Legal claim registered by Bill Cullen must be removed, High Court orders

Businessman claims an interest in Killegy House in Muckross, Killarney

Bill Cullen brought the case in relation to the ownership of Killegy House in Kerry.

Bill Cullen brought the case in relation to the ownership of Killegy House in Kerry.

 

A High Court judge has ordered that a legal claim registered by businessman Bill Cullen on a property in Co Kerry must be removed.

In proceedings against various parties including receivers appointed over some of his companies, Mr Cullen claims an interest in Killegy House, Muckross, Killarney. He has sued Glencullen Holdings Ltd; Citygate Motor Group Ltd; Glencullen Properties Ltd; and Glencullen Motor Properties Ltd, all in receivership; and insolvency practitioners Kavanagh Farrell who were appointed as receivers over the Glencullen firms’ assets.

Charge

Mr Cullen has also sued Ulster Bank Ireland DAC, which held a charge over the property arising from loans taken out with it by the Glencullen companies; and Seaconview Ltd, which was assigned the loans in 2016.

The property was subject of separate proceedings taken by Mr Cullen’s partner, Jackie Lavin, which was settled following out of court talks in 2017.

In his action, initiated in 2018, Mr Cullen seeks damages, including aggravated damages, and various declarations, for a range of alleged wrongs committed against him. He claims, under the terms of a lending agreement with Ulster Bank for refinancing the businesses he had retained a 50 per cent interest in Killegy House.

As part of his claim, he registered a notice which formally recorded the ownership of Killegy House as in dispute.

In pre-trial applications, the receivers, the Glencullen companies and Seaconview disputed that Mr Cullen has any claim to the property and argued the notice should be vacated.

Mr Cullen, in opposing the application, said he was not trying to prevent the receivers from selling the Killegy House but maintained he is entitled to 50 per cent of the proceeds of any sale. He was prepared to amend or vacate the notice if certain undertaking were given by the receivers, he indicated.

Action

The businessman also argued his claim had nothing to do with Ms Lavin’s action and rejected claims by some of the respondents that his action was not bona fide.

In a ruling on Monday, Mr Justice Senan Allen said he was satisfied to make an order vacating the notice on the ground that it was not registerable in accordance with the requirements of the 2009 Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act.

Even if Mr Cullen is successful in his main action, and is entitled to be paid money for a 50 per cent share in the property, it would be an impossible leap from that to say the businessman had a beneficial interest in Killegy House as alleged, he said. The judge was not satisfied the notice should be vacated on the ground Mr Cullen is not prosecuting his claim bona fide.

The matter will return before the court in the new year.