Tuesday 12 December 2017

Nama wants to replace developer’s widow as executor of estate

Mary Carolan

NAMA wants to remove the widow of developer Liam Maye as executor of his estate and replace her with an administrator chosen by it or a court.

It is the first application of its kind by NAMA, under the Succession Act, to the High Court’s big business division, the Commercial Court.


NAMA, owed €649m arising from various loans to Mr Maye, who died in May 2008, is concerned assets worth millions, including properties, a retirement fund, a Lexus car and golf membership have been transferred out of his estate to his widow Anne Maye and other family members or connected parties.


It says Mr Maye was an extremely wealthy developer involved in projects including Dundrum Town Centre and Dundrum Village, the Whitewater Shopping Centre in Newbridge and in Adamstown, Dublin, and it is concerned its rights as a secured creditor are being  adversely affected. 


Mrs Maye and those advising her appear to believe the estate can continue to be managed "as if it is a private family concern" without regard to its creditors, it said.


It claims the estate of Mr Maye is insolvent with €649m liabilities to NAMA over estate managed assets valued for NAMA at some €205m in 2009.


Mr Justice Peter Kelly yesterday described NAMA’ allegations as  "very serious" .


Agreeing to fast-track the case in the Commercial Court, Mr Justice Kelly said there was hundreds of millions of Euro involved although the estate was previously valued, when a grant of probate was being sought a month after Mr Maye's death, at some €72,000.

Declan McGrath SC, for Mrs Maye, said the probate matter had been explained to NAMA and his side needed time to provide a detailed affidavit rebutting the various allegations.  The €1.5m payment for management of the assets was "hardly surprising" given the size of the estate and the enormous variety of assets involved, he added.


In its application, NAMA wants orders removing Mrs Maye, Weaver's Hall, Foxrock, Dublin, as executrix and appointing accountant Michael McAteer of Grant Thornton as administrator.


Among several claims, NAMA alleges Mrs Maye had in March 2009, in her personal capacity rather than executrix, entered into loans with IBRC (since acquired by NAMA) under which she became jointly and severally liable on a personal basis with Joseph O'Reily and John Fitzsimons for existing Dundrum Village loans of some €228m (the Lenridge loans).


It claims Mrs Maye disputes this liability and is separately suing a firm of solicitors concerning her execution of those facilities in her personal capacity.  If she is not personally liable for those loans, that would leave the Maye estate liable for the original facilities because Liam Maye was one of the borrowers, the agency claims.


By allegedly entering into those loans in her personal capacity, Mrs Maye put at risk some €116m assets, including some  €100m cash, which passed to her by way of survivorship on her husband's death and thus fell outside his estate, NAMA claims. 


NAMA was also concerned whether it was in the best interests of the Maye estate's creditors for Mrs Maye to dispute the validity of a bid by Dundrum Town Centre co-owner Joseph O'Reilly to exercise a buy-out option.


It is also claimed an asset of €11.5m, arising from a life assurance payment triggered by the death of Mr Maye, was an asset of the estate incorrectly transferred to Mrs Maye in her personal capacity.


NAMA also alleges certain assets were transferred out of the Maye estate including Liam Maye's legal and beneficial interest in the Whitewater Shopping Centre and The Park, Carrickmines.


It also claims an approved retirement fund worth some €3.7m held by Liam Maye was transferred to Mrs Maye in June 2008.  Other concerns relate to the alleged transfer to Mrs Maye of Liam Maye's one third interest in a company owning 81 hotel suites at a hotel in Marbella, Spain; his half interest in a Marbella apartment; a bank account in Spain, a Lexus car and golf membership.


NAMA said it also understands members of the Maye family are beneficiaries of a trust into which three investments in US property syndicates, then valued at US$2.6m,  were transferred in August 2009.


It also alleges a company run by Emma Maye (a daughter of Mrs Maye) and her husband Alan Hegarty were paid some €1.4m between March 2012 and June 2011 to manage the portfolio of assets of Liam Maye.


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