Tuesday 21 May 2019

British lord accused of 'calculated strategy' to delay mansion sale here

George Magan says he has rights as a tenant. Photo: PA Images via Getty Images
George Magan says he has rights as a tenant. Photo: PA Images via Getty Images

Tim Healy

A British lord has been accused of an "orchestrated and calculated strategy" to delay completion of the sale of one of Ireland's finest Georgian mansions.

George Magan, who lives in Kensington, London, once owned the Georgian Castletown Cox and its 513-acre estate in Co Kilkenny.

He is due in Kilkenny Circuit Court today to argue he is entitled to continue on as a tenant of the mansion.

Last November, the High Court granted summary judgment for €571,000 against Mr Magan after a dispute about rent arrears for Castletown Cox, which he says is his family's secondary home.

The judgment was sought by a trust set up by Mr Magan called the Castletown Foundation. The foundation, managed by Jersey-based Yew Tree Trustees, was established to benefit two of his children, Edward Magan and Henrietta Black.

On the basis of this arrangement, Mr Magan continued to be a tenant of the property.

However, the trust said it had come under financial strain due to €14.5m in borrowings secured on the property and maintenance costs.

It decided to sell the property and agreed a price of €19m with an unidentified buyer.

The foundation took over the house in May last year in what the court heard was a "dawn raid" when no member of the Magan family was present.

The foundation also brought High Court proceedings claiming Mr Magan was trying to delay the sale.

Mr Magan counter-claimed that the foundation had taken unlawful possession of the house and he was entitled to a continued tenancy under the Landlord and Tenant Act.

Mr Justice Robert Haughton, who granted judgment against Mr Magan last November, put a stay on the foundation pursuing other reliefs against him pending determination of the matter in the Circuit Court.

The judge granted lawyers for Mr Magan permission to cease representing him.

Rossa Fanning SC, for the foundation, said he was concerned it was part of an orchestrated and calculated strategy of continuing delay.

The judge adjourned the matter for a week.

Irish Independent

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