Monday 23 October 2017

Revealed: Tom McFeely's €2.5m villa in the Algarve

Interior of Tom McFeely's Algarve villa. Photo: Ger Couzens
Interior of Tom McFeely's Algarve villa. Photo: Ger Couzens
The swimming pool at Tom McFeely's Algarve villa. Photo: Ger Couzens

Dearbhail McDonald and Gerard Couzens

PRIORY Hall builder Tom McFeely has a secret villa in the Algarve. And the "millionaire row" property, which he did not declare as part of his UK bankruptcy, is up for sale with a €2.5m price tag.

Last night Mr McFeely's UK bankruptcy bid was overturned for a second time by a judge in London -- paving the way for him to be bankrupted here.

This means he faces the prospect of 12 years of having his finances supervised by the courts -- in contrast to just 12 months in the UK.

The Irish Independent has learned that Mr McFeely, who left residents of the condemned Dublin apartment complex stranded after it was shut down over fire safety concerns, is trying to sell his villa in upmarket Quinta do Lago for at least €2.5m.

Mr McFeely did not declare the villa as part of his UK bankruptcy bids and insists that he does not own any foreign properties.

But Portuguese title deeds show that Mr McFeely and his American-born wife Nina Lynn Kessler bought the "monster villa", mortgage free, in 2007 and each have a 50pc interest in the home.

Two years later the couple took out a €2.4m loan on the property, as Mr McFeely's construction empire unravelled.

The three-storey, six bedroomed villa, surveyed by the Irish Independent, sports an indoor squash court and swimming pool. But the stripped out, abandoned villa is now lying in ruins.

The €2.5m price tag for the villa is "non negotiable" and the tax authorities in Portugal have put a claim on the property for non-payment of rates totalling €9,000.

Even if the villa is sold, Irish creditors of the former hunger striker will lose out as most of the proceeds will be used to pay off the mortgage.

Mr McFeely's villa is in a poor state of repair and all fittings, including the original staircase, have been removed.

Rotting

A UK-registered BMW is rotting in the garage and local contractors estimate that it could cost more than €200,000 to make the villa habitable again.

In a statement of affairs filed in the UK courts, Mr McFeely lists as number of properties that he owns -- but denies owning any overseas properties.

Mr McFeely did not respond to queries by the Irish Independent to confirm whether he had transferred any overseas properties to off-shore companies or trusts.

The developer claims to pay rent on an apartment block in the UK that he developed to an Isle of Man registered entity.

Last January, Mr McFeely successfully applied for bankruptcy in the UK, where borrowers can emerge debt free within a year compared up to 12 years in Ireland.

In court papers lodged in London, Mr McFeely said he owes the Revenue Commissioners more than €500,000 -- but has less than €6,000 in hard cash to pay his creditors back.

The ex-Republican said he has only:

• £1,000 (€1,280) in cash.

• £600 (€768) in an AIB bank account in London.

• £3,000 (€3,840) in an RBS bank account in Birmingham.

• £300 (€384) in a Halifax bank account in Edinburgh.

• No pension.

• No car.

• No savings.

British court officials, who have spent more than an estimated €190,000 investigating Mr McFeely, wanted to reinstate him as a bankrupt because they believe he committed certain offences under that country's bankruptcy laws.

It is understood that court officials are examining whether Mr McFeely continued to receive rents from properties in the UK when he was protected from his creditors before his bankruptcy was rescinded.

The bankruptcy order was rescinded because Mr McFeely did not disclose that he was already involved in bankruptcy litigation in Ireland and it was rejected for a second time yesterday.

Irish Independent

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