Mick Wallace gets a stay on €2m order

A fund has been granted €2m summary judgment orders against independent TD Mick Wallace over his guarantee of a loan given by Ulster Bank to a company of his. A three-month stay applies on execution of the judgment.

At the Commercial Court yesterday, Mr Justice Brian McGovern ruled the Promontoria (Aran) Ltd fund — the Irish subsidiary of US fund Cerberus — was entitled to summary judgment because Mr Wallace had raised no arguable defence to its claim.

He entered judgment for €2m, the maximum amount of Mr Wallace’s liability under his guarantee of a €2.1m loan made to his company, M & J Wallace Ltd, and also awarded costs against Mr Wallace.

The judge granted a three-month stay on execution of the judgment order to allow for the effect of an expected sale of a restaurant property at Dublin’s Ormond Quay on Mr Wallace’s indebtedness. He refused to put a stay on entry of the judgment.

Earlier, Stephen Walsh, counsel for Mr Wallace, sought a stay of some three or four months on grounds of Mr Wallace’s personal circumstances. The stay application was a plea for “the type of practical and sensible justice” operating in the courts, counsel said.

Mr Walsh said ACC Bank has had a €20m judgment against Mr Wallace for four years and made “modest” recovery from that. If this fund thought it would “leapfrog” over ACC and “snaffle” some asset, it was “naive in the extreme” as there was “nothing” there to execute the judgment against, he said.

An application to wind up M & J Wallace, founded in 1970 by Mr Wallace’s father, was for hearing on February 15, counsel said. Mr Wallace had to direct his attention to that matter which had emotional significance for him.

Mr Wallace will also be seeking re-election in the forthcoming general election expected to be held on February 26, counsel said. Mr Wallace may be “jockeying” in post-election negotiations and would be very busy up to and after February 26, he added.

Counsel agreed with the judge the TD had to be re-elected first.

Mr Walsh said the best ground for a stay was because the expected sale of a restaurant property — the Taverna di Baccio — on Ormond Quay, on which the fund held security, would reduce Mr Wallace’s overall indebtedness, counsel added.

Paul Gardiner, for the fund, said this was a “very unusual” stay application and Mr Wallace had effectively already had a stay for three months. The debt of the Wallace company will be reduced below €2m by the property sale but the sale would not extinguish the debt, he said.

The other arguments amounted to saying Mr Wallace was “too busy” to deal with this matter and were not reasons for a stay, counsel said.

Mr Wallace was not in court for the ruling on the judgment application.


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