Monday 20 January 2020

McNamara's tangled web of liabilities and assets

The exclusive Urbanizacion Ancon Playa where the McNamaras have a
2,900 sq ft villa.
The exclusive Urbanizacion Ancon Playa where the McNamaras have a 2,900 sq ft villa.

Two months after a €62.5m judgment was secured against the developer, the review of his assets has gone global, writes Ronald Quinlan in Dublin and Gerard Couzens in Marbella

'Everything I have had since I was a young fella is being put on the line. I'm not running anywhere. I'll stand here and face whatever music there is."

So said Bernard McNamara last January when a group of Davy investors secured a record personal judgment for €62.5m against him.

Two months on, however, it's still unclear just what the Clare-born developer owns.

So complex are Mr McNamara's affairs in fact, his senior counsel, John Gordon, told the Commercial Court last Monday that it would be impossible to outline the value of all his assets and liabilities.

But however difficult the task might be for Bernard McNamara, it won't prevent the Davy investors -- who include former AIB chairman Lochlann Quinn and Glen Dimplex founder Martin Naughton -- from carrying out investigations of their own as they seek to recover the millions owed to them.

And while the developer himself has already conceded that his palatial home on Ailesbury Road might have to go under the hammer to help satisfy the Davy investors, it is understood their review of saleable assets has already gone global.

Today, the Sunday Independent can reveal that records held at the Spanish Land Registry show that Mr McNamara and his wife, Moira, own no less than three luxurious properties in the exclusive resort of Marbella rather than the single villa attributed to them in the media over the years.

Interestingly, the most substantial of these -- a 4,050 sq ft villa in the Urbanizacion Ancon Playa almost directly opposite the Saudi Royal Family's holiday home on Marbella's Golden Mile -- was purchased in Mrs McNamara's name alone in February 2007, a factor which could hinder efforts by her husband's creditors to recover monies owed to them through a forced sale of the property which is worth in the region of €3.5m.

Official documents record the McNamaras' acquisition of two other properties in Marbella in 1999.

The more substantial of these is the couple's 2,900 sq ft villa in El Ancon Sierra within the prestigious Lomas Del Marbella Club. Set on a plot of over 3,800 sq ft, the developer's original Spanish retreat is located within the so-called Golden Mile, within walking distance of the famous Puente Romano Hotel.

While it is understood that the McNamaras' visits to the property -- estimated to be worth in the region of €1.5m in the current market -- have become less frequent over the past number of years, 'community payments' or management fees on the villa are up-to-date, according to informed sources at the development.

Such is the El Ancon Sierra's exclusivity, annual fees for the upkeep of its facilities run to €8,000 per unit a year.

According to official records, the McNamaras took out a mortgage for €600,000 on the property on December 20, 2007, with Barclays Bank.

In July 1999, the developer and his wife also purchased a 2,100 sq ft apartment in the Don Gonzalo development in Arturo Rubenstein Street.

Situated within a two-minute walk of the Marbella seafront, the McNamaras' apartment at the Don Gonzalo -- worth in the region of €1.8m according to local real estate experts -- is understood to have been used on a regular basis by Mr McNamara up until late 2007.

Unfortunately for the Davy investors, however, a lien for €388,300 hangs over the property's title, along with two mortgages from Barclays Bank for €1,293,830 and €18,500 taken in December 2007.

In the case of the larger amount, the mortgage is secured against the apartment itself, while the lesser sum is secured against the property's accompanying parking space.

Official records relating to the lien show that it arises from a dispute in 2005 which saw Mr McNamara become embroiled in a legal battle with a local building contractor in relation to work carried out on his behalf at a property called the Villa Magna in nearby Puente Romano.

The records show how Mr McNamara took a case against a company called Marbetxsa SL.

According to the files, the Clare builder sued the firm, claiming they owed him €232,000 after he made an additional payment to them in error.

Marbetxsa counter-sued, claiming he owed them an additional €298,000 on top of the €298,000 he had already paid them.

Ultimately, the judge in the case ruled in favour of Marbetxsa, ordering Mr McNamara to pay the €298,000 as well as the court costs.

It is understood that the developer's lawyers have since lodged an appeal in the case. In the meantime, however, an embargo for €388,300 remains attached to Mr McNamara and his wife's apartment at the Don Gonzalo development in favour of Marbetxsa SL pending a final outcome to the matter.

Further inspection of the Spanish Land Registry files shows 2007 to have been a particularly busy year for the McNamaras in Spain.

In February of that year, Moira McNamara purchased a 4,050 sq ft villa -- worth in the region of €3.5m -- in her name alone at the much sought after Urbanizacion Ancon Playa right next to Marbella's Golden Mile and almost directly opposite the Saudi Royal Family's holiday home.

In December 2007, Mrs McNamara took a mortgage for €2.835m against the Ancion Playa villa with Barclays Bank, according to official records.

The details of the McNamaras' Spanish residences published here today will provide little comfort to the Davy investors pursuing the developer for the €62.5m he borrowed from them to invest in the Irish Glass Bottle site in Ringsend.

With all three properties mortgaged to the tune of millions of euro with the UK-based Barclays Bank at the peak of the Spanish property market, the prospect of recovering a substantial sum from their sale at a time when prices are in freefall would appear to be remote at best.

And Bernard McNamara isn't the only Irish developer featuring prominently in the names held at the Spanish Land Registry.

According to the files, Menolly Homes chief Seamus Ross and his wife Moira jointly own a sprawling 5,700 sq ft villa and 800 sq ft guest residence in the exclusive gated community of Las Parcelas de Golf in Nueva Andalucia just outside Puerto Banus.

Documents relating to the property show the Drumlish, Co Longford-born builder and his wife took out a mortgage for €5.1m against the property with Barclays Bank in July 2008.

Back in Marbella meanwhile, Glenkerrin Homes boss Ray Grehan has a duplex apartment in the Urbanizacion El Presidente. Purchased in 1990, the property extends to some 2,200 sq ft, according to Spanish Land Registry records.

Sunday Independent

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