Cleaner grabbed deeds to flat and fled, court hears
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 heard.
Mr Justice Donald Binchy was told yesterday that on Monday last Ms Farrell, with her husband Michael and an unidentified man, went to the offices of her solicitor, Enda P Moran in Celbridge, Co Kildare, on the pretext that she needed to check the deeds - 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 Ms 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.
The judge was told that solicitor Brien O'Brien had represented Ms Farrell, trading as Gina Farrell Cleaning Services, in a High Court case in which the developer Seán Dunne was awarded €22,500 on the basis that Ms Farrell had overcharged him for cleaning at an apartment complex 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 Ms Farrell of €105,000. Later, this was reduced to €100,000 but the sum had not been paid. Part of that deal had been that an application for judgment against her for the €158,471 figure would be adjourned.
The court was told that in July Ms Farrell's apartment, which is jointly owned with her husband Michael, had gone "sale agreed" for €208,000, but their solicitor Enda Moran had not heard from anyone with regard to the sale.
Then on August 21 Michael and Gina, with the unidentified man, visited Enda Moran's office on the pretext they needed to check the deeds. When a locum solicitor presented the deeds, Ms Farrell "grabbed them" and the three fled.
The locum solicitor 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 Ms Farrell and her husband were conducting the sale through another solicitor and intended to dissipate the proceeds.
The judge granted Mr O'Brien injunctions against the Farrells, of Dangan Park, Kimmage, Dublin 12, restraining them from dealing with their assets including the sale of their Celbridge apartment. The proceedings were adjourned.