Saturday 24 February 2018

Fred Forsey jnr spent €35k in 5 days on mistress, holidays and cars – court

Fred Forsey Jnr and Karen Morrissey outside Waterford Circuit Court yesterday. Photo: Mark Condren
Fred Forsey Jnr and Karen Morrissey outside Waterford Circuit Court yesterday. Photo: Mark Condren

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

THE former Fine Gael councillor on trial for planning corruption blew tens of thousands of euro on luxury holidays, cars and an engagement ring for his mistress despite being "broke", a court was told yesterday.

Fred Forsey Jnr revealed to gardai how he woke up one morning to find his bags packed and was "thrown out the front door".

Mr Forsey, who admitted to having an affair with a young woman behind his wife's back, had to explain to gardai how he splashed €35,000 in just five days in 2006.

Mr Forsey (43), of Coolagh Road, Abbeyside, Dungarvan, Co Waterford, revealed to detectives that he phoned a developer to ask for a €70,000 loan to build an extension for his house.

He told gardai he intended to pay back the developer once he re-mortgaged his house.

However, the jury at Waterford Circuit Court heard yesterday how Mr Forsey never paid back a cent even after he received more than €33,000 from an internet mortgage firm.

The court heard how Mr Forsey swore "on his kids' lives" that the payments were not corrupt when he was questioned in Tramore garda station.

The former town councillor denies pocketing around €60,000, €10,000 and €10,000 in three corrupt payments from the developer in 2006 in return for backing land rezoning outside of his hometown of Dungarvan.

If convicted, Mr Forsey faces a fine and or up to 10 years in prison.

Mr Forsey's estranged wife Jenny was not present for the third day of her husband's trial.

But fiancee Karen Morrissey listened intently from the public gallery.

Ms Morrissey was not wearing the engagement ring that Mr Forsey paid up to €2,200 for.

The court was also told details of interviews Mr Forsey gave to gardai after he was arrested in July 2009.

Gardai swooped on a wedding reception at a hotel after receiving information that Mr Forsey had returned from Liverpool, England, to attend the function.

Mr Forsey told officers: "It is a mix-up, not a corrupt payment. I borrowed money that hasn't been paid back."

He said he needed cash as he was separating from his wife, his business was failing, and he was "slowly going broke" as he struggled with car and mortgage payments.

He also told officers that he had no vote in rezoning outside of Dungarvan.

"If it was a corrupt payment, it was the worst corrupt payment in history. I couldn't do anything," he added.

Mr Forsey also claimed in interviews to gardai that he tried to re-mortgage his home with two banks but was refused and that his car was about to be repossessed.

He also revealed that he spent the €70,000 from the developer on nine new PVC windows on his house, with his wife Jenny; €1,500 on a new fireplace; €5,000 on carpets and furniture; €23,000 on two cars, a Subaru and a second-hand Mercedes; €350 a week on maintenance after his wife and children left him; and living expenses for himself and Ms Morrissey.

Overdrawn

Mr Forsey withdrew €8,000 on the day €60,000 was lodged in his account, on August 25, 2006, and went on holiday with his wife and children to Rome.

He admitted he was earning only €150 a week from his driving school and €65 a week from Dungarvan Town Council at this time.

He also revealed that at one stage there was €15,000 cash in a safe in the upstairs of the home he shared with his wife and that he left the family home around six weeks after the first payment from the developer as he had been "having an affair".

He said he was "involved" with Karen Morrissey for up to six months before he moved out.

He said: "I just woke up one morning, my bags were packed and I was thrown out the front door."

The court heard how his AIB account was overdrawn by €239.65 on August 24 of 2006, €60,000 was paid into it by the developer the next day but it was overdrawn by €2,033.53 the following December.

In this time, he had also received over €33,000 from a mortgage company to re-finance the home he shared with his wife and three children.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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