Thursday 22 March 2018

NAMA gets €71m judgments against solicitors

Tim Healy

NAMA has obtained separate judgment orders totalling more than €71m against two solicitors.

They arise out of loans advanced mainly for property developments in the Munster area, including shopping centres and residential developments.

The agency is also pursuing a number of businessmen and companies for sums ranging from €2.3m to €50m relating to the same loans.

In four different sets of proceedings in the Commercial Court today, Mr Justice Peter Kelly granted summary judgment orders sought by NAMA against solicitor Paul O'Brien, Sunbury, Courtbrack Avenue, South Circular Road, Limerick, totalling just over €58m.

He also granted summary judgment for €13.8m against a second solicitor - Denis McMahon, Beechurst, North Circular Road, Limerick.

Arising from the need to address interest and other issues, the judge adjourned to Thursday NAMA's claim for summary judgment orders against a number of other businessmen and companies.

The claims arose from 32 separate loans, 24 separate guarantees and indemnities and 79 separate security documents relating to 87 loans which transferred from Allied Irish Banks to NAMA in December 2010.

The large property portfolio involved includes commercial properties, shopping centres, residential developments and residential properties in the Munster area.

NAMA brought the proceedings following its rejection of business plans provided by Mr O'Brien and some of the other defendants.

The first set of proceedings were against Greenband Investments and MKI Property Investments, both in receivership and now with addresses at Grant Thornton, City Quay, Dublin 2; Paul O'Brien; John Costello, Coast Road, Cahra, Glin, Co Limerick, and John Hegarty, Ballygrannan, Drombanan, Co Limerick.

The case arose from guarantees provided by the three men related to the liabilities of the two companies. Greenband was a property development company while MKI was engaging in developing and selling real estate. Mr O'Brien was a director of both.

The judge said NAMA was entitled to judgment for more than €50m against Greenband and almost €22m against MKI over various loans issued since 2006 but adjourned the making of orders against them to Thursday so as to address interest issues.

He noted Mr Hegarty accepted he was liable for about €15m but disputed NAMA's claim for judgment for the €21.3m sum. That claim has been adjourned to Thursday.

The case against Mr Costello was also adjourned to Thursday to allow him outline whether he has a defence to the claim against him for some €2.3m and to advance proposals to NAMA.

The judge noted Mr O'Brien was neither consenting to nor opposing the claim for judgment for some €21.3m arising from his guarantees of the liabilities of Greenband. He entered judgment against Mr O'Brien in that sum and will deal with interest issues on Thursday.

In the second case, NAMA sought summary judgment for some €20.5m against MKI and €19.8m against Greenband, Mr O'Brien and Mr Hegarty related to guarantees of loans for a shopping centre in Clonmel.

Having been told Mr O'Brien was neither consenting nor objecting,the judge entered judgment for some €19.8m against him.

Mr Hegarty, the judge heard, accepted he had liability for about half of the €19m claimed against him and that matter was adjourned to Thursday.

The third case was against Mount Kennett Investment Company, Mr O'Brien; Denis McMahon and three businessmen - Ruairi Costello, Lansdowne Square, Dublin; Thomas Costello, Kilbane, Castletroy, Limerick and John Costello, Coast Road, Cahara, Glin, Co Limerick.

In that case, the judge entered judgment for €13,893,541 against Mr O'Brien and Mr McMahon arising from their guarantees of various loans.

He adjourned a claim for some €7m against Mount Kennett and Ruairi and Thomas Costello and for €2.3m against John Costello. The defendants were seeking time to advance proposals and to consider any defence.

The final case was brought against Mr O'Brien; Joseph McNamara, Erinagh Lodge, Fountain, Ennis, Co Clare; James McNamara, Grange, Maganey, Co Laois and Gerard McNamara, Cappantymore, Meelick, Co Clare. It involved a claim for summary judgement against all four on a joint and several basis for €2.89m.

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