Business Irish

Friday 23 March 2018

Investor has right to legal hearing over €4.6m debt, court rules

Tim Healy

A BUSINESSMAN is entitled to a hearing over his claim that he is only 50pc liable for a summary judgment of €4.6m in relation to a shopping-centre development, the Commercial Court has ruled.

John Hegarty, of Ballygrannan, Drombanan, Co Limerick, who inherited the family scrap-metal business, is entitled to argue that he was the victim of negligent misrepresentation from AIB when he was seeking loans to invest, with others, in the shopping centre in Clonmel, Co Tipperary.

The investment was also to buy development land in Maynooth, Co Kildare.

The loans were later taken over by NAMA, which last June sought summary judgment against Mr Hegarty.

On June 21 in the Commercial Court, Mr Hegarty consented to the entry of summary judgment for €15.5m against him, after accepting that he had no defence to the demand in relation to borrowings and guarantees for the Maynooth land. AIB had also sought €4.6m on the fitting-out of the Clonmel shopping centre.

However, while consenting to that judgment, Mr Hegarty said he only had a 50pc liability for the Clonmel project.

Ruling that Mr Hegarty was entitled to a full plenary hearing of the matter, Mr Justice Charleton said his defence could not be classified as weak.

Mr Hegarty's involvement was as part of a group involving two other men and two companies. The judge said Mr Hegarty claimed that in a meeting in April 2009, with AIB representatives, he raised concerns about the amount of borrowings of the other people involved in the projects.

It was confirmed to Mr Hegarty by an AIB official that he had only a 50pc interest in the Clonmel development and would only be pursued for that amount, the judge said.

He gave leave to Mr Hegarty to remit the matter for full plenary hearing.

Irish Independent

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