Sunday 25 February 2018

O'Donnell tried to buy 'unluckiest' house for €22m

Brian O'Donnell arriving at the Banking Inquiry at Leinster House
Brian O'Donnell arriving at the Banking Inquiry at Leinster House

Tim Healy

A house on the market for a "modest" €12m, after a planned €22m sale to retired solicitor Brian O'Donnell did not proceed, was described as the "unluckiest" house in the country.

Number One Sorrento Terrace, Dalkey, has been involved in eight legal cases in a decade and was described by barrister Rossa Fanning as the unluckiest house in Ireland.

The latest set of proceedings over the house have been brought against solicitors A & L Goodbody alleging professional negligence in relation to its handling of litigation and insurance issues, said Mr Fanning for the law firm. There is a "full defence" to those claims, he said.

The proceedings have been brought by Terry Coleman, his wife Anita, and a company registered in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), Agulhas Resources Inc. In court documents, it was stated Agulhas is a nominee of a discretionary trust based in the BVI which owns the property, having bought it for €5.9m in 1998. It was stated the Colemans are beneficiaries of the trust.

Among the claims against the law firm is that an alleged failure to ensure certain litigation concerning the property was finalised by 2009 meant the planned sale to Mr O'Donnell did not proceed.

Mr Fanning said this essentially amounted to a claim a sale was lost "at the top of the market". But his side rejected that on grounds including Mr O'Donnell would not have been in a position to close the 2009 sale due to financial difficulties.

The house is now on sale for a "modest" €12m, counsel added.

A & L Goodbody denies any negligence and is counter-claiming for €237,000 legal fees allegedly due for work done between 2006 and 2011.

The matter was adjourned to July at the High Court.

Irish Independent

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