Wallace faces sell-off after move by bank

 

INDEPENDENT TD Mick Wallace is facing the sell-off of his property empire after ACC Bank obtained judgment mortgages on 23 of his properties.

The bank successfully registered judgment mortgages at the Registry of Deeds and the Property Registration Authority against Mr Wallace and his construction company, MJ Wallace, just before Christmas.

The move gives effect to the summary judgment orders for €19 million which the bank secured against Mr Wallace and his company last October.

The properties affected include his home address in Clontarf, Dublin, as well as houses, apartments and commercial premises across the city.

A judgment mortgage effectively prohibits any dealings on a property unless the debt involved is discharged.

ACC Bank could force the sale of Mr Wallace’s properties, but would first have to apply to the courts to order this to happen.

The bank could also seek to have the TD declared a bankrupt for non-payment of his debts – a move that would force him to resign his seat.

Mr Wallace, who has total debts exceeding €40 million, told The Irish Timesat the weekend that he swore a statement for the bank last week setting out all he and his company owned.

He said he had no idea what the bank now intended to do or whether it would take bankruptcy proceedings.

The bank appointed a receiver in May 2011 but Mr Wallace said this applied to the assets of his company and not the company itself. He said that although the company was still trading and employing a few staff, it was effectively “finished”.

Since the judgment against the company, it has struggled to find good work. He said he would not be able to repay his debts because the value of his assets had greatly diminished.

The other banks to which he owed money – which include AIB, Bank of Scotland (Ireland) and Ulster Bank – had so far not followed the example of ACC by pursuing him in the courts, and he still had a good working relationship with them.

Another of his companies, Wallace Calcio, was still operating normally and employing “more than 50 people” in wine bars and other businesses, he stressed.

Mr Wallace criticised some of the press coverage of his business difficulties, saying the impression had been given last year that he had not or would not pay staff pension contributions to the Construction Workers’ Pension Fund.

He said €136,000 was owed in the case, but the outstanding amount was €24,000 at the time of the summons and all outstanding monies had been paid by the time of the court case.

“I was fined [€7,000} for late payment. At no stage did I not intend to pay this money.”