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Archive for November 27th, 2012

“The acts and omissions of Mr. Farrell identified inthe Deloitte review could be said to have come within this definition of misconduct. Mr. Farrell disputes this.” Extract from internal report published by NAMA 27th November 2012

NAMA has this afternoon published its internal report on the original Enda Farrell affair – that was the purchase of the property known as Sunday Well in Lucan in November 2011 by Enda and his wife Alice Kramer (Alison Kramer) for €410,000 from NAMA developer, Thomas Dowd. The report sets out the timeline leading up to the purchase, details of Deloitte’s internal review and the recommendations arising from the review, all of which have been accepted by the NAMA Board and which have now been implemented.

The report is available here.

We don’t really learn much that is new.

Deloitte concluded that NAMA had already policies in place to prevent conflicts of interest, and Deloitte concluded that Enda didn’t comply with those policies, though the report states that Enda disputes the conclusion that he didn’t comply with those policies.

What will dismay many is that there is no evidence in NAMA’s report to support its claim that the property was independently valued. It is stated that the developer, Thomas Dowd engaged two local estate agents to source a buyer for the property. The report states that it was “a local estate agent which recommended that the NAMA debtor accept the offer of €410,000” As far as the independent valuation on the property goes, that’s it! No mention of the terms under which the “local estate agent” was acting and who he was acting for.

One of the recommendations is that all NAMA property be placed on the open market, and this policy, NAMA says, was adopted in October 2011. There are a small number of exceptions, and NAMA says “in certain circumstances this will not be practicable”. It certainly wasn’t with the sale of the second landbank in Cork this year which caused ructions in the Dail.

In future, NAMA will only sell a principal family home to its employees and will require buyers to state if they’re NAMA employees.

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Although there has been a noticeable relenting in the pace of NAMA enforcement action in the past month, there is still a trickle of ongoing activity and today’s issue of Iris Oifigiuil reveals that on 22nd November 2012, NAMA had Kieran Wallace and Eamonn Richardson of KPMG appointed as joint statutory receivers to Dublin Taverns Limited.

Dublin Taverns Limited is owned by David Cullen (50%),  Rita Barcoe (25%) and Aideen Cullen (25%). Its directors are Stephen Cullen (42) and Rita Barcoe (who DueDil says is aged 15, she wishes!). It is not entirely clear what pubs are under the control of Dublin Taverns, but Rita Barcoe appears to have been the manager of the Turks Head in Temple Bar in Dublin city centre.

On 3rd October, 2012 NAMA initiated legal action in Dublin’s High Court against David Cullen, though it should be stressed that we are unable to establish if it is the same David Cullen who owns  50% of the company referred to above.

Remember you can see a comprehensive list of Irish foreclosure action by NAMA here and in this regularly updated spreadsheet.

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Tragic news today from sources that NAMA developer and well-known publican Hugh O’Regan, aged 49, has taken his life. As a developer, he might be best known for the development of the four-star Morrison Hotel in Dublin city centre which was sold earlier this year for about €22m and is presently undergoing a multi-million euro refurbishment under the auspices of its new owner, Russia’s richest woman, Yelena Baturina.

His chain of Thomas Read pubs included the Bailey, Pravda, Ron Black’s, Lincoln’s Inn and Searson’s – he sold the group in 2005 for a reported €30m. In 2009, liquidators were appointed to a group of his companies which reportedly had debts of nearly €300m overall, these debts were understood to have transferred to NAMA.  The debts related to the development of the former Kilternan Hotel and Country Club in Dublin and the former Hibernian United Services Club at 8 St Stephen’s Green. Earlier this year, a group of protesters occupied one of his properties slated for development as an office block on Great Strand Street in Dublin city centre.

In July 2012, Hugh was sanctioned by the High Court in Dublin and restrictions were placed on him in respect of acting as a company director for the next five years.  In July 2002, Hugh’s brother, John, also succumbed to suicide.

Hugh is believed to be at least the second NAMA developer  to have taken their lives – earlier this year, word was received of another NAMA developer dying by suicide.

UPDATE: 27th November, 2012. With thanks to Gillian Nelis at the SBP for constructively drawing attention to guidelines published by the Samaritans on reporting suicide.  For anyone affected by the death of Hugh, the Samaritans is available for anyone in any type of distress on 08457 90 90 90 in the UK or 1850 60 90 90 in the Republic of Ireland or by email at jo@samaritans.org. Comments will be disabled on this blogpost, but it’s worth saying that every single comment received was respectful to Hugh and his family.

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NAMA was back in the Commercial Court division of the High Court yesterday in its case against former employee Enda Farrell and his wife Alison Kramer (Alice Kramer). Reporting in the Independent today claims that NAMA’s investigation into the alleged unauthorized removal of confidential information by Enda, is now concluded – it started in August 2012, days after NAMA started investigating the sale of the property in Lucan to Enda. A complaint was made to An Garda Siochana on 12th September 2012, and the Independent today reports that NAMA “has begun handing over emails discovered during its biggest ever internal investigation to the garda fraud squad”

The Independent reports that “last night NAMA was for the first time free to begin sharing findings from its internal investigation with garda Bureau of Fraud officers who will investigate the case”

It is not clear from the Independent’s reporting why NAMA has “only begun” handing over emails to the Gardai and why it can only “now” share findings, given that the initial complaint was made by NAMA to the Gardai on 12th September 2012.  Is this the sort of shoddy journalism, the Irish Times is addressing when it claims to bring us the “story of why”?

NAMA is reported to have sought a number of orders in court yesterday, but the Independent doesn’t elaborate on these orders, save to say that Enda and Alison (Alice) consented to the orders.

As regards the removal of the information by Enda and its transfer to at least 15 individuals and firms, NAMA is reported to have obtained injunctions against these individuals and firms stopping the information being spread or used, and the recipients of the information have all assured NAMA that they won’t act on the information contained in the emails and they will preserve and keep confidential the information – let’s hope NAMA got them to cross their hearts and hope to die on those assurances which are likely to mean little, if anything, to NAMA’s debtors.

Bizarrely NAMA is reported to have told the court that it is not pursuing a damages claim against Enda and his wife. This follows on from NAMA’s claim that it has not sustained significant damage from the incident. NAMA’s debtors might still be scratching their heads at that claim.

But at least NAMA is claiming its legal costs from Enda and Alison and there is to be a hearing next week on the matter. Presumably, NAMA will be absorbing the bill of the internal investigation which will not have been cheap. Those charged with overseeing NAMA will be scratching their heads at that state of affairs.

So, it looks as if NAMA’s legal case against Enda and Alison is coming to an end. But Enda still faces a Garda investigation and the possibility of a €5m fine or up to five years in prison (or both!). There was a also a complaint to the Data Protection Commissioner. NAMA’s developers will be monitoring progress on both investigations.

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