Wednesday 13 December 2017

High Court rules legal block on sale of O'Donnell home 'should be lifted'

Brian O’Donnell
Brian O’Donnell

Tim Healy

A legal bar on the sale of retired solicitor Brian O'Donnell's former family home should be lifted, the High Court has ruled.

Two "lis pendens" - notices that there is litigation pending on title to a property - were registered on Gorse Hill on Vico Road, Killiney, on March 3 last, just after the adult O'Donnell children had left the property following a failed lengthy court battle.

The notices were registered by Vico Ltd, the Isle of Man sole-purpose vehicle set up by the O'Donnell family for the purpose of owning the luxury house.

As they place a question mark over ownership, the lis pendens have effectively prevented the sale of the house by a receiver that Bank of Ireland had appointed to recover €71m owed by Brian O'Donnell and his wife, Dr Mary Patricia O'Donnell, for unpaid loans advanced to them to buy property.

The bank and receiver asked the court to lift the lis pendens as they were an abuse of process and/or frivolous and vexatious, and because the issues surrounding Gorse Hill had been fully thrashed out in other proceedings.

The application was opposed by Vico who, the court heard, has been in the control of the four O'Donnell children, Alexandra, Blaise, Bruce and Blake, since July 2012.

From then until December 2012, the O'Donnell parents were Vico's directors when it was struck off the companies register. It was restored with Bruce and Blake now its current directors.

Mr Justice Brian McGovern ruled the lis pendens had been registered for the "improper purpose of frustration of the bank and receiver from dealing with the property at Gorse Hill". He said the proceedings were an abuse of process.

Irish Independent

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