GLAMOROUS property developer Gayle Killilea-Dunne has claimed a victory in her ongoing US court battle against Nama.
Having considered arguments put forward by lawyers for both sides at a case status conference on Friday, December 14 last, Judge Brassel Mazzaro ordered that Kevin Nowlan – who recently departed from his role as senior asset manager at Nama to return to work with his family firm – be deposed as a witness on or before January 31 next. Prior to his departure from the State's toxic loan agency, Mr Nowlan had been responsible for managing Nama's relations with Ms Killilea-Dunne's husband, former Baron of Ballsbridge Sean Dunne.
Lawyers for Nama had sought to prevent Mr Nowlan from being deposed.
Efforts by the Sunday Independent to elicit a comment from Mr Nowlan last Friday on his upcoming participation in the fight between Nama and the Dunnes proved to be unsuccessful.
And while Nama doesn't comment on court actions while they are ongoing as a matter of policy, whether or not the agency's case against the Dunnes ever makes it to a full trial remains to be seen.
Having considered the issues presented to her 10 days ago by lawyers for the parties, Judge Mazzaro set a date for jury selection of September 23, 2014 – 21 months from now.
The next stage in the protracted legal dispute comes on February 11 with the judge set to hear oral arguments on a motion filed by lawyers for Sean Dunne on November 30 last to dismiss the case altogether Mr Dunne is claiming that the courts of Connecticut have no jurisdiction over the case against him and his wife.
Central to the case being pursued by Nama is its belief that Gayle Killilea-Dunne has acquired millions of dollars worth of properties in Greenwich, Connecticut, using money provided by her husband. The Dunnes, for their part, strenuously deny that claim and are maintaining as part of their defence that Gayle has been independently wealthy since 2005, thanks in large part to an asset transfer agreement drawn up following the birth of their first son, Bobby Luke. Under the terms of that agreement, Ms Killilea-Dunne received assets worth "substantially more than €10m" according to her lawyers.
While exchanges between Nama and the Dunnes have so far been largely confined to the papers filed with the courts in Connecticut, the bitterness between the parties has been clear.
In a recent filing commenting on Ms Killilea-Dunne's refusal to comply with orders for discovery, Nama's attorneys claimed the journalist-turned-property developer had been engaged in attempts "to harass Nama's highest ranking officer [CEO Brendan McDonagh] and its managers".
They claimed: "She seeks to annoy, harass, burden, oppress and embarrass Mr McDonagh by establishing that he is not familiar with factual support for the allegations in the complaint, and then publicising that circumstance through the Irish press. This court should not permit Ms Killilea to waste Mr McDonagh's time to advance her agenda."