Former O’Flynn employees accused of secretly diverting deals
Developer alleges Patrick Cox and others concealed investment opportunities
Developer Michael O’Flynn: Senior counsel Michael Cush said that the O’Flynn group calculated that it lost €12.5 million alone from one deal involving a site on Gardiner Street, Dublin. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times
A case in which O’Flynn Construction alleges that former employee Patrick Cox and others earned profits of at least €12.5 million by secretly diverting opportunities from the developer for their own benefit is due in court next week.
Victoria Hall Management Ltd, O’Flynn Capital Partners, O’Flynn Construction and other companies in the Michael O’Flynn-led group are suing former employees Mr Cox, Liam Foley and Eoghan Kearney, along with Foley Project Management Ltd, Rockford Advisors Ltd and Carrowmore Property.
At a hearing last year relating to the case, the plaintiffs’ lawyers told the High Court that while working for the O’Flynn group, Mr Cox, who now runs property business Carrowmore, competed with his employer and concealed and diverted profitable investment opportunities for his own and others’ benefit.
Senior counsel Michael Cush said that the O’Flynn group calculated that it lost €12.5 million alone from one deal involving a site on Gardiner Street, Dublin, used for student apartments.
Mr Cox bought this and sold it on in March 2016, to part of multinational student accommodation specialist GSA, in a transaction that involved Carrowmore handling construction of the first phase of the block.
The plaintiffs maintained that this was just one example of an opportunity that Mr Cox and the others diverted for their own benefit. An affidavit from the O’Flynn group’s solicitor, Patricia O’Brien, states that the defendants actively pursued development of Gardiner Street’s second phase while still working for the organisation.
Mr Cox and the others deny the claims and intend defending the action. His lawyers told the High Court last year that a letter from an O’Flynn group company, Tiger Developments, gave Mr Cox approval to engage in real estate activities in Dublin.
Both sides differ over this letter’s standing, as Tiger Developments passed to Carbon Finance, part of multinational investor Blackstone, in a legal settlement between that business and the O’Flynn group, in 2015.
The case is expected to last for several weeks. Senior counsel Paul Sreenan and Mr Cush, along with Caren Geoghegan, will represent the O’Flynn group. Senior counsel Paul Gardiner and Paul O’Higgins, along with Marcus Dowling, will represent the defendants.