Wednesday 21 February 2018

Banks could move to seize Mansfield's luxury car fleet

Jim Mansfield with his helicopter outside his Citywest hotel in 2008
Jim Mansfield with his helicopter outside his Citywest hotel in 2008
His son PJ married model Andrea Roche in 2006

Donal O'Donovan and Dearbhail McDonald

BANKS could move to seize antiques, works of art, and luxury cars owned by Jim Mansfield after they went to the High Court seeking to enforce repayment of €280m in unpaid loans.

The banks have already seized the Dublin tycoon's most important business assets, including the €200m Citywest Hotel and Weston Aerodrome.

Personal guarantees made by Mr Mansfield mean he can be made responsible for paying back loans given to his companies by Bank of Scotland Ireland and Irish Nationwide Building Society. The Irish Nationwide loans are now in NAMA.

The court was told that Mr Mansfield is suffering from an incurable neurological illness.

He has previously said he sank €12m into development at Citywest, and has no remaining substantial assets.

Bank of Scotland is seeking orders for €206m. Separately NAMA is seeking €74m. If the applications succeed, then anything owned by Jim Mansfield can be seized to help pay off the loans.

For banks the most important aspect of registering a judgment is the power it gives them to identify and then seize assets and property.

If Mr Mansfield has any properties or sites that don't already have a mortgage, banks can go after them.

A judgment would mean personal property -- wine, paintings and antiques, for example -- can simply be seized by the sheriff once a bank registers the judgment.

If the banks are still unhappy at that stage they could force Mr Mansfield into bankruptcy, though it is an expensive and often futile move for a lender.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly, who heard the cases, said it is the biggest ever summary judgment application arising from a personal guarantee.

Mr Mansfield senior lives with his wife Anne in the luxurious Tassaggart House, a Georgian mansion on the edge of Dublin. Bank of Scotland is unlikely to get its hands on the property. Ownership of the house and other lands were transferred to his wife late last year.

NAMA will be first in line for that asset because it has greater legal powers than other lenders and can get the property transfer reversed.

Last night Justice Kelly agreed to fast-track the Bank of Scotland case against Mr Mansfield. It will be heard on November 10. He rejected a call from lawyers for Mr Mansfield for a slower legal process.

That call was made on health grounds because of Mr Mansfield incurable illness.

However, Mr Mansfield was granted extra time to prepare his defence against the NAMA claim.

The court heard how Mr Mansfield had battled to keep his business afloat even after banks moved against them.

His lawyers say he tried to convince a Saudi Arabian prince and US business to invest in an education complex at Citywest.

Bank of Scotland said the Mansfield group had failed to deliver any of the items set out in a strategic plan provided by them to BoS, it was claimed.

NAMA is chasing Mr Mansfield for €74.1m it says is owed because of personal guarantees provided over loans to two companies, Fallowvale Ltd and Bridford.

The assets involved include Weston Airport, six apartment blocks at Citywest and the Palmerstown House Estate, which features a championship golf course. Kieran Wallace was put in as receiver over the companies on April 20 last. Bank of Scotland put Martin Ferris in as receiver over the main Citywest business in 2010.

Irish Independent

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