By Ann O'Loughlin
An action by a businessman against Jedward and their parents over an alleged merchandising agreement has opened at the High Court.
Patrick Joseph Noonan is claiming total losses of more than €625,000, including €250,000 for alleged loss of opportunity of selling a Jedward board game to another party.
The case is against identical twins John and Edward Grimes, both aged 26, from Dublin and known as Jedward, along with their estranged parents John Grimes and Susanna Condron.
All the defendants, represented by Desmond Murphy SC, were in court and deny the claims.
A small number of fans of Jedward sat outside court. Jedward got to the finals of The X Factor in 2009, represented Ireland twice in the Eurovision song contest and also appeared in Celebrity Big Brother.
In his action, Mr Noonan alleges it was agreed at various meetings from 2011 involving one or other or both parents, allegedly acting as agents of their sons, that he was to be reimbursed for costs relating to sourcing and developing Jedward merchandise, including jigsaws, wristbands, boardgames and a magazine.
In evidence, Mr Noonan said he is a civil engineer with various business interests also involved in assisting start-up ventures. He has considerable interest in the film industry and brought a lot of jobs to Limerick via Tristar Studios, he said.
As a result of knowing John Geehan - a first cousin of John Grimes senior - there were meetings in 2011 to discuss Mr Noonan's idea of a Jedward boardgame and other matters, he said.
His memo of the first meeting at his home in Limerick in August 2011 described the twins as “lovely lads (hyper)”.
His understanding from that encounter was he would be working for Jedward, they were “the bosses” and he would get paid. They had talked about board games and he was assured the twins would promote those via their website, tweets and a newspaper column. There was also talk of setting up a Jedward Foundation for charitable purposes, he said.
His memo recorded the twins appeared “to lose interest” after about an hour and to have started “running around the house” and eating fruit.
He said he spent money personally on the merchandise before two limited liability companies were set up and understood and was told he would be paid for what he spent. He also took steps in 2011 to ensure the name Jedward was protected on behalf of the twins.
Earlier, opening the case for Mr Noonan before Mr Justice Donald Binchy, Patrick O’Reilly SC said Jedward unfortunately did not make their “best efforts” to promote the merchandise. What is “clear certain” is Mr Noonan paid for all of these items and has not received “one cent” for them, all of which are Jedward merchandise, he said.
Merchandise remains stored in a facility in Co Donegal and a dispute about payment for storage led at one stage to some merchandise being put out on the street briefly, he said.
At no time until the pleadings were entered had the defendants said they did not have to pay Mr Noonan, contending there was a joint venture to be run through two limited liability firms and any loss was of those two companies, not Mr Noonan’s.
It was agreed costs would be paid back to Mr Noonan because Jedward was contractually bound to UK merchandising company Bravada and could not enter into any other form of contracts, counsel argued.
Relations between Mr Noonan and the defendants began to sour from summer 2012 when Mr Noonan found out some wristbands produced by him had been sold by the defendants and they had not at all accounted for receipts from the sales, counsel said. Mr Noonan had ordered 40,000 wristbands in eight types from China in 2011 for which he paid €97,000.
The case continues tomorrow.