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Saturday 10 December 2016

Mansfield told to pay NAMA over €74m for loan debts

Published 25/10/2011 | 05:00

HOTELIER Jim Mansfield has been ordered to pay more than €74m to the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) on foot of personal guarantees he gave for loans to two companies.

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Mr Mansfield, who is suffering from a serious neurological illness, will next month face a separate application by Bank of Scotland relating to more than €206m arising from other debts of his companies.

The claims are believed to amount to the biggest ever applications brought against an individual in the Commercial Court.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly yesterday granted judgment for €74,014,965 to Neil Steen for NAMA after rejecting arguments by lawyers for Mr Mansfield that he had an arguable defence to the claim.

Patrick Leonard, for Mr Mansfield, had raised issues including whether Kieran Wallace, the receiver appointed to the Mansfield Group last April, acted reasonably in rejecting offers of about €11.9m for Palmerstown House and estate and concerning any sale of Weston Aerodrome and West Park apartments.

Mr Leonard argued his side had been told NAMA would not accept offers from parties connected with the Mansfield Group. He said this was also unfair and in breach of the agency's own code of practice.

He also complained that NAMA had failed to allow a proper opportunity to the Mansfield interests to advance a business plan.

But the judge refused to delay the judgment, pending any possible sale of some of the Mansfield group companies -- including Weston Aerodrome -- or a possible appeal to the Supreme Court.

He said a delay would prevent NAMA realising benefit from its claim over the property, in a falling market, possibly for years.

A delay would also prejudice NAMA in a situation where another creditor was seeking summary judgment for a sum almost three times that sought here, he said.

In his ruling, Mr Justice Kelly said neither the fact that the money was borrowed nor that Mr Mansfield had guaranteed the loans was in dispute.

Many of Mr Mansfield's complaints related to the receiver's action but there had been no application to remove that receiver, the judge said.

Guarantees

NAMA brought its proceedings arising from personal guarantees provided by Mr Mansfield, Tasaggart House, Saggart, Co Dublin, over loans by Irish Nationwide to Fallowvale Ltd and Bridford Ltd between 2003 and 2009.

Those loans had been transferred to NAMA, which last April demanded repayment of some €45.4m from Fallowvale and some €27.5m from Bridford.

When no repayment was made, the agency demanded payment from Mr Mansfield under his guarantees and appointed Mr Wallace as receiver over the companies on April 20.

The court previously heard that medical reports had stated Mr Mansfield suffers from a number of medical conditions, the most serious being multiple system atrophy, described as incurable.

Irish Independent

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