No Trump rescue for out-of-pocket suite owners at Doonbeg

Billionaire Donald Trump has not come to the rescue of a widow and other luxury suite owners at Doonbeg Golf Club who were left out of pocket by the collapse of the company.

No Trump rescue for out-of-pocket suite owners at Doonbeg

This claim was made by Donal O’Rourke, BL, counsel for Mary Foley, of Ballynagleragh, Ogennelloe, and two other suite owners who are owed tens of thousands of euro by Doonbeg Investment Holding Co Ltd, which was placed in liquidation last week.

Last month, Mr Trump purchased the golf club’s assets, but not liabilities, from the receivers of Doonbeg.

In 2007, Ms Foley and two couples, Dermot and Geraldine Thornton, of Mill Rd, Corbally, Limerick, and Michael and Catherine Cahill, of The Abbey, Templemore, Co Tipperary, bought luxury suites at the resort, ranging in price from €1.2m to €1.8m.

The purchase came with rental guarantees that said the buyers would receive rent ranging from €72,400 to €69,000 per annum in leaseback arrangements.

The golf club would generate the rental income by renting the suites to touring golfers.

However, at Ennis Circuit Court, Mr O’Rourke said the golf club firm stopped making any rental payments last year and that he was seeking judgment in respect of monies owed to the three plaintiffs between January to March of last year.

In court, Judge Gerald Keyes gave judgment of €39,175 — €12,983 for Ms Foley; €13,459 for the Cahills; and €12,733 for the Thorntons — against Doonbeg Investment Holding Co. Mr O’Rourke said Ms Thornton estimates the total amount to date owed exceeds €130,000.

Before making judgment, Judge Keyes asked: “What is the reality of all of this?”

Mr O’Rourke said: “This is the difficulty unfortunately. The reality is that the plaintiffs are aware that they will rank as an unsecured creditor in all of this and they may not get anything out of the liquidation.

“The reality of getting the monies is minimal. It is quite a frustrating situation for each of the plaintiffs.”

Judge Keyes said the “amounts of money are quite extraordinary” and asked: “Mr Trump hasn’t come to the rescue?”

In reply, Mr O’Rourke said: “No, unfortunately not, judge.”

In evidence, Ms Thornton, a solicitor, told the court she had been speaking with the liquidator, who told her there were a number of similar cases.

She said there was “a lot of bad feeling” around the situation. She detailed the background of the purchase. “I was looking for a tax shelter and my accountant told me that these were available,” Ms Thornton told the court. “Our rental income was offset against the purchase price of the properties.”

Ms Thornton said the Doonbeg firm had a very healthy balance sheet at the time.

Asked to comment on the actions, Trump Organisation vice president George Sorial said yesterday: “These disputes originated years ago and remain the sole responsibility of the Kiawah group, do not involve the Trump Organisation and were specifically excluded by contract when we purchased the Doonbeg assets.”

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