Sunday 21 December 2014

Developer Sean Mulryan accuses former partner of ‘harassing’ him

Published 06/07/2014 | 02:30

Sean Mulryan
Sean Mulryan

DEVELOPER Sean Mulryan has called in his lawyers to deal with an alleged “campaign of harassment” against him by a former business partner who claims to be owed €11.8m for work carried out during the boom.

Efforts by Wicklow estate agent Gabriel Dooley to secure millions of euro in fees he says are due to him from Mulryan’s Ballymore Group have been met with a heated response from the Roscommon-born property tycoon.

In a letter sent on his behalf by lawyers Arthur Cox on May 2, Mr Mulryan accuses Mr Dooley of having made “allegations and threats” against him in emails and texts which he claims were sent “outside of office hours” and “late at night”.

Mr Dooley has rejected that claim, insisting it had been common practice during his 18 years of doing business with Mr Mulryan to be in contact with him outside of office hours.

Central to the bitter dispute is Mr Dooley’s contention that Ballymore owes him €7.8m arising from a “sales agency” agreement on apartments and houses at Charlesland in the north Wicklow town of Greystones. He also claims he is owed a further €4m for consultancy on the proposed Florentine town centre development in Bray.

While lawyers for Mr Mulryan have described the estate agent’s claim for the amount he says is due to him from the Charlesland development as “baseless”, Mr Dooley argues he was promised payment for the project.

The Wicklow estate agent’s claim for payment of €4m in consulting fees on the Florentine development meanwhile has been complicated by the fact the agreement he came to in 2005 with Ballymore specified the monies would only be paid upon its “practical completion”.

Due to several planning objections, approval for the centre only came about in 2007 just as the financial crisis was beginning to take hold.  Starved of the necessary development funding, the project was effectively stalled.

Notwithstanding that fact, Mr Dooley pressed for payment last year of the claimed €4m consulting fee from Ballymore’s Irish subsidiary and the company behind the Bray development, Florentine Properties, arguing the monies were due to him as there had been a change of control of the two companies once their loans were taken into Nama.

His claim was further complicated when Bank of Scotland appointed receivers to Florentine Properties and another Ballymore company, Montes Ltd. Speaking to the Sunday Independent at the time, a source close to the Ballymore Group said rather than pursuing Ballymore, Mr Dooley should take his case up with the receiver instead.      

The development of the Florentine Centre has moved forward since with the acquisition last December of the site by Bray Town Council for €1.95m.

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