Without citing sources, RTE is reporting that Priory Hall developer Thomas McFeely was declared bankrupt in London today. No reference is made to the court which granted the order, and no details are given as to the size of debt or the address of the bankrupt. There is no record presently on the UK Insolvency Service.
Thomas McFeely has developed a prominent profile in recent months following the debacle at the Priory Hall apartment complex in Donaghmede, northDublin where residents of 187 apartments were forced to evacuate their homes in October 2011, following the discovery of fire hazards. The residents have since been living in temporary accommodation including hotels. Works required to bring the apartment complex “up to code” have stalled. Dublin City Council is going to the courts next week to escape paying any additional accommodation expenses for the evacuated residents after February 2012. It remains unclear where liability for the plight of the residents will lie – Thomas McFeely, his contractors, Dublin City Council and its inspectors.
It should be stressed that Priory Hall is not in NAMA, even though loans advanced to Thomas McFeely and his partner, Laurence Mahony, on other developments, are. So NAMA has intrinsic relationship with Priory Hall at all, though it did make 37 homes available to the Priory Hall evacuees on arms-length commercial terms.
NAMA had seemingly appointed administrators to Thomas McFeely’s apartment complex in Stratford, east London according to the November 2011 foreclosure list, so he’s not exactly one of NAMA’s model developers in any event.
Bankruptcy typically lasts 12 months in the UK, and typically five years in Ireland(as long as preferential creditors are paid in full, otherwise 12 years). The Government is required to table new insolvency legislation by the IMF/EU by 31st March, 2012.
UPDATE: 13th January, 2012. This looks set to be an intriguing bankruptcy case. On Monday next, 16th January, there is a case scheduled at the High Court in Dublin– at 11am before Mr Justice Dunne in Court 6 – where Thomas McFeely was expected to be declared bankrupt in this jurisdiction. Has the bankruptcy in London, which was apparently applied for yesterday 12th January and granted today, trumped proceedings in this jurisdiction? There is likely to be some discussion of “centres of main interest” or COMI, and it is to be noted that Thomas McFeely has building developments in London though some might think he is ordinarily resident on Ailesbury Road in Dublin. And then there might be questions as to whether the COMI was discernible by creditors.
UPDATE (1): 19th January, 2012. The insolvency record for Thomas McFeely is now available from the UK Insolvency Service, and an extract is shown below.
It is interesting that the address is shown as “Flat 44, Athena Court, 186 High Street, LONDON, United Kingdom, E15 2FD” The reason it is interesting is that NAMA is showing foreclosed property “certain units at High Street” in “Stratford, London” on its November 2011 foreclosure list. Emmet Oliver reported at the start of November 2011 in the Irish Independent that NAMA had taken control of the Athena tower block, which looks incomplete from the picture in the Independent (though it’s not clear if the photograph is recent). It is also interesting that no Irish address is given – in the recent Ray Grehan case, two addresses were given, one in Kildare and one in London.
UPDATE (2): 19th January, 2012. NAMA is not commenting on the Thomas McFeely bankruptcy, and specifically not commenting on the address shown on the UK Insolvency Service. NAMA is also not commenting on the address details shown in its November 2011 foreclosure list. It is understood however that the Agency keeps all of these cases under review in order to maximise returns to the taxpayer.
UPDATE: 2nd March, 2012. This is a UK court case and the hearing was at the start of November 2011 with the judgment issued on 9th December 2011, but it is only today that it has come to light on here. Thomas McFeely (in fact Thomas Bernard McFeely to give him his full title as one of the two defendants in the case) and his brother Conal were sued by a pair of property companies Quest Advisors (BVI) and Sharriba Limited in the UK’s High Court and the judgment was appealed to the UK’s Court of Appeal, and this is the judgment that was handed down last December. It’s a long running case about the McFeely’s purchase of a property in Stratford east London, which as far as I can see is now subject to a NAMA receivership, and this case involved a dispute over McFeelys’ alleged agreement to grant a lease to the applicants and there was also a dispute over a sum payable to the McFeelys. In summary the applicants won their appeal and rights to leases on commercial units in the development but the McFeelys were awarded GBP 136,396.46 (nearly €160,000).
UPDATE: 19th July, 2012. The UK’s High Court has upheld its decision to overturn the bankruptcy order for Tom, though he is given liberty to appeal the decision.