DEVELOPER SEAN Dunne is seeking €35 million damages from a firm of estate agents over allegedly advising him to buy a Dublin property for €130 million when, he claims, the nearest competing bid was €102 million and the true value of the premises was between €65 million and €95 million.
CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) has denied all the claims by Mr Dunne, including that it received a fee from Irish Life Investment Managers over the sale of Hume House in late February 2006, breached its professional duty to Mr Dunne and concealed information from him concerning the purchase of the property. When he was outside the country, Mr Dunne claims his bid for Hume House went from €92 million to €130 million over a four-day period in late February 2006 against a counter-bid of €102 million.
His initial reaction when his €92 million bid was rejected was to “let the matter go” , he claims, but he was persuaded by Willie Dowling and Sean O’Brien of CBRE to make a further offer and that Hume House was worth €130 million as an investment property. He said he relied on the greater expertise of CBRE in the matter.
Mr Dunne claims he asked Gerry Keenan, chief executive of Irish Life Investment Managers, during a phone conversation in February 2009 how much fees were paid to CBRE and also asked was it “a good fee”.
He said Mr Keenan replied: “What is a good fee?” and laughed. Mr Dunne said he asked Mr Keenan to indicate a figure, Mr Keenan said: “Guess”. Mr Dunne said €500,000 and Mr Keenan said: “You’re in the right field.” Mr Keenan had later said he had “better not say any more” and laughed, Mr Dunne said.
About five minutes later, he said Mr Keenan telephoned him saying he (Mr Keenan) had his “head mixed up” and Irish Life did not pay anything to CBRE and he was thinking about another deal with CBRE. Mr Dunne said Mr Keenan changed from being “cordial and accommodating” in the first call to being “evasive”. These events warranted investigation, he said.
Mr Dunne has made the claims in an affidavit supporting his defence and counter-claim to proceedings brought against him by CBRE in which they are seeking €1.5 million in alleged unpaid fees. CBRE claimed the fees in November 2006 in relation to a commercial property transaction of February 2006 involving the sale of premises known as Riverside IV at Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin and the part exchange of that with Hume House at Pembroke Road.