Galway couple consent to €3.4m judgment over non-repayment of loans
Dr Michael and Sally Casey also facing allegations of transferring land fraudulently
Ennis Property Dac secured the judgment this week over loans used to buy a nursing home in Co Galway
A couple have consented to a €3.4 million judgment against them over failure to repay loans used to acquire a nursing home in Co Galway and other assets.
In separate but related proceedings, the fund and a receiver appointed by it over the home, David O’Connor of BDO, have alleged the couple engaged in fraudulent transfers of lands adjoining the nursing home designed to defraud their creditors.
Proceedings have also been brought against solicitor Niall Finnegan in his capacity as the apparent trustee of the investor, Jim Egan, of Ballagh, Bushy Park, Galway, the alleged beneficial owner of the lands.
Both actions were admitted to the Commercial Court this week by Mr Justice Brian McGovern.
In its first action, Ennis sought judgment against the Caseys over funds borrowed from Bank of Scotland between 2003 and 2017. The monies were used to build a 52-bed nursing home in Carna, Co Galway, acquire a medical centre at Doughiska, Co Galway, and to invest in a German property fund.
Ennis acquired the loans from Bank of Scotland in 2015 and later made a demand for repayment of €3.4 million which it said remains due and owing to it. When the demand was not satisfied, it initiated proceedings.
Ennis said, after it failed to reach an agreement with the Caseys over selling the nursing home, it appointed Mr O’Connor as a receiver in April.
When the judgment matter came before Mr Justice Brian McGovern, lawyers for the couple said their clients were consenting to the judgment.
The separate, related proceedings involve claims certain transactions of lands around the nursing home are null and void.
Ennis and Mr O’Connor, represented by Rossa Fanning SC and Stephen Byrne BL, claim the transactions entered into in 2015, which involved sale of lands to an investor, Jim Egan, Ballagh, Bushy Park, Galway, have had a prejudicial effect on Ennis’s security.
Mr Fanning said the transactions effectively landlock the nursing home and involve a right of way and a wayleave agreement containing onerous and restrictive obligations affecting the nursing home.
It is claimed the Caseys transferred the land for €150,000 but, as part of the deal, committed to pay for a wayleave agreement relating to wastewater that was almost twice that amount over five years.
The agreement made no commercial sense at all, counsel said.
Ennis did not know the identity of the beneficial owner, Mr Egan, until the case came before the court, he added.
Those proceedings were brought against the couple and solicitor Niall Finnegan, of the firm Brannigan, Cosgrove, Finnegan, Dublin 4, in his capacity as apparent trustee of Mr Egan.
Martin Hayden SC, for Mr Finnegan, said because the solicitor had only acted in trust for Mr Egan, he should not be a defendant and Mr Egan should be substituted for him. Counsel also argued the case should not be fast-tracked due to alleged delay by the fund.
In a sworn statement, Mr Egan said he had instructed Mr Finnegan not to disclose his name to the plaintiffs and said his own name should be substituted in the proceedings for Mr Finnegan’s who had “simply provided conveyancing services”.
The judge, in admitting the case to the Commercial Court list after rejecting the delay complaint, agreed to add Mr Egan as a defendant to the action. Any application by Mr Finnegan to be let out of the case could be made at a later date when the action returns before the court, he said.