A bank appointed receiver is seeking orders for possession of premises belonging to a company controlled by businessman and Fianna Fail National Executive member Jerry Beades, the High Court heard today.
Mr Kieran Wallace, who was appointed by Dutch owned ACC bank as receiver to Fairlee Properties Ltd in July after the firm failed to repay a loan of €1.5m, claims that Mr Beades is trying to frustrate the receivership and has preventing him from taking vacant possession of the properties.
However opposing the move Mr Beades, who is the company's managing director, denied the claims and told the court that 20 people "face the prospect" of losing their jobs should the receiver take possession of the properties and evict them.
He accused ACC Bank of using the Commercial Court as "an administrative tool" and claimed he has been "frustrated and bullied" by the receiver.
He added that Mr Wallace is not entitled to proceed as receiver as both his and the tenancy rights of the various companies that occupy the premises have not been sufficiently regarded.
Mr Wallace is seeking High Court orders for possession of the properties, which were charged by the defendant to ACC Bank, located at 158 to 163 Richmond Road, Fairview, Dublin 3 and Unit 6, Tivoli Centre, Richmond Road Industrial Estate, Dublin.
Today at the High Court Mr Justice Frank Clarke agreed to Mr Wallace's application to have the matter transferred to the Commercial Court, the big business division of the High Court.
Bernard Dunleavy Bl for Mr Wallace, a chartered accountant with KPMG, said his client was appointed as receiver to the firm after the defendant company failed to pay ACC €1.5m, which it obtained in a judgment against Mr Beades, after ACC demanded repayments of a loan.
That loan had been secured against the various premises in question, however Counsel said that the defendant company had declined to deliver up possession of the buildings to Mr Wallace.
Counsel said that Mr Beades is engaged in a concerted effort to frustrate the receivership and effectively deny ACC what it is owed.
In his affidavit Mr Wallace said that last July Mr Beades brought High court proceedings aimed at suspending the appointment of a receiver.
Those proceedings were unsuccessful. However during those proceedings Mr Beades said that there were tenants in the properties.
Mr Wallace said the bank had no knowledge of this and the High Court ordered Mr Beades to furnish to him (Wallace) with the names and details of the tenants. While Mr Wallace said that while some information was furnished the list was not in compliance with the terms of the High Court order.
Mr Wallace said that said that he sought full details of all the tenancies, but has been unable to check their authenticity of those purported agreements.
He said Mr Beades declined to hand over full books and records of the company which would allow him verify the existence of the tenancies.
Mr Wallace said that he also has concerns over the insurance on the properties. He sought details from the defendants on existing insurance, but has not received a reply.
In his affidavit Mr Beades rejected Mr Wallace's claims, and said that it Mr Wallace who had been frustrating the process.
Mr Beades also said that he had paid €6m to ACC bank in respect of the loans secured on the properties. He said that one of the properties should be mortgage free and not the subject of the receivership.
He also told the court that he planned to appeal previous High Court rulings against him in his dispute with ACC to the Supreme Court.
In his ruling Mr Justice Clarke said that he was satisfied that the case meet the criteria that would allow it to be admitted to the Commercial Court list.
He said that the only issue he had to decided was if there was a dispute between the parties, and there clearly was.
The Judge added that if one side in a dispute wished to have a matter brought to court then they were entitled to do that.
Banks, he added, had the same constitutional right of access to the courts as anyone else.