Tuesday 16 January 2018

Bust Priory Hall developer Tom McFeely seeks €10m UK funding for new property deals

Priory Hall activist Stephanie Meehan protesting outside the Dail. Ms Meehan's partner took his life in July after sustained pressure from banks due to mortgage arrears
Tom McFeely: Sources unwilling to go on the record

THUG developer Tom McFeely has begun a fundraising drive in Britain to raise €10m to allow him bounce back into business. The bankrupt builder of firetrap apartment block Priory Hall has made contact with London financiers in his bid to raise new money.

A source who was approached by McFeely said that the former IRA hunger striker was touting his "expertise" to prospective buyers of loans from the National Asset Management Agency, in IBRC and UK banks based in Ireland.

The source told The Sunday Independent of McFeely's contacts but asked to remain anonymous. A second source also confirmed McFeely was trying to get back into the Irish property game but said the Northern builder was trying to do so in an ultra low-profile manner. "He is incredibly pushy and claims to have the inside track on various deals in Ireland," a source said.

"His problem is Google, the moment you do any due diligence on him, up pops Priory Hall," the source added. McFeely is claiming to be representing relatively small-time developers in Ireland and claims to be effectively an agent for them.

Neither London-based property source was prepared to make an on-the-record comment on the former IRA hunger striker who has a fierce temper which has earned him the nickname "Raging Bull".

In July 2012, McFeely tried to attack a reporter from The Sunday Independent with a broken pint glass in Portugal in one of a number of incidents involving the developer and the media.

Nama would not knowingly allow McFeely to be involved in the purchase of any loans from it. State-owned IBRC would also be expected to take a similar hard-line approach to the developer who has come to symbolise the greed and recklessness of the boom.

Nama has evicted McFeely from his mansion on Ailesbury Road over an unpaid mortgage of €9.5m loaned to the developer by Irish Nationwide. At the start of this month it began a legal action against his wife, Nina Lynn Kessler, over "substantial" debts claimed by the agency.

McFeely and his business partner Larry O'Mahony borrowed €186m from Irish Nationwide at the peak of the boom, and these loans are now controlled by Nama.

The building society lent €30m to the business partners to build Priory Hall. The rogue developers also signed a "supplemental arrangement fee" where they agreed to pay Michael Fingleton's Irish Nationwide €2m from the sale of its 194 shoddy apartments.

The fall-out for the residents of Priory Hall is one of the most disgraceful incidents of the bust. One former resident, Fiachra Daly, died by suicide in July. Over 250 residents have been left in limbo since 2009 when Dublin City Council told them to vacate the building over safety concerns.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny pledged earlier this month to resolve what he described as the "complete injustice" done to residents of the Dublin apartment complex. Talks are ongoing between the various banks and other parties involved in Priory Hall to come up with a solution for its apartment owners.

By Tom Lyons

Sunday Independent

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