Land League crusader Jerry Beades racked up €16m of own debts
JERRY Beades of the New Land League organisation built up bank debts of almost €16m during his career as a developer, but he says he is in the process of appealing all of it.
Developer Mr Beades (56), who has been helping bankrupt solicitor Brian O'Donnell in his bid to stop Bank of Ireland making him vacate his former Killiney home, has had his own share of legal battles in recent years.
"I'm the most experienced lay litigant in the country," Mr Beades told the Herald last night when asked about his own battles with the banks.
The former Fianna Fail National Executive member, who was part of former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern's "Drumcondra Mafia", ran up a string of debts with four financial institutions during the Celtic Tiger years.
But Mr Beades said last night that none of the multi-million euro judgments against him were final, saying he had appealed all of them to the Supreme Court and, in some cases, to the European Court.
"I will win," he insisted when questioned about his planned appeals.
He said his own success in fending off a legal attempt to make him bankrupt led to his involvement and friendship with embattled solicitor Brian O'Donnell.
He said Mr O'Donnell has accepted "a lot of defence information" from the New Land League organisation as he battles to prevent efforts by Bank of Ireland to make him vacate the Gorse Hill mansion in Killiney.
The New Land League has been in contact with 5,000 to 7,000 people around Ireland who have had difficulties with banks including doctors, dentists, farmers, builders and others, Mr Beades said.
The league is a support group that pools information and operates "a buddy system" for those in legal battles with the banks, he said.
Read more here: O'Donnells 'drained and battered' but fight goes on
Mr Beades became well-known for his legal crusade against financial institutions where he represented himself in court and enjoyed some victories in the midst of banks securing large cash judgments against him.
He fought a lengthy legal battle with ACC Bank over €6.27m of loans it extended to him and a company, Fairlee Properties, where he was a director.
In 2009 a High Court judge ruled that the bank was liable for more than €4.76m damages to Mr Beades due to losses suffered by him due to the bank's negligence after it lost title deeds to some of his properties.
Mr Beade's debt to the bank was reduced to €1.5m as a result, but there were further legal proceedings as he failed to pay it. In May 2012 he successfully batted the bankruptcy petition taken against him by ACC after a judge accepted his application that paperwork accompanying the bank's claim was faulty.
In July 2012, Bank of Scotland secured judgment orders for €9.6m against Mr Beades in relation to loans to a plan to build apartments at Richmond Avenue, north Dublin.
Four loans extended between 2005 and 2008 were to be repaid with the proceeds of the sale of the apartments.
"I would have finished the apartments in Richmond Avenue if the bank had given me another €2m that I needed to complete the job. The apartments could then have been sold," he claimed last night.
He said he stopped work on the apartments in 2009 as "it made no sense to continue".
The following year the High Court found that Ulster Bank was entitled to summary judgment for €3.5m against Mr Beades.
Then in 2014 he lost a claim that IIB Bank was not entitled to repossess two commercial properties from him after he defaulted on a €1.15m mortgage.
Last night Mr Beades made a number of highly critical statements about the legal profession, members of the judiciary and the courts system.
He declined to speak about other leaders of the New Land League, saying he was its spokesman and "I do what I'm told".
"When it comes to protests and evictions, I'm centre stage," he said defiantly.
The Dubliner, who is married with three college-going children, spends a considerable amount of time travelling around Ireland addressing New Land League public meetings.
"I organised a bus recently so we could travel to protest outside the Labour Party conference in Kerry," he said.
He said he also works in the Middle East where he is employed as the chief executive of a company.
The New Land League has a sister organisation called The Hub which operates its own website.
Mr Beades was at the gate of Gorse Hill in Killiney on Wednesday when broadcaster Vincent Brown brushed past New Land League members to enter the property in an attempt to interview Mr O'Donnell in the house.
He later faced off with the veteran broadcaster on TV3, with Browne telling the New Land League member live on air to "shut up" on numerous occasions.
Mr Beades told Brown that Gorse Hill is a "bog standard house".