Business World

Tuesday 24 April 2018

Now developer Philip Marley diversifies into US reality TV

Businessman Philip Marley with reality TV star Dana Wilkey
Businessman Philip Marley with reality TV star Dana Wilkey
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

HE's the high-profile property player who made his name developing student accommodation.

But with the property market in tatters, businessman Philip Marley is diversifying and has turned some of his attention to the glitzy world of US reality TV.

The Dubliner has been seen and photographed in the company of glamorous reality TV star Dana Wilkey, famous for her role in the hit US television show, 'The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills'.

They've been working together co-producing a new show called 'Rich and Ditched', focusing on the lives of incredibly wealthy 40-plus divorcees living in London.

The relationship is one of mutual appreciation.

She sings his praises, reportedly 'tweeting' that he is 'earth shattering' and questioned whether she was dreaming, while he has described her as amazing.

But on the other side of the Atlantic, the founder of Ely Properties has had his troubles.

He's being chased for allegedly owing about €10m to the now defunct Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), and a petition was lodged to have Ely wound up.

In an interview with the 'Sunday Independent' last July, he appeared unrepentant, laying the blame for the profligacy of the boom years squarely at the feet of the financial regulator.

"Everyone in Ireland was lent too much money. If I fill a room full of sweets and I send in a bunch of four-year-olds, and I don't put a limit on how much they can eat, you're going to have a room full of very sick children," he said.

"They had drive-through banking. Making a phone call and being offered a bank draft into the millions within two hours.

"It's like mom keeping a lock on the cookie jar. All the blame for the Irish problem lies with the Financial Regulator. Period."

Mr Marley founded Dublin-based Ely in 2003, which began focusing on student accommodation premises. It listed on London's Alternative Investment Market in 2005.

The business was sold to Dublin-listed Newcourt in 2006 and was then re-acquired by Mr Marley and other backers in 2008 for a nominal sum.

Irish Independent

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