Monday 19 February 2018

Gayle Killilea to lose €60k after ex-lawyer files for bankruptcy

Gayle Killilea sued ex-lawyer over $500,000 held in escrow
Gayle Killilea sued ex-lawyer over $500,000 held in escrow
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

GAYLE KILLILEA is set to lose out on more than €60,000 after her former immigration lawyer filed for bankruptcy.

The US-based socialite turned property developer secured a judgment for $83,333 (€61,200) against New York lawyer Philip Teplen following a high-profile case three years ago, during which she claims he misappropriated $500,000 (€367,200) of her money.

However, court papers seen by the Irish Independent reveal the debt was never paid and Ms Killilea is now unlikely to ever get the money after Mr Teplen filed for bankruptcy with debts of $5.4m (€4m).

Ms Killilea is only listed as a non-priority unsecured creditor in the bankruptcy application made by Mr Teplen, who recently resigned from the New York bar for a "disciplinary reason".

This means she will be at the back of the queue when it comes to disbursing Mr Teplen's assets.

NAMA has been seeking to call Mr Teplen as a witness in proceedings against Ms Killilea's husband, bust developer Sean Dunne who has himself filed for bankruptcy.

The toxic bank believes he has knowledge of at least one of a series of property deals involving Ms Killilea which they allege put millions of euro beyond the reach of creditors, an allegation denied by Ms Killilea and Mr Dunne.


NAMA has been seeking to ascertain whether Mr Dunne benefited from the sales, which were conducted by his wife after she set herself up as a developer in her own right.

Three properties identified by NAMA sold for €5.2m more than they were initially bought for. Mr Teplen, whose practice was based in the Empire State Building, acted as a trustee on one of the properties, which was located in the millionaire's enclave of Greenwich, Connecticut.

He also acted as Ms Killilea's immigration lawyer when she and her husband moved to the US in 2010.

However, relations turned sour when the lawyer allegedly failed to return $500,000 which he had been holding in an escrow account for Ms Killilea for use in a property deal in Chicago.

Ms Killilea sued him and secured a judgment for $83,333 in the New York Supreme Court. It is not clear what became of the remaining funds at the centre of the dispute.

Bankruptcy filings show Ms Killilea is just one of a string of creditors pursuing the lawyer.

Mr Teplen also owes money to the taxman, a number of banks and financial institutions, a medical services business, and a nursing home.

His biggest creditor is a former client, New York businessman Richard B Cohen, who is suing the lawyer for $3.2m (€2.35m) for allegedly using client loans for his own benefit.

Irish Independent

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