Tuesday 27 September 2016

Restriction lifted on $22m deal linked to Dunne in US

Published 14/09/2015 | 00:00

Sean Dunne: alleged interest
Sean Dunne: alleged interest

A court in the United States has lifted a legal notice that effectively stopped the wife and son of bust developer Sean Dunne completing a $22m (€19.7m) apartment development in New York.

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Construction work on the Soho district project ground to a halt during the summer after a bankruptcy trustee alleged that Mr Dunne had a beneficial interest in it.

The trustee, Richard Coan, issued a "lis pendens" last April. This is a notice that a lien may be sought on the property.

Mr Coan is seeking to recover assets owned by the Carlow-born developer, who has debts of close to €700m.

Hampered

Mr Dunne's son, John, told a court that the trustee's notice hampered efforts by the com- pany behind the development to secure bank loans to continue with building work.

He and Mr Dunne's second wife, former gossip columnist Gayle Killilea, own the company behind the development, TJD21 LLC.

In affidavits filed with the court, John Dunne described himself as the managing member of TJD21.

He had previously said the company was in the process of developing the site, and although construction had started, it was on hold due to lack of finance.

The company denies that Mr Dunne has any interest in the project.

Legal papers seen by the Irish Independent show a New York judge approved a motion made on behalf of the company seeking to have the notice lifted.

In an oral ruling, Judge Shlomo Hagler of the New York County Supreme Court agreed to the motion last month.

He said his decision was guided by the opinion of Connecticut bankruptcy judge Alan Shiff, who determined that the lis pendens was "ineffective".

Lawyers for TJD21 LLC had argued that the legal notice was improperly filed and was never served on the company.

They also argued that as long as the lis pendens was in place, it was highly improbable that any lender would be willing to finance the continued construction and development of the property.

It is the second time in recent weeks that a property linked by the trustee to Mr Dunne has been at the centre of a legal dispute.

Restrictions that effectively halted the completion of an $11m (€9.85m) condominium development in Greenwich, Connecticut, were partially lifted last month.

The easing came after an agreement was reached between Ms Killilea, Mr Coan and a finance company.

Once one of Ireland's highest-profile property developers, Mr Dunne moved to the USA in 2010 following the economic crash and filed for bankruptcy three years later.

He has debts of close to €700m and is undergoing unprecedented dual bankruptcy procedures in both the US and Ireland.

His main creditors include Nama.

Irish Independent

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