Thursday 19 September 2019

Jackie Lavin's legal action against partner Bill Cullen over Co Kerry house adjourned to facilitate settlement talks

Jackie Lavin and Bill Cullen pictured together in 2010. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Jackie Lavin and Bill Cullen pictured together in 2010. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Aodhan O'Faolain

Jackie Lavin's High Court action against her partner Bill Cullen and one of his companies over an alleged failure to complete a €1m deal for the sale of Killegy House in Co Kerry to the businesswoman has been adjourned to facilitate settlement talks.

Ms Lavin of Osberstown House Naas Co Kildare had brought proceedings against Glencullen Properties Ltd and Mr Cullen, also of Osbertown House, Naas.

Mr Cullen is the firm's sole shareholder and a director of the company.  In 2012 Ulster Bank appointed accountancy firm Kavanagh Fennell as receivers over the company's assets including Killegy House, located at Muckross, Killarney. 

The case was listed for hearing before Mr Justice Paul Gilligan at the High Court on Wednesday, but was adjourned to allow talks between the parties.

The case is due to be mentioned before the court on Thursday morning.

In her proceedings Ms Lavin, who says she is in a committed relationship with Mr Cullen, claims Killegy House is her home. 

She claimed Ulster Bank created a charge over Glencullen's assets in 1999, including Killegy House. 

In 2009 Glencullen sought additional credit facilities from Ulster Bank allowing it continue to trade during the downturn.

The bank, she claims, was unwilling to do this unless €1m was invested in the company.

Following the sale of a property they had in Florida for US$7.25m  Ms Lavin said she agreed to advance Mr Cullen €1m so he could pay down Glencullen's liabilities.

As part of the arrangement she claimed Killegy House would be sold to her. She claims it has failed to complete the sale of the property to her.

She claims she suffered loss and damage as a result of being deprived of the opportunity to buy the house. 

After the company was placed in receivership it secured an order from the Residential Tenancies Board requiring her to leave Killegy House.

She seeks an order for the specific performance directing the sale of Killegy House to her.

She also seeks an order prohibiting the defendants from entering into any contract for sale of the property other than with Ms Lavin.

Glencullen Properties denies all the claims and argues that she is not entitled to any of the orders she seeks.

In its defence the company said it accepted Ms Lavin agreed to advance Mr Cullen €1m so he could loan Glencullen funds to reduce its liabilities.

However the company denies the monies were advanced as part of an agreement to sell Killegy to Ms Lavin or that it agreed to sell her the premises.

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