Business Irish

Saturday 16 December 2017

IBRC hit with Liberty lawsuit on day of US bankruptcy shield

Model Nadia Forde at the launch of Liberty Insurances Better Car Replacement
Model Nadia Forde at the launch of Liberty Insurances Better Car Replacement
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

The Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) is facing another legal broadside in the United States on the same day that a US court granted bankruptcy protection to the former Anglo Irish Bank.

Liberty Channelside has sued the bank and the Tampa Port Authority following its collapsed efforts to acquire the waterfront commercial property over which Anglo held a $27m (€20m) loan.

But Liberty's ire has been primarily directed at the port authority.

The company, controlled by businessmen Santosh Govindaraju and Punit Shah, accuses the body of effectively pulling the plug on the sale of the Channelside complex by dragging its heels over agreeing to the transfer of a ground lease that was essential to Liberty consummating a deal with IBRC.

Liberty was set to pay $5.5m for the Channelside property and planned a significant upgrade of the location.

Last May, lawyers for IBRC wrote to the Tampa Port Authority expressing their dissatisfaction with the sales process. The port authority countered that Liberty wasn't forthcoming about all its plans for Channelside.

Liberty's lawsuit points out that a deal is about to be finalised that will see the property sold to the port authority.

Liberty is suing the port authority claiming that it benefited from unjust enrichment and engaged in "tortious interference" in the sales process between IBRC and Liberty.

The lawsuit also wants the court to impose a so-called 'constructive trust' against IBRC and the port authority -- a remedy that would benefit Liberty whereby the Channelside property, its ground lease and the IBRC loan documents would be held in trust by the court for Liberty.

The case has been taken by Liberty in Delaware, where IBRC's US bankruptcy protection was confirmed on Wednesday.

Irish Independent

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