Thursday 29 September 2016

Legal action over $11m condo project linked to Dunne

Shane Phelan Public Affairs Editor

Published 07/12/2015 | 15:38

Sean Dunne
Sean Dunne

A BANKRUPTCY official has taken legal action against a US loan company in a bid to discover if bust developer Sean Dunne is the beneficial owner of an $11m (€10.2m) condominium development.

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Trustee Richard Coan has initiated proceedings against Avant Capital, a lending firm who provided $3.5m (€3.2m) to a company run by Mr Dunne’s wife Gayle Killilea.

He claims the Avant has refused to comply with requests to produce documents and is seeking a court ruling compelling them to do so.

The dispute centres on a four-home development in the millionaires’ enclave of Greenwich, Connecticut.

151 Milbank Avenue LLC, a company run by Ms Killilea, is behind the development.

Mr Coan alleges that Mr Dunne is using companies registered in his wife’s name to conduct business, despite being nearly €700m in debt.

Richard Coan, the official handling Sean Dunne’s US bankruptcy
Richard Coan, the official handling Sean Dunne’s US bankruptcy

In the latest twist in increasingly convoluted bankruptcy proceedings, the trustee is seeking access to a lengthy list of documents and electronic files held by Avant.

These include emails, computer files, and details of communications between Avant and Ms Killilea and Mr Dunne’s son John.

He has also asked for details of communications directly between Avant and Mr Dunne, as well as any contacts with an accountant who has worked for Mr Dunne.

Mr Coan claims Avant has refused to produce these and other records, despite a number of requests.

It is the second time Mr Coan has taken legal action in connection with the development.

Last April he served a ‘lis pendens’ notice, indicating he intended to take a lien on the property and alleging Mr Dunne was its beneficial owner.

This caused work to grind to a halt as Avant refused to release further funds to Ms Killilea’s company.

Following negotiations, the ‘lis pendens’ notice was lifted to allow the development work to continue.

Under the agreement, profits from the sale of the condominiums are to be placed in an escrow account until a court determines whether or not Mr Dunne has any beneficial interest in the development.

Mr Coan has alleged Ms Killilea is conducting property developments using millions of euro fraudulently transferred to her by her husband.

The couple has denied fraud. They do not dispute that transfers took place, but say they were made at a time when Mr Dunne was solvent.

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