Business Irish

Saturday 16 December 2017

Marley firms lose control of rental flats in England

Portsmouth properties made £60,000 a month

Tom Lyons

Companies backed by Philip Marley, the Dublin businessman who avoided bankruptcy last week, have lost control of 48 apartments with a rent roll of £60,000 (€70,000) a month in Portsmouth, England.

The special liquidator of the former Anglo Irish Bank, IBRC, took over the apartments after almost a year of battling Mr Marley to control them. The bank loaned £12.6m (€14.8m) to a Marley firm to fund the properties.

Mr Marley acknowledged that some of the rents from the apartments had gone into a company called Common Interest Communities (CIC), a new business he has set up with his girlfriend, Dana Wilkey, an American reality TV star.

The businessman said, however, that any money that went into CIC had only been used to pay legal fees associated with his legal battle with IBRC.

He said "absolutely not" when asked if any of the money had been used to fund his lifestyle or travels between America, England, Gibraltar and Ireland as well as a surfing trip to Hawaii.

Mr Marley admitted that more than £400,000 (€470,000) in rents had been collected by his companies from the apartments in Portsmouth over the past year.

He said that £300,000 (€352,000) of this had been used to repay money previously advanced to fit out the apartments, and £150,000 (€176,000) had been spent on legal fees fighting IBRC.

"We are completely happy with this. This is very normal," Mr Marley said when asked about where all the money had gone.

He said he was "disappointed" to learn that Aidan Garcia Diaz, the liquidator of former Marley firm Ely Properties Ltd, had decided not to continue to pursue this court action once he took control of the company.

"We would have won this case," he said. "We spent a lot of money funding it."

District Judge Simon Veysey, in an order made in Portsmouth and dated June 4, said key documents relating to the apartments (a management/letting agreement as well as leases) were "not genuine" and a "sham".

Mr Marley said: "That is absolutely not true. That case never got the chance to be properly defended."

Separately, he faced an attempt to bankrupt him last week over a debt of €37,000 owed to a former client. Mr Marley said he chose to settle this case in full after a day's hearing because "I decided that my time with my kids was more valuable".

Before the case was settled, Mr Marley was questioned about where rents due to be paid to his former client, Malachy Stephens, had gone since they stopped at the end of 2009. Mr Marley said all rents had been used to fix equipment associated with an apartment in north Dublin.

He also told the court that he now lived in Gibraltar or Chelsea and he only visited Dublin for a few days a month.

"I am based in Gibraltar because I love the weather and the business environment," he told the Sunday Independent.

The businessman said he had defended the action before settling it in full because he liked to "push things to the wire".

Mr Marley said he funded his lifestyle from new business ventures in reality TV and developing common interest living communities for different groups as well as assisting Ms Wilkey with her new business, Thin Shots – a diet drink.

"There will always be people who want to have a pop at you," he said, "but you only lose what you don't fight."

Irish Independent

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