The National Assets Management Agency, in the first application of its kind before the Commercial Court, is seeking orders removing the widow of developer Liam Maye as executor of his estate and replacing her with an administrator chosen by it or the court.
Nama, owed €649 million arising from various loans to Mr Maye, who died in 2008, is concerned assets worth millions of euro, including properties, a retirement fund, a Lexus car and golf membership have been transferred out of his estate to his widow Anne Maye and other family members or connected parties.
It says Mr Maye was an extremely wealthy developer involved in projects including Dundrum Town Centre and Dundrum Village, the Whitewater Shoppinng centre in Newbridge and Adamstown and it is concerned its rights as a secured creditor are being adversely affected.
Mrs Maye and those advising her appear to believe the estate can continue to be managed “as if it is a private family concern” without regard to its creditors, it said.
It claims the estate of Mr Maye is insolvent with €649 million liabilities to Nama over estate managed assets valued for Nama at some €205 million in 2009. It has made what Mr Justice Peter Kelly described as "very serious" allegations about the conduct of the administration of the estate.
Agreeing to fast-track the case, Mr Justice Kelly said there was hundreds of millions of euro involved although the estate was previously valued, when a grant of probate was being sought a month after Mr Maye’s death, at some €72,000.
Declan McGrath SC, for Mrs Maye, said the probate matter had been explained to Nama and his side needed time to provide a detailed affidavit rebutting the various allegations. The €1.5 million payment for management of the assets was “hardly surprising” given the size of the estate and the enormous variety of assets involved, he added.
In the first application of its kind under the Succession Act, Nama wants orders removing Mrs Maye, Weaver's Hall, Foxrock, Dublin, as executrix and appointing accountant Michael McAteer of Grant Thornton as administrator.
Mr Justice Kelly queried, given the seriousness of the claims made, why Nama was consenting to allow the defendant until September 27th to file a replying affidavit. Michael Howard SC, for Nama, said there had been efforts to address the matter consensually and Nama was waiting to see what stance would be adopted by Mrs Maye to its application.
Among several claims, Nama alleges Mrs Maye had in March 2009, in her personal capacity rather than executrix, entered into loans with IBRC (since acquired by Nama) under which she became jointly and liable on a personal basis with Jospeh O'Reily and John Fitzsimons for existing Dundrum Village loans of some €228 million (the Lenridge loans).
It claims Mrs Maye disputes this liability and is separately suing a firm of solicitors concerning her execution of those facilities in her personal capacity. If she is not personally liable for those loans, that would leave the Maye estate liable for the original facilities because Liam Maye was one of the borrowers, the agency claims.
By allegedly entering into those loans in her personal capacity, Mrs Maye put at risk some €116 million assets, including some €100 million cash, which passed to her by way of survivorship on her husband’s death and thus fell outside his estate, Nama claims.