NAMA’s pursuit of the Dunnes, Sean and his wife Gayle in the US state of Connecticut is a daily source of drama. This week alone, according to the latest listing of filings in the case shown above, there were five filings on Monday and on Tuesday, there was a motion to have the NAMA case dismissed entirely. Meanwhile we wait to hear if the judge will accede to the recent NAMA request to have the case classified as “complex litigation” and we have the Dunnes trying to compel the folks making allegations about them to appear as witnesses, something NAMA is curiously resisting tooth-and-nail.
And we learned yesterday, amid the Budget 2013 histrionics, that one of the three NAMA employees whose presence is sought by the Dunnes, Kevin Nowlan has left the Agency apparently to return to work in the family business, WK Nowlan where Kevin’s father, Bill Nowlan (67) remains active.
The Dunnes had sought the NAMA CEO Brendan McDonagh, the NAMA Asset Recovery Manager John Coleman and the NAMA Asset Manager Kevin Nowlan to provide affidavits. According to last Sunday’s Sunday Independent, NAMA is strongly resisting the Dunnes’ attempts to have the three called as witnesses to the case in Connecticut where NAMA is alleging shenanigans against the Dunnes regarding transfers of assets between husband and wife, whilst the Dunnes robustly reject such accusations and in turn, accuse NAMA of undermining their reputations and business.
According to the Irish Times yesterday, Kevin Nowlan leaves NAMA after three years and will become the managing director of WK Nowlan replacing his father who, the paper claims “will in future be concentrating on developing the rapidly expanding investment section of that firm.” WK Nowlan is reported to employ 20 people. After the recent scandal with Enda Farrell and the subsequent concerns about former employees using information acquired at NAMA, it will be interesting to see if NAMA does any business with WK Nowlan in the near future, though it should be stressed that this is a question of perception and there is no suggestion that Kevin is or would act improperly.
It is understood that Kevin Nowlan was the asset manager who would have been responsible for dealing with Sean Dunne’s specific business plan submission, and presumably would be familiar with the disclosure of transfers by the Dunner. Of course, ultimately, the business plan was rejected, and NAMA took enforcement action and eventually secured a €185m judgment earlier this year. But it seems obvious that Kevin would be a key witness to exchanges with the Dunnes, particularly in the early stages of their engagement with NAMA.
And back in July 2011, Brendan McDonagh gave an extensive interview to the Daily Mail where he gave the strong impression that he is hands-on with the pursuit of certain developers “not paying their way”. So his shyness in resisting appearing as a witness in Connecticut is a little curious. And John Coleman is the NAMA Recovery Manager who has been hands-on with the Dunnes’ case.
A curious case indeed.
UPDATE: 23rd December 2012. The Sunday Independent today reports that Gayle has been successful in getting an order from the Connecticut court forcing Kevin Nowlan to be “deposed” – in practice this should mean he files a deposition by 31st . At this stage, it just looks like he will have to submit an affidavit, but he may actually be called for the hearing which has now been schedule for September 2014, according to Ronald Quinlan in the Sunday Independent.