Liquidator with ‘flawed’ view of role removed

A liquidator to a Co Kildare hotel has been removed over what a judge said was his “flawed understanding” of his role.

Anthony J Fitzpatrick was appointed liquidator of Ballyrider Ltd, owners of the Hazel Hotel in Monasterevin in November 2010.

The company’s main creditor, AIB, was owed €237,000. The Revenue Commissioners were also a preferential creditor.

Revenue had concerns about the way Mr Fitzpatrick had handled the liquidation, particularly in relation to his remuneration, fees paid to solicitors, and other costs.

It asked the High Court to remove Mr Fitzpatrick and also sought an order that Mr Fitzpatrick refrain from continuing a legal action against a prospective purchaser of the hotel who failed to complete the deal.

The court heard the prospective purchaser agreed, in May 2011, to buy the hotel for €630,000, put down a deposit of €34,000, but failed to complete the purchase.

It was sold the following November for a much reduced price of €479,000. Along with the deposit from the failed first sale, there was €503,000 available.

AIB’s debt was paid off and €166,000 was transferred to the liquidator, who after fees and costs were paid, had around €73,000 in the liquidation fund. Revenue took issue with the fees and costs.

Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy ruled Revenue had shown the best interests of the liquidation required Mr Fitzpatrick’s removal.

Had he come before the court with detailed accounts, the court would probably have been slow to intervene, she said: “The evidence suggests he has a flawed understanding of the role and duties of a liquidator.”

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