One More Thing: Investors still in the rough over Oceanico golf course development

Last year’s Portugal Masters at the Oceanico Victoria Golf Course. photograph: dean mouhtaropoulos/getty images

Last year’s Portugal Masters at the Oceanico Victoria Golf Course. photograph: dean mouhtaropoulos/getty images

Fri, Jan 17, 2014, 01:08

The row over Gerry Fagan’s Oceanico Developments alleged stiffing of a number of Irish and UK investors over a US golf property time-share development has been elevated to an international incident.

A group of about 38 property investors, comprising 24 different contracts, invested up to $150,000 each in 2008 in a proposed development by the Portuguese-based Oceanico at Little River golf course in North Carolina.

Nothing was ever built. The mostly UK-based investors who comprise the Little River Victims (LRV) group, claim they have been given the runaround since by Oceanico and Nama, which owns the developer’s loans and ostensibly must have some control over it.

Nama, however, claims it is the company’s responsibility to refund the investors and maintains it is “just Oceanico’s secured creditor”. But Oceanico has told the investors it can’t refund them without Nama approval. Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has told LRV that he cannot intervene.

Gerry Purdy, a Dublin-born, UK-based doctor last month marshalled his fellow LRV members to contact a gaggle of British MPs asking them to raise the issue with the Government and Nama.

At least five, including Lib Dem MP Greg Mulholland, have taken up a cudgel on their behalf.

“Malevolent Catch 22”
Purdy told me yesterday that Noonan has performed a “Pontius Pilate” manoeuvre over the issue. “Nama blames Oceanico, which blames Nama, while Noonan says he has no control. We are in a malevolent Catch 22.”

Oceanico also hosts the Portuguese Masters at one of its golf courses on the Algarve. Purdy last month also wrote to every member of the European Tour Committee, including Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley, to tell them about their alleged treatment at the hands of the tour’s partner, Oceanico.

Perhaps Nama should give the investors, who feel they have been let down by Oceanico, a mulligan.

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