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BoI suing developer's estate for $900,000

Bank of Ireland has filed a lawsuit for the recovery of $900,000 (€622,000) plus costs in New York's Supreme Court against the estate of tragic property tycoon John O'Dolan, who took his own life in 2009 due to the pressure of his financial affairs.

Copies of official court documents seen by the Sunday Independent show that lawyers for Bank of Ireland Private Banking Limited have lodged a complaint in which it is alleged that a $954,000 mortgage Mr O'Dolan took with the bank in 2007 for the purchase of an apartment at the exclusive Centria Condominium in midtown Manhattan is now in default.

The bank's complaint states that no payments have been made against the loan since February 18 of last year, despite what it terms its "due demand". The court papers further state that Bank of Ireland is now seeking the repayment of $900,624.19 together with accrued interest, plus the costs of collection.

In seeking to recover the money, the bank's lawyers have asked the court to order the sale of Mr O'Dolan's apartment along with all its "fixtures and articles of personalty [personal effects]".

And in the event that the proceeds of such of a sale fail to cover the debt the bank claims it is owed, lawyers for Bank of Ireland have asked that the court order Mr O'Dolan's estate to make up the difference.

The bank's lawsuit will come as a particularly cruel blow to Mr O'Dolan's widow, Eileen, coming as it does on the back of other proceedings being taken by Anglo Irish Bank, AIB and Bank of Scotland here in Ireland against her personally in her previous capacity as a co-director with her late husband in several of his businesses.

The cases are thought to relate to her husband's interests. Nama has also initiated legal proceedings against Galway City Hostel, of which Mrs O'Dolan is also a director, and which was placed in receivership last year.

Originally from Clontarf in Dublin, Mr O'Dolan moved to Galway to join a local auctioneering firm before striking out on his own as a property developer. At the height of the boom, Mr O'Dolan was arguably the most successful developer in the west of Ireland, with a string of landmark deals to his name.

The most notable of these deals came when his company bought the Island of Ireland in the World development in Dubai for €28m and, the following year, bought the Island of England for a similar sum.

His businesses suffered a dramatic reversal of fortune in the international and domestic property crash, however, and according to the inquest into his death, he had become "depressed" by financial worries.

Sunday Independent