Developer Greg Kavanagh sued by property investor for €6.4m

Developer Greg Kavanagh sued by property investor for €6.4m

Mr Kavanagh, a director of Ballycrag Developments - which was struck off the Companies Register last year - refutes liability and says he has a good defence and counterclaim to her case. File Picture.

A property investor is suing developer Greg Kavanagh for €6.4m, claiming default on a debt related to loans to his company and personal guarantees.

Anne O'Neill, of Mount Pleasant Square, Dublin, is seeking summary judgment for the money against Mr Kavanagh, Shaw's Lane, Bath Avenue, Dublin, claiming he failed to meet a demand for repayment issued last May.

Mr Kavanagh, a director of Ballycrag Developments - which was struck off the Companies Register last year - refutes liability and says he has a good defence and counterclaim to her case.

She has brought High Court proceedings but, on Monday, Mr Justice David Barniville refused to admit them to the fast track commercial list because of what the judge said was a significant four year delay between when the debt became due and proceedings were taken. 

The case must now go through the court's ordinary non-jury list.

In her action, Ms O'Neill says, while Mr Kavanagh's liability to her became enforceable in May 2016, she had, at his request, given him forbearance as a result of representations he made at different stages that he would discharge the monies due.

She says she made two loans to Ballycrag Developments in September and December 2013 totalling €975,000, with Ballycrag providing security in first fixed charge over a property called Wynnstay House, Clonskeagh, Dublin.

In January 2014, she says, that loan was consolidated into a €2m loan with 20% interest.

She says Mr Kavanagh also entered into a personal guarantee and indemnity agreement with her in November 2015 to guarantee the obligations of Ballycrag to her. Under that, it was agreed the amount then owing was €2.8m plus interest, she says.

Mr Kavanagh gave an undertaking to sell his shareholding in a company called Greybirch Ltd to pay down the money owing to her, she says. He further agreed that if she was not repaid by February 2016, he would sell the Clonskeagh property to pay off the debt, she says.

Since February 2016, Mr Kavanagh outlined "various scenarios" which would result in repayment but "none came to fruition", she says.

She believed it was used as "a means of deflection, delay and prevarication" to persuade her against taking legal action.

She says in October 2016, there were newspaper reports Mr Kavanagh was to receive €150m from his former financial backers, M&G Investments, under a settlement agreement. But, she says, Mr Kavanagh had a dispute with M&G and, eventually, High Court proceedings over the matter were settled in 2017.

Despite the ultimate resolution of that and another dispute with a businessman, he had still refused to pay her, she says. He also promised to sell Clonskeagh, but no money was paid to her, she says.

He told her he had arranged a loan from Lotus Finance but the loan was never drawn down, she says.

Last May, Mr Kavanagh settled proceedings taken by his brother who claimed 50% of ownership in Mr Kavanagh's businesses. She is now concerned Greg Kavanagh's assets may be reduced.

In an affidavit filed last week, Mr Kavanagh, a director of Structured Marshalled Investments Ltd, says Ms O'Neill's husband had invested the monies "through Ms O'Neill effectively as his proxy, agent or alter ego".

He says she refers to the M&G and other matters “to create the impression of forbearance” but “even if that was the case, which it was not”, the fact was that on her own case “such forbearance has proven ineffective since as far back as 2016”.

He says Ms O'Neill has been guilty of very substantial pre-action delay in bringing the case and he opposed entry to the Commercial Court.

Far from showing forbearance, as she claimed, she and more particularly her husband had been vigorous in making demands and threats of enforcement against him, including threatening to seek the winding up of Ballycrag.

He also says the dispute with his brother "has no relevance or connection whatsoever" to these proceedings.

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