A company that manages an apartment complex in central Dublin has brought High Court proceedings aimed at securing the return of more than €115,000 it claims was misappropriated by a former director.
The action has been brought by Hyde Court Property Company Owners Management Company Ltd, which manages the Hyde Court apartment complex at Townsend Street, Dublin 2, against Michael Noonan, who was removed as a director from the firm in 2016.
It is claimed the money was taken from the company’s account by Mr Noonan for his own personal use on dates between July and August 2016.
The court heard that arising out of a Garda investigation and criminal prosecution into the complaints about the misappropriation of the money, Mr Noonan is due to be sentenced next week by the Circuit Criminal Court after he pleaded guilty to offences including theft and false accounting.
Arising out of the firm’s complaint to gardaí, and the subsequent criminal investigation, money in an AIB bank account allegedly controlled by the defendant was frozen by an order of the court made in 2021.
It was claimed the bulk of the money allegedly misappropriated was lodged to this bank account.
At the High Court on Friday the company secured a temporary injunction from Mr Justice Brian O’Moore preventing Mr Noonan or anyone else who has knowledge of the order from dealing with, reducing or transferring the money held in the bank account.
Mr Noonan, with addresses at Kennington Road, in Dublin 6W, and Muckross Park, Perrystown, Dublin 12, was not present in court when the application was made.
Niall Buckley BL, for the company, said his client made a complaint to gardaí in 2016 after it discovered that several cheques were drawn from the management firm’s account.
Mr Noonan was then removed as a director of the company shortly after the alleged misappropriation came to light.
In addition to the criminal proceedings before the Circuit Criminal Court, counsel said, the company brought civil proceedings against Mr Noonan seeking restitution of €115,000 and damages for Mr Noonan’s alleged breach of duty.
Counsel said his client had hoped the money would be transferred back to it by Mr Noonan after he pleaded guilty to three offences.
There had been some communication with the defendant and a promise by Mr Noonan that the money in the account would be given to the plaintiff company.
However, no formal steps had been taken by the defendant to authorise the transfer of the money, counsel said.
The defendant also proved difficult to contact, and to serve legal documents on, counsel said.
Counsel said his client was concerned because the 2021 freezing order was due to expire once the criminal proceedings came to an end when Mr Noonan was sentenced next week, and the criminal court had said it was going to deal only with the issue of sentencing.
Counsel accepted the matter could be resolved quite quickly but said, given the past history of the matter, there was a complete breakdown in trust.
Mr Justice O’Moore said he was satisfied to grant the company a temporary injunction, on an ex parte basis, against the defendant in respect of the bank account.
Given the history of the interactions between the parties, the judge said the granting of such an order was “prudent in the circumstances”.
The judge made the matter returnable to a date early next week and added that the court was quite conscious that Mr Noonan may take steps to complete the transfer within the next few days.