O'Donnell action over Killiney home enters commercial list
AN ACTION by the four adult children of solicitor Brian O’Donnell aimed at preventing Bank of Ireland seizing their luxury family home in Killiney is to be fast-tracked by the Commercial Court.
According to a statement of affairs from Brian O’Donnell and his wife, Dr Mary Patricia O’Donnell, the property at Gorse Hill, Vico Road, Killiney was valued at €30 million in 2006 and was worth €6-€7 million now, Mr Justice Peter Kelly heard.
Cian Ferriter SC, for the bank, which is seeking to enforce a €71 million judgment against the couple over unpaid loans for property investments, said the property was worth between €6m and €7m even in these times and the bank was anxious that the case be heard as soon as possible.
The children’s proceedings were issued in late July, but, despite requests, the bank had not yet received a statement of claim, he said. The matter was urgent and the bank wanted it fast-tracked in the Commercial Court.
The bank may also apply to have all or parts of the claims struck out, counsel added.
Ross Maguire, for Alexandra, Blaise, Blake and Bruce O’Donnell, said they were not opposing the application for transfer and his side would deliver a statement of claim within two weeks.
Mr Justice Kelly entered the case into the Commercial Court and directed that the statement of claim must be fully particularised.
The bank, he noted, had agreed to continue its undertaking not to seek possession of the house before the matter returned to court. He also noted that the children had provided an undertaking for damages.
In their action, the O’Donnells are challenging the appointment by the bank of a receiver and manager over the Gorse Hill property on June 7th last. They are also challenging mortgages and guarantees entered into in 2006 by Vico Ltd, the Isle of Man company which owns Gorse Hill.
The bank claims the two ordinary shares in Vico Ltd appear to be held on trust for the children under a trust settlement of September 1997 created by their parents. As part of a security package for the restructuring of various loans, it claims Vico Ltd entered on June 1st, 2006 into two separate mortgages and charges in favour of Bank of Ireland over the Gorse Hill property.
Vico Ltd also entered, it is alleged, into a number of guarantees and indemnities relating to debt owed by the O’Donnell parents and that the 2006 mortgage related to all sums owed from Vico Ltd to the bank, including sums owed under guarantees.
Under a settlement of other proceedings against the couple, the bank claims Vico Ltd entered into a further guarantee and indemnity concerning the debt owed to the bank. It also claims the children signed statutory declarations confirming they had no interest in Gorse Hill other than as beneficial shareholders of Vico Ltd.
When the children previously indicated they would seek an interim court order to stop the bank seeking possession of the property, the bank told them it would not seek possession pending the hearing of the injunction application.
The motion seeking that injunction has been returned to October 22nd. In those circumstances, the bank says the matter is urgent as the children’s action prevents it taking steps to realise its alleged security over the property.
The children allege that the various mortgage deeds, guarantees and indemnities given by Vico Ltd concerning Gorse Hill in 2006 are invalid on the grounds that they were procured by “unconscionable application of undue pressure and influence and breach of trust, negligence, and breach of duty”.