Thursday 21 November 2019

Nama gets €8m judgment against McFeely's wife

Priory Hall developer Thomas McFeely
Priory Hall developer Thomas McFeely

Tim Healy

Nama has secured final judgment for €8m against the wife of Priory Hall builder Thomas McFeely, over an unpaid loan secured on the family home in Ailesbury Road, Dublin.

Nina Lynn Kessler, otherwise known as Nina McFeely, opposed the Nama application, claiming, among other things, she lacked independent legal advice when taking the loan.

Yesterday at the High Court, Ms Justice Iseult O'Malley ruled the matter was the subject of previous court proceedings and the objections by Ms Kessler, including the issue of legal advice, had not been raised.

"It is too late to do so now," the judge said.

A €9.5m loan was taken out by the couple from the former Irish Nationwide Building Society (INBS) in December 2006.

Ms Kessler told the court INBS had told her this was a personal loan to discharge existing mortgages on their home. It was to be repaid from income from the development of Priory Hall in Donaghmede, Dublin, whose residents later had to move out because of fire safety deficiencies in the building.

She believed it was a business loan and her husband told her there would be no risk to her.

Ms Justice O'Malley said interest payments on the loan went into arrears and the capital was not repaid.

In January 2012, by which time Nama had taken over the former INBS loan, it had risen to €10.6m. Nama sought an order for possession of the house.

The house was sold for €2.6m in May 2013 and Nama then sought judgment against Ms Kessler for the balance still owed on the loan, €8m. Mr McFeely had earlier, in July 2012, been adjudicated bankrupt.

In opposing the Nama judgment application, and seeking a full hearing, Ms Kessler said INBS made representations to her as to the purpose of the loan and how it would be repaid.

Nama disputed her claims and said she could not be permitted to raise issues after the courts had already determined that the debt she owes was well charged on the family home, and an order for possession had been granted.

Ms Kessler believed she had a good defence to the summary judgment claim, the judge said.

She argued she did not have any liability because Nama breached the terms of the loan, by failing to redeem the mortgages on the family home and relying on payments from sales of Priory Hall as well as her husband's other business projects.

The judge also said Ms Kessler argued she had little knowledge of her husband's affairs and felt under pressure to sign the loan agreement.

But Ms Justice O'Malley said if there was any genuine dispute as to Ms Kessler's liability for the loan, it was entirely reasonable to expect these issues would have been raised in the earlier proceedings.

Irish Independent

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