By Ann O'Loughlin
Businessman Peter White and members of his family are being sued over the alleged non-payment of commercial loans and alleged debts now amounting to over €5.6m.
Mr Justice Robert Haughton in the Commerical Court today admitted four sets of proceedings brought by Feniton Property Finance Designated Activity Company against restaurateur and developer Peter White, his wife Alicia, their son, Trevor White, the former publisher of The Dubliner magazine and his wife Susan Jane White, cookbook author.
The court was told the cumulative amount of debt sued for across the four sets of proceedings is €5.673m and arises in the main out of an alleged breach of a settlement agreement entered into in May 2017 in relation to a number of loan facilities advanced years previously. The settlement agreement the court heard had allowed for a lot of debt forgiveness.
Rossa Fanning SC for Feniton told the court the settlement agreement was allegedly breached in September 2017 when a payment of €4m was allegedly not made.
At issue in the case also is the house at Mountpleasant Square, Ranelagh, Dublin where Trevor White lives with his wife Susan Jane and their two children and which is owned by a trust, the Mountpleasant Settlement which has as its trustees Mr Trevor White and his mother and father. Vacant possession of this property is now sought in the claim for judgment against the trustees.
All four cases relate to different loan facilities advanced by Bank of Scotland Ireland Ltd at different times starting in 2005.
The loans were later transferred to Feniton. In May 2017 a settlement agreement was reached where certain payments back would be made and a payment of €4m was required to be paid by September 28, 2017 and a further payment of €2.1m by the end of 2017.
It is claimed there was an alleged failure to pay the €4m due by September 28, 2017. A receiver was appointed to a number of properties which were security for the loan facilities and a property at St Stephen's Green was later sold for €4.8m and a house at Wellington Road, Ballsbridge for €2.9m. A receiver was also appointed to the house at Mountpleasant Square, Ranelagh which is lived in by Trevor White and his young family.
It is further claimed Trevor White and his wife remain in the Mounpleasant Square house in alleged breach of the terms of the mortgage and settlement agreement.
In an affidavit Ms Susan Jane White objected to the admission of the proceedings to the Commercial Court. The newspaper columnist and cookbook author said the family have made various improvements to the house at Mountpleasant Square including €15,000 worth of landscaping and a wooden playhouse on stilts for their children at a cost of €2,000 as well as planting a vegetable and herb garden as a learning centre for their growing family.
Ms White, whose book The Virtuous Tart was an Irish bestseller, said she designed and created by hand a working kitchen in the basement of their home which has become the centre of both her home and professional life. She said she has no indebtedness in relation to the house and her husband was living there when she met him. She also said that Trevor had proposed to her in the house.
The cases come back before the Commercial Court next January.