Tuesday 20 March 2018

Chicago Spire developer sued for $5m

Garrett Kelleher with a model of the proposed 150-storey tower
Garrett Kelleher with a model of the proposed 150-storey tower
A computer generated image of the tower against the Chicago skyline
Work had begun in 2008 on the foundation hole for the new Chicago Spire apartment building

John Mulligan

Bank of America has upped the ante against Irish property developer Garrett Kelleher and applied to a Chicago court for a summary judgment against him and his Shelbourne Development company for the repayment of more than $5m (€3.4m) in loans.

The latest salvo in a nearly two-year legal battle between the parties comes after Bank of America lost patience with what it claimed was a "transparent attempt" by Mr Kelleher and his company "to delay repaying their financial obligations".

The bank alleges that the defendants have prolonged the litigation by raising a series of "meritless defences and counterclaims".


The money had been loaned to Shelbourne and Mr Kelleher to advance construction of the Spire in Chicago -- a $2bn , 150-storey skyscraper that at 2,000 feet high was to be one of the tallest in the world.

Last year, Mr Kelleher lost control of the Spire site after Anglo Irish Bank secured the appointment of a receiver to it. Anglo is owed in the region of $77m from Shelbourne.

Bank of America has asked the judge in its case to order Shelbourne Development and Mr Kelleher to hand over the money it is owed, the main portion of which is racking up nearly $153 a day in interest.

However, a decision is unlikely to be made for a number of weeks.

A lawyer representing Bank of America, Matthew Organ, declined to comment, while a lawyer representing Mr Kelleher and Shelbourne Development, Andrew Jacobson, was not contactable yesterday.

It is almost certain that an application to oppose Bank of America's motion will be filed by Mr Kelleher and Shelbourne Development, however.

Apart from the $5.1m summary judgment being sought against both Shelbourne Development and Mr Kelleher, Bank of America is also seeking a $117,000 judgment against the pair that relates to credit-card debt.Default


Bank of America maintains that while Shelbourne and Mr Kelleher have conceded they defaulted on the loan, "they refuse to pay the millions of dollars they owe".

"The court has already dismissed all of the defendants' counterclaims and all but one of the defendants' affirmative defences," Bank of America said in court documents.

It claims that the defendants' sole remaining defence is "legally and factually unsupportable".

Shelbourne and Mr Kelleher had previously counter-claimed against Bank of America, alleging that it had "willfully and wantonly" engaged in a systematic pattern of deception and unfairness in its dealings with it.

"Stripped of their last defence, defendants cannot avoid the undisputed facts demonstrating Bank of America's entitlement to summary judgment," the bank added in its latest filings.

Irish Independent

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