There was a little ripple of concern on here in comments recently after the Sunday Independent reported on the accounts for Harcourt Developments for 2011. Harcourt is controlled by Pat Doherty – pictured above left, with George Mitchell at the Titanic exhibition in Belfast city centre – and Pat is understood to be one of the top developers working with NAMA with an approved business plan.
What prompted some consternation was the statement “Harcourt Developments paid its directors fees of just over €1.25m last year ” and “the company has paid consultancy fees to a number of directors in respect of services rendered during the year. Payments under these arrangements totalled €337,787 [in 2011]” This was all in respect of eight directors, so adding the €1.25m to the €337,787 and getting €1,587,787 and dividing that by eight, we get an average payment to each of the directors including consultancy fees of €198,473 in 2011.
NAMA says it is allowing payments of €200,000 in three cases, believed to be Dundrum’s Joe O’Reilly, Ballymore’s Sean Mulryan and recent defamation case victor, Michael O’Flynn. Beyond that, NAMA says that it pays 25 developers salaries of between €150-199,000 and which total €4.2m of an average of €168,000. The concern was that NAMA wasn’t being straight with us, and that it was allowing developers to sneak away with additional remuneration in the form of “consultancy fees”
Not so, says Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan who was this week responding to questions from the Sinn Fein finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty. Asked about the maximum remuneration at NAMAinclusive of pension contribution and consultancy fees, Minister Noonan says “NAMA has no agreements in place with debtor principals which authorise them to retain total remuneration in excess of €200,000 from their assets or businesses.“
So despite appearances, it seems that remuneration at Harcourt is in line with the perception of NAMA policy.
The full parliamentary questions and responses are here.
Deputy Pearse Doherty: To ask the Minister for Finance further to a report in a Sunday newspaper, if he will confirm the maximum salary approved by the National Asset Management Agency at Harcourt Developments is €200,000.
Deputy Pearse Doherty: To ask the Minister for Finance if he will confirm the maximum annual remuneration approved by the National Asset Management Agency at any of its developers, inclusive of pension contribution, consultancy fees and allowances.
Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan : I propose to answer question 222 & 223 together.
I am advised by the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) that information relating to its debtors and properties within their control is, within the meaning of Sections 99 and 202 of the NAMA Act 2009, confidential and that it is therefore precluded from discussing such matters.
As detailed in a response to the Deputy Gerry Adams (Ref No: 39693/12, 20th September 2012), NAMA has no agreements in place with debtor principals which authorise them to retain total remuneration in excess of €200,000 from their assets or businesses.