Thursday 23 January 2020

Cleaner fled solicitor's office with her apartment deeds due to pay €100k debt - court

  • Sale of apartment to pay legal costs after developer Sean Dunne sued Farrell's cleaning company for breach of contract
  • Locum solicitor who tried to stop trio and recover deeds was 'pushed aside' - court hears
Developer Sean Dunne (left) and contract cleaner Gina Farrell
Developer Sean Dunne (left) and contract cleaner Gina Farrell

Ray Managh

Self-styled cleaner to the stars Gina Farrell fled her solicitor’s office this week after grabbing the deeds of an apartment she owns and against which an undertaking had been given to pay a €100,000 debt, the High Court was told today Thursday.

Mr Justice Donald Binchy was told that on Monday last Farrell, with her husband Michael and an unidentified man, had gone to the offices of her solicitor Enda P. Moran in Celbridge, Co Kildare, on the pretext she needed to check the deeds and then ran off with them.

A locum solicitor who tried to stop them and recover the deeds had been “pushed aside.”

The court heard that her solicitor had previously given an undertaking to another firm of solicitors, to whom Farrell allegedly owed a legal costs debt of €158,471, that a settlement figure of €100,000 would be paid to them directly from the sale of her apartment in St Rapheal’s Manor, Celbridge.

Cleaning contractor Gina Farrell. Photo: Courtpix
Cleaning contractor Gina Farrell. Photo: Courtpix

Judge Binchy was told that solicitor Brien O’Brien had represented Farrell, trading as Gina Farrell Cleaning Services, in a 17-day High Court case in which developer Sean Dunne was awarded €22,500 on the basis Farrell had overcharged him, between 2003 and 2006, for cleaning services at an apartment complex his company Hollybrook (Brighton Road) Management owned in Foxrock, Co Dublin.

Initially a legal costs and VAT bill of €263,470 was reduced to a balance of €158,471 on payment by Farrell of €105,000.  Later this figure had been reduced to €100,000 after settlement talks which, Judge Binchy heard, had not been paid.  Part of the deal had been that an application for judgment against her for the €158,471 figure would be adjourned.

The court was told that while in July last Farrell’s apartment, jointly owned with her husband Michael, had gone “sale agreed” for €208,000 their solicitor Enda Moran had not heard from anyone with regard to the sale.

Then on Monday August 21st Michael and Gina, with the unidentified man, had visited Enda Moran’s office on the pretext they needed to check something in the deeds on the instructions of Bank of Ireland to see if they could obtain a loan from the bank.

Sean Dunne
Sean Dunne

When a locum solicitor in Mr Moran’s office had presented the deeds on her desk Gina Farrell “grabbed them and proceeded with her husband and the other man to flee from the office,” the judge was told.

The court heard that the locum solicitor had attempted to take back the deeds but had been “pushed aside.”  The locum had later made a phone call to Brien O’Brian’s office stating that the €100,000 undertaking regarding the proceeds of sale had been cancelled.  Auctioneers had since confirmed that the Farrells’ Celbridge apartment remained “sale agreed.”

Judge Binchy was told that Brian O’Brien, practising under the style of O’Brien Redmond Solicitors, believed Gina Farrell and her husband were conducting the sale through another solicitor and that they intended dissipating the proceeds.

The judge granted O’Brien injunctions against the Farrells, who live at Dangan Park, Kimmage, Dublin 12, restraining them from dealing with their assets including the sale of their Celbridge apartment. 

Judge Binchy also granted O’Brien a Mareva injunction restraining the couple from reducing their assets below €175,000.

The proceedings, brought on an ex parte basis, were adjourned.

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