Thursday 23 November 2017

Jackie Lavin's legal action against partner Bill Cullen over Co Kerry house will not be heard until October

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

Businesswoman Jackie Lavin's legal 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 will be heard in October.

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

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

The case was briefly mentioned before Mr Justice Paul Gilligan at the High Court on Thursday, who was informed that the matter would take five days to hear. 

The judge said that due to the volume of cases waiting to be heard the court would not be able to hear a five day action between now and the end of July when the legal year ends.

Noting that witnesses will have to travel to Dublin from abroad, the judge said he was listing the case for hearing on October 25.

In her proceedings Ms Lavin, who says she is in a committed relationship with Mr Cullen, claims she has been a longtime resident of Killegy House which she says is her home. 

She claims Ulster Bank created a charge over Glencullen's assets in 1999, including Killegy House.  In 2009 Glencullen sought additional credit facilities from Ulster Bank to allow 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 Killegy House would be sold to her.

She said she paid over €757,000 to the company but it has failed to complete the sale of the property to her.

She claims she  has 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.

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

Mr Cullen has not delivered a defence to the action.

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