Dunne acting in ‘bad faith’ with US bankruptcy dismissal bid
Nama claims developer seeking to pull case over failure to produce financial records
Sean Dunne: has sought to withdraw his US bankruptcy case on the basis that he has also been adjudicated a bankrupt in Ireland and that creditors would be adequately protected in the Irish bankruptcy alone. Photograph: Steve Miller
Property developer Sean Dunne shouldn’t be allowed to withdraw his US bankruptcy petition because he only applied to pull the case when he was on verge of a court ruling on his failure to produce financial records, the National Asset Management Agency has argued.
In an objection to Mr Dunne’s bid to dismiss his US bankruptcy case, Nama, one of his largest creditors, has told the Connecticut bankruptcy case in a fresh court filing that the developer’s motion was filed “in bad faith” and that a dismissal would prejudice his creditors.
Mr Dunne has sought to withdraw his US bankruptcy case on the basis that he has also been adjudicated a bankrupt in Ireland and that creditors would be adequately protected in the Irish bankruptcy alone.
US lawyers acting for Nama outlined to the court that the State loans agency, which has a judgment of €185 million against Mr Dunne, has repeatedly tried to discover information from him and his wife.
They told the court that the agency had obtained an order in a Connecticut state court action, compelling companies controlled by his wife, Gayle Killilea Dunne, to hand over evidence just a week before he filed for bankruptcy in the US in March 2013.
Since Nama brought a challenge in his US bankruptcy case seeking to stop him walking away from debts of $942 million (€700 million) in July 2013, its lawyers said that it has vigorously sought discovery from Mr Dunne and that his bankruptcy trustee has filed three motions to compel him to hand over information, including a request that he be held in civil contempt.
“Throughout this case and the state court action, the debtor and his wife have attempted to frustrate, thwart and obstruct inquiry into their financial and business affairs by NALM [a Nama subsidiary] and the trustee.”
The State loans agency said that it was forced to file motion to compel notices because of Mr Dunne’s “repeated intransigence” in the discovery of information.
Ms Killilea Dunne was accused by Nama of obstructing all efforts to obtain discovery from third parties. She has cited privacy reasons for objecting to information being sought from her bank, property agent and other parties.
Nama told the court the trustee, bankruptcy lawyer Richard Coan, had indicated that there was a likelihood that he would bring a legal action against the couple to recover fraudently transferred assets.
Mr Coan asked the court yesterday for more time, up to October 16th, to respond to Mr Dunne’s application to dismiss his case. The issue is due to go to trial on December 3rd.