Sunday, 19 October 2008

Developer bids to halt multi-million euro legal action

LAWYERS acting for property developer Bernard McNamara were last night locked in "deep discussions" to prevent a multi-million euro legal dispute by five high-profile businessmen being entered into the Commercial Court on Monday morning.

The Irish Independent has learned that the embattled builder is being sued by a group of property entrepreneurs, including deal maker, tax expert and financier Paschal Taggart and his business partner Terry Cooney.

Shane Taggart, Ivor Dougan and Gary Smith are also listed as plaintiffs in the case that has been earmarked for the Commercial Court, a division of the High Court which fast-tracks disputes in excess of €1m.

The plaintiffs are pursuing a summary summons case, indicating that a liquidated debt is being pursued.

Mr McNamara was in a consortium with Mr Taggart that had been buying buildings around the Westbury Hotel in Dublin with a view to turning the area into a multi-billion euro hotel and retail enclave. It is not known if the threatened litigation relates to that consortium.

Earlier this year, Mr McNamara was forced to deny that he had debts of €1.5bn after he pulled out of €900m worth of social housing projects.

Last night, a spokesperson for Mr McNamara confirmed that discussions between the sides was ongoing and they were hopeful for a resolution before Monday morning when new entrants to the Commercial list are considered.

The case is one of 16 new cases which have been listed for entry on the Commercial list which is is being "littered" with claims for specific performance of contracts, including many for the sale of development lands, according to High Court judge Mr Justice Peter Kelly who manages the growing caseload.

Dearbhail McDonald and Shane Phelan
Irish Independent

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