Sunday 22 October 2017

Mystery as 'penniless' McFeely settles €24,000 debt

Bankrupt: Tom McFeely
Bankrupt: Tom McFeely
Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

THE man in charge of Tom McFeely's bankruptcy is to investigate how the bust developer managed to settle a €24,000 debt.

The builder behind the notoriously unsafe Priory Hall apartments managed to settle the debt – reportedly by bank draft – despite the fact that he is bankrupt and penniless.

Chris Lehane, the bankruptcy official who now effectively controls McFeely's assets, signalled yesterday that he wants to find out where the money came from.

"There has already been a query gone to my office to the people who received the funds. We will be looking at all aspects of that," he told RTE's The Business yesterday.

"There are certain situations where people are not co-operating with me and the full rigour of the law will be applied to those individuals."

Mr Lehane also told the show's presenter, George Lee: "But if you come to a bankruptcy, if anyone has any belief that there is money that I don't know about, bring it to my attention."

McFeely owed the €24,000 to a personnel company in Dublin, MCR, which pursued him through the courts.

He had been ordered by the court to give a full account of his financial affairs and was also due to be cross-examined on his finances.

He would have faced a three-month prison sentence if the court found he hadn't complied with its instructions.

On Friday, the court was told that the matter was settled.

While he avoided going to jail, he may now face questioning from Mr Lehane.

As official assignee, Mr Lehane is in charge of McFeely's estate, including all of his assets, income and properties.

Only he can authorise financial transactions from McFeely's account.

McFeely, a former IRA hunger striker, narrowly avoided jail for failing to repair the Priory Hall apartments, which were condemned as a fire trap and had to be evacuated.

One of the residents took his own life during the summer, apparently under pressure to repay a mortgage on the worthless apartment.

McFeely went to America last month, shortly after the mysterious discovery of a €200,000 cash haul hidden in his former home in Dublin 4. His Ailesbury Road home was repossessed by the bank.

The money was found by a plumber hired by its new owners. McFeely has reportedly denied knowledge of it and the Criminal Assets Bureau gave the money to Mr Lehane to help repay the debts.

Sunday Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News