Law firm quits Nama role over link to failed property firm

 

A LIMERICK law firm has withdrawn from a panel of solicitors selected by the National Asset Management Agency (Nama) to provide it with legal services over the involvement of a number of its partners in a failed property company.

Dermot G O’Donovan Partners notified Nama this week that it was withdrawing from the panel of 65 law firms as a result of the involvement of several partners at the practice in the Fordmount Property Group, which owes about €160 million to Anglo Irish Bank.

The State-owned bank appointed a receiver, Billy O’Riordan of PricewaterhouseCoopers, to the firm in an attempt to recover the loans. Anglo’s loans to Fordmount may be transferred to Nama over the coming months.

Dermot G O’Donovan Partners did not return calls seeking comment yesterday evening.

However, the practice confirmed in a statement to the Limerick Leader newspaper that it had withdrawn from Nama’s panel of firms providing legal services in the acquisition of bank assets.

The law practice said that Nama’s work “cannot be in any way distracted by matters of public debate” and that the firm had taken “this heavy decision”.

The withdrawal came just days after the firm issued a public statement insisting that there was “no conflict of interest” in the firm’s appointment to the Nama panel.

The issue was the subject of debate on RTÉ’s Joe Duffy Showlast Monday when Limerick builder Seoirse Clancy contacted the programme to claim he was owed €1 million by the group.

Fordmount developed the Riverpoint building in Limerick, the city’s highest building in which the offices of Dermot G O’Donovan Partners are located.

The company was managed by accountant Michael Daly until his departure last June. Mr Daly owned 50 per cent of the company with the remaining shares split equally between Dermot G O’Donovan, Michael Sherry, Adrian Frawley and Tommy Dalton, who are all listed as partners of the law firm on its website.

Mr Frawley took over the management of the group after Mr Daly left the company last year.

Mr Frawley and Mr Sherry are listed as directors of Fordmount, according to company records.

The company was behind other prominent developments in Limerick including the Savoy Hotel and The Park Nursing Home in Castletroy on the Dublin Road, and the redevelopment of Bedford Row in the city centre.

The company owns about 35 apartments in the Riverpoint building, 75 apartments in the Savoy building and some 100 retirement units and a number of office buildings in Castletroy.