James Osborne brings proceedings against KBC

KBC was granted €6.2m judgment against businessman over Gorey Business Park

In court documents, KBC  bank said it obtained judgment from the Commercial Court last month for some €6.2 million against Mr Osborne. The bank also alleged interference by Mr Osborne with efforts by the receiver and Chartered Assets Property Management to collect rents from tenants of units in the business park.

In court documents, KBC bank said it obtained judgment from the Commercial Court last month for some €6.2 million against Mr Osborne. The bank also alleged interference by Mr Osborne with efforts by the receiver and Chartered Assets Property Management to collect rents from tenants of units in the business park.

 

A battle between a bank and a businessman over Gorey Business Park in Co Wexford has come before the Commercial Court.

James Osborne, against whom a €6.2 million judgment was granted to KBC Bank last month, has brought proceedings against the Bank; Ken Tyrell, as receiver appointed by KBC over the business park; accountancy firm Price WaterhouseCoopers; Chartered Assets Property Ltd and estate agents CBRE.

Rossa Fanning BL, for KBC and the other defendants excluding CBRE, secured orders from Mr Justice Brian McGovern on Monday for the businessman’s proceedings to be fast-tracked in the Commercial Court.

Gary Compton BL, for CBRE, said it was unclear what case was being advanced by Mr Osborne against his client and it was reserving its position, including whether the case was appropriate for admission to the Commercial Court.

Mr Fanning said the bank had sought interim orders, returnable to this week, restraining Mr Osborne interfering with Mr Tyrell as receiver of the park or with agents of the receiver.

A solicitor for Mr Osborne, Fort Road, Gorey, said his client was prepared to offer an undertaking not to interfere with the receiver and his agents.

The judge admitted the case to the Commercial list, noted the undertaking and adjourned the matter for three weeks to allow for exchange of legal documents.

Among various claims in his proceedings, Mr Osborne alleges KBC had formed an enterprise partnership with him and gave investment advice and engaged in banking practises that, he alleges, led to his suffering substantial financial loss and destruction of his equity in properties in the business park.

He also alleges breach of his rights under the Constitution and European Convention on Human Rights and is claiming damages on grounds including alleged breach of contract and negligence.

In court documents, the bank said it obtained judgment from the Commercial Court last month for some €6.2 million against Mr Osborne. The bank also alleged interference by Mr Osborne with efforts by the receiver and Chartered Assets Property Management to collect rents from tenants of units in the business park.

In the Commercial Court last month, Mr Justice Max Barrett ruled Mr Osborne, who represented himself in those proceedings, had no arguable defence to the bank’s claim for €6.2 million summary judgment over loans secured on the business park.

Mr Justice Barrett said he was mindful of the time and energy Mr Osborne had devoted over decades to the park, which employs 400 people.

KBC had granted loans on dates from 2002 related to acquisition and development of units at the business park. Some facilities were repaid and there was also agreement to restructure certain facilities.

The bank had expressed concerns including that estimated annual rental income of some €603,000 was not being paid to it despite conditions in the facility letters.

Last September, the bank formally demanded Mr Osborne immediately pay some €6.2 million. It said it took the legal action “with reluctance” when it could not reach a consensual agreement regarding Mr Osborne’s obligations to it.

Mr Osborne argued the business park is “extremely viable” with almost 100 per cent occupancy of retail units there and expressed concern the bank’s approach and plans for sale would not realise its full value.