Gubay-linked firm sued by builders
Construction contractors involved in building two Dublin fitness centres are taking High Court actions over the alleged non-payment of debts, writes VINCENT WALL
AN Isle of Man-registered company linked to millionaire developer Albert Gubay's fitness centres in Dublin is being sued by building contractors in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, for alleged non-payment of debts.
P Elliott & Co, (Elliott) a long-established construction firm from Cavan town has already sought a summary judgment in the High Court against Mardown Ltd, the offshore company with which it entered contracts to build the Total Fitness gymnasium and health centre in Castleknock, three years ago. This action failed as the dispute is disputed by Mardown.
Albert Gubay, while not listed as a director of Total Fitness, is understood to be its major shareholder. The company operates a similar facility on the Malahide Road near Coolock.
Elliott is scheduled to appear in the High Court again later this morning to seek a formal listing for its case.
It is understood the company alleges it is owed over £700,000 by Mardown when interest and costs are included.
A separate case against Mardown but also relating to the Castleknock centre has already been heard by the High Court in Belfast.
The case has been taken by Stothers (M&E) Ltd, a Belfast-based mechanical and electrical contracting firm, which participated as one of the leading sub-contractors on the Castleknock project.
While Stothers declined to comment on the issue, it is understood the company alleges to be owed a substantial five-figure sum by Mardown Ltd.
Last night, Mark Elliott, a director of P Elliott & Co, confirmed the firm had a legal dispute with Mardown Ltd arising from the construction of the Total Fitness Centre in Castleknock.
``The matter is being considered by the courts and we cannot comment any further,'' he added.
A spokeswoman for Ivor Fitzpatrick & Co, solicitors to Mardown Ltd, also noted that the proceedings brought by Elliott were sub judice, preventing her from further comment.
The construction of the Total Fitness centre at Castleknock is believed to have been a £4m contract and was completed in late 1996.
Elliott is believed to allege that Mardown has failed to pay for work covered by two specific certificates issued by the architects to the project, Henry J Lyons & Partners of Baggot Street.
But according to Paul O'Brien of Henry J Lyons & Partners, the certificates in question were `endorsed'.
He said this meant that payment was subject to the fulfilment of certain conditions relating to the construction of the building.
Multi-millionaire Albert Gubay, who launched the low-budget `Three Guys' supermarket chain here in the 1970s, unveiled ambitious plans for a chain of 15 Total Fitness centres across the country three years ago.
To date, the Castleknock and Coolock centres are the only ones built, in a market where Ben Dunne is also actively involved.
Mr Gubay, now 71, has also been associated with extensive plans to develop a marina at Greystones, Co Wicklow and a state-of-the-art sports science institute at Sandyford, Co Dublin.
Last summer, he told an RTE documentary that he had made a '50-50' deal with God, that he had promised when he was younger and penniless to give half his estate to the Catholic Church, if he succeeded in becoming a millionaire.