Last week NAMA made an application in Dublin’s High Court to stop a creditor of one of the Agency’s developers from effecting the sale of property belonging to that developer to satisfy what looks like a minor debt. The case reference is 2012/3539 P and NAMA was taking action against a company called “Art of Fitness Limited”, a Dublin-based supplier of fitness equipment to commercial venues. The developer in question isn’t clear but Newstalk claims the case relates to “Ballyvaughan Properties” – there doesn’t appear to be any company registered at the CRO by that name but maybe Newstalk just means that the properties subject to this case are in Ballyvaughan, but in any event, the developer appears to be peripheral to the case.
Art of Fitness Limited appears to have previously obtained a mortgage judgment – though there is no record of any application at the High Court – for the princely sum of €19,500 and was claiming additional legal fees of €122,000! And to satisfy this demand, 22 holiday homes in Ballyvaughan in County Clare, were set to be auctioned tomorrow. NAMA intervened with its application last week, and this morning the judge at the High Court, Mr Justice George Bermingham stopped the auction and referred the €122,000 legal fees claimed by Art of Fitness to the taxing office to be assessed for reasonableness, as NAMA claimed the legal bill was excessive. NAMA also claimed the €19,500 sought had actually been paid, and it would seem from the judgment that the judge accepted NAMA’s claim.
The case seems a little bizarre, but it seems that NAMA had not registered its charge over the property, and were it not for what looks like an emergency application, the property might have been sold.
UPDATE: 11th April, 2012. The developer at the centre of this case is reported by the Irish Times today to be Megcourt Developments Limited, which is a John Shee and Joe Hanrahan company, and is the first time on here that these two developers have been associated with NAMA. The solicitors costs that are at issue are those of JP Foley and Company who seemingly represented Art of Fitness Limited in the previous action at the Clare Circuit Court where the mortgage judgment was first obtained. The Irish Times reports ” Paul Foley said NAMA’s application was “disingenuous and not well grounded in fact or law” The paper also reports that the €122,000 represents legal costs run up before and after the Circuit Court judgment.