Judgment registered against Dunne firm


SIMON CARSWELL, Finance Correspondent, The Irish TImes (6 November 2012)

An Bord Gáis has registered a judgment of €127,000 against the hotel trading company owned by developer Seán Dunne that ran the Berkeley Court and Jurys hotels in Ballsbridge, Dublin.

The judgment was registered against MJBCH, of which Mr Dunne is listed as director, by the semi-State energy company on October 25th and appears in this week’s edition of Stubbs Gazette, the debtor defaulter magazine.

A liquidator was appointed to MJBCH by the High Court this year on a petition presented by Ulster Bank, which represented the consortium of banks that loaned money to companies in Mr Dunne’s DCD group to buy the hotels.

An Bord Gáis said in a statement that MJBCH ceased trading leaving a number of gas and electricity accounts with outstanding balances and that “these accounts were closed and final bills issued”, but those bills were not paid.

The company said it took “a very proactive and supportive approach to working with business customers who are in arrears; however, in this instance, having exhausted all other options, we commenced legal proceedings and papers were lodged with the High Court in June to recover the monies due”.

MJBCH did not defend the case, An Bord Gáis said, and the judgment was issued in the company’s favour on August 31st. The semi-State company said it was now engaging with the company’s liquidator.

The three-strong syndicate of banks took control of the hotels last January from Mr Dunne, who bought them at the height of the property bubble for almost €400 million.

Dalata Hotel Group, run by former Jurys Doyle chief executive Pat McCann, took over the running of the hotels for the banks this year.

The High Court appointed Declan Taite of accountancy firm RSM Farrell Grant Sparks as official liquidator of MJBCH in June after the company failed to meet a demand for the repayment of €262 million advanced to buy the sites.

Mr Dunne had sought to build a €1.5 billion high-rise development, but the plan was rejected in 2009 by An Bord Pleanála.

Mr Dunne’s debts at the other Irish banks were transferred to the National Asset Management Agency, which has taken legal proceedings against the developer and his wife, Gayle Killilea Dunne, in the United States.

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