Philip Marley fights court bid to make him bankrupt
Ely Properties founder disputes petition 'as matter of principle'
A BID is being made to have well-known businessman Philip Marley declared a bankrupt.
Malachy Stephens wants Mr Marley, the founder of Ely Properties, to be adjudicated a bankrupt due to Mr Marley's failure to satisfy a judgment for €37,142 obtained against the businessman at Dublin Circuit Court in July 2011.
In proceedings before the High Court, Mr Marley has also applied to have the bid to adjudicate him bankrupt struck out.
He disputes the debt claimed and also says that his main centre of business interest is outside the jurisdiction.
The court heard in 2004 Mr Stephens leased an apartment he owned to a company of Mr Marley's, Student Accommodation Services in Dublin 1 for a term of 10 years.
The annual rent on the apartment was €15,000 per year.
However, in 2009 Mr Stephens said that he had only received half the rent due between March-June of that year, and received no payments from August of that year.
Mr Stephens, of Presentation House, Harbour Street, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, sued Mr Marley over personal guarantees given by Mr Marley. Mr Marley had guaranteed the performance of the company's obligations to the landlords.
He claims Mr Marley is domiciled in Ireland and that either he or his company had withheld rents that were due and owing to him.
He obtained a judgment against Mr Marley and, in light of his failure to satisfy that demand, wants the court to adjudge him as being bankrupt.
Yesterday, Mr Marley denied he resides in Ireland or that he conducts business from here.
Mr Marley said he left Ireland in 2010 because he "could not make any money here," following the collapse of the property market.
He said his business interests were London, where he lives with his girlfriend and business partner – US reality TV star Dana Wilkey.
He said that he also spends time in Gibraltar and in the US. He said he spends just a few days in Ireland per month to visit his children and stays "in the Shelbourne Hotel".
He was unsure as to exactly how much time he spent in each location. He said he would need his PA to provide him with that sort of information because he was just "that kind of a guy".
Mr Marley said there was "no debt" owing to Mr Stephens, and that he had come to court in Ireland to oppose the petition as "a matter of principle".
He said in 2012 he negotiated a deal with Mr Stephens after entering into an Individual Voluntary Arrangement in the UK so that Mr Stephens could recoup some funds.
While Mr Stephens claims that it was never a term of that deal that Mr Marley be released from his guarantee, Mr Marley said the deal extinguished any personal guarantee debt he had to Mr Stephens.
Mr Marley also told the court that he had subsequently left Space Student Living, which was wound up earlier this year, following disagreements with other parties in the firm.
The case continues.