepted Mr Mansfield is under the "considerable disability" of having the reading age of a seven-year-old, he (Mansfield) had wide business experience and should have told AIB of his problems and taken all reasonable precautions to find out about documents he was signing.

The bank alleged the four owe it some €6.2m as a result of loans advanced to them from 2003 in connection with the purchase of a site at Duleek, Meath. It was claimed the defendants formed the "Duleek Partnership" to acquire the lands for the purpose of constructing apartment blocks, an underground car park, and commercial units which were to be sold on.

Irish Independent

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