THE WELL-KNOWN Dublin city centre pub, Conway's of Parnell Street, which closed last February after losing its licence and which a developer has offered to buy for €4 million, is at the centre of a legal dispute.
Mr Justice Peter Kelly yesterday admitted the dispute, between the owners of the pub and its former manager, to the list of the Commercial Court.
The former manager claims he was a partner in the pub and holds a beneficial interest in the premises.
The judge was also told by Una Tighe, for Permanent TSB, that it has charges over the premises and has drafted proceedings which it wants heard in tandem with the other proceedings.
In the first set of proceedings, Edward O'Donoghue and Philip Mahon say they are the legal owners of the pub and that Daniel Ryan, its former manager, is claiming to have a one-third beneficial interest in the pub and to have had a partnership agreement with them regarding its operation.
Mr Ryan was also claiming that he sought to buy the pub from the defendants but was unable to raise the necessary finance.
Mr Ryan claimed the defendants had not provided him with the information necessary for him to raise the finance.
The pub is mortgaged to Permanent TSB on the basis of loan facilities secured on another property owned by the defendants, Ramsbottom's pub in Portlaoise, Co Laois.
The defendants had further mortgaged Conway's to secure their debts relating to another bar on Parnell Street, Dublin, the Parnell Mooney, and Mr Ryan claims they acted wrongfully in doing so.
The defendants believe the value of the premises is some €3 million on the open market but say they had agreed for its sale for a special price of €4 million to the development company, Chartered Land.
This was because the premises was of special value to Chartered Land as the site was adjacent to a collection of sites in the O'Connell Street and Parnell Street area which Chartered Land was assembling for development purposes, they said.
However, Mr Ryan had lodged a lis pendens (legal objection) over the premises and the defendants said they are concerned this may frustrate the proposed sale. Even if Mr Ryan is found to hold a one-third interest, this would not empower him to prevent the sale, they claim.
The defendants say they want the sale to proceed and that the amount, following deduction of the mortgage on Conway's pub and the costs of sale, should be lodged in a deposit account with Permanent TSB until further order of the court.