Jenny Forsey was not motivated by revenge, she said, when she blew the whistle on her estranged husband.
“Yes I was furious, yes I was horrified and disgusted,” she agreed in the witness stand on the second day of the trial of Fred Forsey Jnr, the man she married back in 1990 but has not spoken to since Dec 2006.
But revenge? “No,” she told John Phelan, who cross-examined her 10 days ago at Waterford Circuit Court and put it to her that she went to TD John Deasy, to voice her “suspicions” about Forsey’s dealings with a wealthy property developer, because she was angry about Fred having a “new partner” and her marriage breaking down.
“I didn’t approach Mr Deasy or the guards until April. That’s four months later. I didn’t rush into the town or rush into the Garda station as a woman scorned.”
But when it was put to her that the old cliché “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” was an apt description of her feelings in late 2006 — when the marriage was falling apart; Fred had moved out; and she was venting her anger on occasional visits to his new home — she agreed.
“I’m sure it would.”
As far as Jenny Forsey was concerned, everything was fine in her marriage to Fred, even in July of 2006.
It was some time during that month that the two of them had a night out in The Moorings in Dungarvan, when Fred met the developer and, afterwards, reflected on his chat with the multi-millionaire which lasted no more than 15 minutes.
According to Jenny, he reportedly said to her as they walked home from the pub: “I think I’ll get in with [the developer].”
Forsey’s version was different in the witness box as he could not remember saying anything to Jenny about the businessman.
“I don’t remember my wife asking me what the conversation was about, on the way home. We had about a half-hour walk home, when there’s a woman in high-heel shoes, a half-hour walk home is a pretty tough time.”
Jenny Forsey told the court that, within days, Fred had gone to meet with the developer — denied by Forsey himself — and told her this man had land he wanted to develop for industry.
There were several meetings during August, she said.
One day, she and Fred went to collect his sister-in-law at Cork Airport and, while they waited, she said: “Wouldn’t it be lovely to fly off somewhere.”
The very next day, Forsey came home and told her they were going to Rome the following Thursday, Aug 25.
While away with their three children, she asked him where he was getting the money to pay for the holiday and he told her the developer had lodged €30,000 into his bank account.
Further meetings followed over the next few weeks with councillors across the county. The reason was, Jenny Forsey said, to try and persuade them to extend the Dungarvan town boundary to include the developer’s piece of land.
“He was under pressure. He needed to get this done. It had to be done,” she remembered when asked about Fred’s demeanour at this time.
By Forsey’s own admission, while all this was going on, he was trying to give the impression in Dungarvan he was a successful businessman and councillor.
However, when it came to finances, he conceded: “I’d always be struggling.”
An insight into his way of thinking came when he recalled the 2004 local elections. The voting came two years after he had been co-opted on to Dungarvan Town Council to fill the seat vacated by John Deasy when the latter was elected to the Dáil.
He was advised to order a certain amount of posters for use during the election campaign. “I got 10 of them,” he said. “I would take them down at nighttime and put them somewhere else so it looked like I had loads of them.”
By Aug 2006, he was behind in his mortgage payments, afraid the car he used for his driving school would be repossessed, and was also seeing another woman, Karen Morrissey, as arguments raged at home with Jenny.
He made a call to the property developer, he said, as a last resort in a bid to get out of the financial hole in which he found himself.
The businessman gave the “loan” the thumbs up and, by Forsey’s version of events, a loan agreement was drawn up and signed by the two men.
His wife, he maintained, was well aware of the existence of the loan agreement but she denied ever being told of one, or that the money was a loan. There was never “any question” of the money being paid back, she said.
“She lied,” were Forsey’s words when it was put to him on Wednesday last that he told Jenny he received €30,000 in the initial payment, rather than €60,000. “She always knew it was €60,000. She saw the loan agreement for €60,000 and always knew the loan agreement was kept in the little garage in the filing cabinet.”
By Dec 22, 2006, he had borrowed €10,000 from Jenny to keep his business afloat but was getting “a lot of hassle” from her for it to be repaid.
Jenny Forsey told the court she “hounded” her estranged husband for the money while Forsey said she rang him up, “effing and blinding”, and looking for €500 in maintenance.
When he got the money and called to her house to pay the €500, her mother came out: “She said, ‘I’ve lived my life and I’ll stab you to death if you don’t pay that money’,” Forsey said.
Their evidence conflicted over why Jenny Forsey threatened to go to the gardaí — she said it was to report the pay-ments from the developer; he said it was over the late payment of maintenance.
By the following April, Jenny Forsey said she was in a different state of mind. “I was feeling well again after four, five, six months of pure hell.”
She “voiced my suspicions” to John Deasy, spoke in turn to the gardaí, and the corruption investigation was under way.
Yesterday’s unanimous guilty verdicts were a successful result for that investigation.
Jenny Forsey was not present to witness them.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved