Thursday 22 March 2018

New CRC chief executive owed €9m to two banks

Jim Nugent, acting chief executive of CRC
Jim Nugent, acting chief executive of CRC
EYE OF THE STORM: The Central Remedial Clinic in Clontarf, Dublin

THE new acting chief executive of the troubled Central Remedial Clinic (CRC), who famously gave a "dig-out" to former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, was sued for almost €9m by two banks.

The Irish Independent has learnt that Danske Bank has registered a judgment mortgage on the home of Jim Nugent, who this week assumed the chief executive role at the CRC on an interim basis.

Mr Nugent, who is also chairman of the 62-year-old group, which supports people with disabilities, was appointed interim CEO following the shock resignation of its recently appointed chief executive Brian Conlan in the wake of the top-ups controversy.

Two years ago, Danske Bank, trading as National Irish Bank, sued Mr Nugent for a debt of almost €8.5m in the High Court.

The court ruled in favour of Danske last February in the Master's Court.

In May, the Danish lender took out a judgment mortgage on Mr Nugent's home on Anglesea Road in the upmarket Ballsbridge area of Dublin.

Mr Nugent was also sued for almost €300,000 by Bank of Scotland (Ireland) and that lender executed a judgment mortgage against Mr Nugent last year, according to the website of the Courts Service.

Mr Nugent owns his Anglesea Road apartment with his wife, Mary T Monaghan, also known as Mary Nugent.

It is not clear whether Mr Nugent's debts have been satisfied.

There was no answer at the address when the Irish Independent called yesterday afternoon.

Mr Nugent did not return calls or reply to text messages to his mobile last night seeking comment in relation to the judgments.

A spokesman for the CRC confirmed a query on the matter had been passed on to the CRC board and Mr Nugent "for consideration", but did not have any further comment last night.

Mr Nugent has taken the reins of the organisation following the shock resignation of its recently appointed chief executive Brian Conlan in the wake of the top-ups controversy.

Mr Conlan, who was on the CRC's board of directors for nine years, will now avoid a grilling by politicians at the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to be held today.

The recruitment of Mr Conlan is to be investigated by the Government's spending watchdog.

Mr Conlan, who quit the post following revelations the organisation used charitable donations to fund executive bonuses, may yet be compelled to appear before the PAC.

He previously refused to accept calls to be questioned.

PAC chairman John McGuinness said that Mr Conlan's appointment, which was made with no consultation with the Health Service Executive (HSE), needs to be examined.

“This recruitment was not carried out in conjunction with the HSE and, in fact, the HSE was forced to issue two performance notices to the CRC in order that it would be furnished with details of the recruitment and the proposed appointment,” Mr McGuinness said.

“Contrary to public requirements, the appointment was not advertised externally and the resulting appointment was of a former board member,” he said.

Mr Conlan, who claimed yesterday that he was on holiday when the scandal emerged, had only been in the post since the summer.

He insisted his own pay was within health service guidelines and that he would not appear before PAC.

Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin has since urged him to address the committee.

Earlier this week, Mr Nugent said the board of directors would not be resigning over the top-ups controversy and had done nothing to warrant stepping down.

Mr Nugent was a key member of the “Drumcondra mafia” who were close to former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

He told the Mahon Tribunal that he gave the former Taoiseach €2,500.

Dearbhail McDonald and Cormac Quinn

Irish Independent

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