A “tragic” legal dispute between two siblings about the proceeds of the 2016 sale of a Dublin hotel abruptly concluded in the High Court on Tuesday after the plaintiff apologised for bringing the case.
Patrick Fitzpatrick told the court through his barrister that he was withdrawing his €3.75 million claim against his brother, Paul Fitzpatrick.
He specifically withdrew all allegations of deceit and dishonesty against his sibling and another individual, who was not a defendant in the case, the court heard.
In those circumstances, Rossa Fanning SC said his client, Paul Fitzpatrick, was dropping his counterclaim and sought no order for his legal costs.
Mr Justice Brian Cregan struck out the proceedings.
Patrick Fitzpatrick had sued his brother alleging he held 12.5 per cent of the €30 million proceeds of the 2016 sale of the Beacon Court Hotel on trust for him under a 2011 agreement.
Paul Fitzpatrick denied all of the claims and, countering, alleged the case was frivolous and vexatious and may have been pursued “solely for the purpose of harassment”.
Earlier on Tuesday, Patrick Fitzpatrick’s counsel, Martin Hayden SC, told the court the case was a “tragic” situation for siblings to find themselves in, with allegations of blackmail made on both sides.
Outlining the case, counsel said the two brothers were among four shareholders in Pinnacle Properties Ltd, which had a 250-year lease for the Beacon Court Hotel.
In 2009, Jacati Enterprises Limited, a subsidiary of Pinnacle that operated the hotel, defaulted on its obligations to a sinking fund to Allied Irish Bank, arising out of a €14 million hotel mortgage given to a group of tax investors, the court heard.
The Pinnacle shareholders had each provided guarantees to AIB in respect of the tax investors’ liabilities under this facility, the court heard.
In 2011, Patrick Fitzpatrick and another shareholder each transferred their 12.5 per cent stake in Pinnacle, while another transferred his 25 per cent share, to Paul Fitzpatrick, who already owned half that company, Mr Hayden said.
Mr Hayden’s client claimed this was done after Paul Fitzpatrick falsely represented that AIB wanted 100 per cent of the shares to be in Paul Fitzpatrick’s name. The allegation of misrepresentation was denied.
A receiver was appointed in 2012 over the interests of Pinnacle and the group of tax investors in the hotel. The receiver sold the hotel in 2013 to Okinawa Ltd, which was set up that year by Paul Fitzpatrick and another businessman, the court heard.
In the meantime, said Mr Hayden, his client and the other two former Pinnacle shareholders went bankrupt.
In an affidavit, Paul Fitzpatrick, who lives in Beverly Hills, California, said his brother Patrick appeared to “mistakenly contend” his former 12.5 per cent interest in the company entitled him to a share of Okinawa’s 2016 sale of the hotel to the John Malone Partnership.
He said Pinnacle ceased to hold any interest in the hotel as long ago as 2013.
Patrick Fitzpatrick was due to give his evidence and be cross-examined on Tuesday afternoon. However, before the hearing resumed after lunch the judge was informed the proceedings were being withdrawn and could be struck out.
Mr Hayden said his client instructed him that he wished to withdraw the claim and was “sorry that he instructed the bringing of the proceedings”.