Monday 22 January 2018

Racecourse sports club breached mediation deal

Aodhan O'Faolain and  Ray Managh

THE operator of a sports club at Leopardstown racecourse breached a mediation agreement designed to settle a long-running row with the racecourse owners, the High Court ruled.

Mr Justice Peter Charleton held Templeville Developments, whose principal is businessman Philip Smyth, had demonstrated "no commitment" to the mediated settlement agreement.

Mr Smyth must pay the racecourse owners – who the judge said were deprived of substantial monies for unpaid rent and other charges – a total of €1.5m, while Templeville must pay €2.18m.

Templeville, under the direction of Mr Smyth, had stirred up resentment in the misplaced belief it could provide evidence of a serious breach of contract in a later legal case, he said.

Templeville has tennis courts and a soccer pitch in two huge inflatable domes on the racecourse as part of its Westwood gym and fitness centre.

The racetrack owners and operators, Leopardstown Club Ltd, brought the action arising out of alleged repudiation of the settlement agreement made in October 2011 by Templeville and Mr Smyth.

However, the racecourse owners claimed Mr Smyth acted in bad faith in regards to the agreement almost from the outset.

Mr Smyth denied the claims and argued he was induced into the settlement on the basis of misrepresentation by the racecourse operators.

Mr Justice Charleton said this was a case involving "neighbours who do not get along" in "a dispute that continued over decades".

The judge said there was no evidence of misbehaviour by Leopardstown.

The judge said he would not make an order for forfeiture of the lease if certain steps were taken.

The judge said Templeville must be restructured and at least two new directors brought in. He adjourned the matter until a date in mid-October.

Irish Independent

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