I am sure there is new information in the Ronald Quinlan article in the Sunday Independent today about NAMA’s pursuit of Sean and Gayle Dunne through the US courts – it’s just unclear what it is.
As regards this week’s hearing where the feisty Gayle is described as looking “vulnerable”, there is little reference in Ronald’s report to the proceedings. But if any of you can decipher the sentence “While she [US judge] refused to remove a protective order preventing Mr McDonagh’s deposition a witness, she left it up to both sides to decide a date for McDonagh’s deposition” please let us know. Now I think that Ronald is trying to say something here. Despite RTE, the Indo and Irish Times who all had reporters in the Stamford court room this week, all reporting that the judge ordered that Brendan McDonagh be “deposed” – meaning present a statement to Sean and Gayle’s lawyers and allow himself be questioned by them – sources close to NAMA were disputing that such an order had been given. As of Friday this week, the judge’s written order is not on the US court system, PACER, so there might indeed be some obstacle remaining in Gayle’s path to have Brendan deposed, but we don’t know what it is, if indeed there is an obstacle at all.
However it is not the US court hearing this week, but the rejection of Sean Dunne’s business plan that the Sindo article contains most new information on, but even here it is distorted.
Sean is said to have been the 39th biggest NAMA developer by borrowings. But what were those borrowings? Ronald today claims that Sean owed €892m. Elsewhere he says Sean owed €538m to non-NAMA banks. Sean is said to owe €65-80m to Cork developer, Michael O’Flynn. We do know on here that NAMA obtained a €185m judgment from Sean. These numbers don’t seem to add up, though maybe Sean sold assets to pay off some of the debt. Who knows?
The Michael O’Flynn angle is odd. Ronald reports that Michael obtained a €65m loan from Irish Nationwide and gave it to Sean in 2006 to buy 65 acres of farmland in Kildare. Ronald claims that if Sean were to have succeeded in getting 70% of the 65 acres rezoned, then “the money would not be repayable [by Sean] to him [Michael]” Does this make any sense to anyone, or is Michael O’Flynn scouting the country trying to get lands rezoned on philanthropic grounds?
Ronald claims that when NAMA assessed Sean’s business plan, there were six reasons to reject the plan and only three to support it. So, what were the nine reasons, O Oracle?
I can’t find anything which would count as a reason for NAMA supporting Sean but this is my extraction and interpretation of the six reasons why NAMA rejected the plan (as with most crossword puzzles, I might be wrong, so don’t take this as Gospel)
(1) No need for additional office development in IFSC/docklands where Sean had property and sites. That was NAMA’s view in November 2010. After this week’s announcements, that assessment appears to have reversed.
(2) Sean wanted €196-275m to finish off his property, NAMA thought he only needed €28m
(3) NAMA would get €31m in rent over 10 years if it foreclosed against Sean
(4) Refusal of Gayle Dunne and three children from Sean’s first marriage to provide statement of assets. NAMA concerned about the €58m purchase of Walford, the crumbling Edwardian home on 2 acres on Shrewsbury Road. There were “reports” that Gayle was involved in the purchase.
(5) Sean owed €538m to non-NAMA banks (and what about Michael O’Flynn). Sean is said to have had €612m of net liabilities in his statement to NAMA.
(6) Ongoing litigation involving Sean Dunne
So, in the Sindo crossword today, we know that some clues are missing – reasons for NAMA to support Sean Dunne, for example. We may have misinterpreted other clues. And some clues – like whether the judge this week ordered that Brendan McDonagh be deposed, or what was to happen to the Michael O’Flynn loan if 70% of the 65 acres in Kildare were rezoned – have stumped us completely. Maybe Ronald might publish the answers in next week’s edition…
UPDATE: 24th February, 2013. We have gotten our hands on the transcript of last Tuesday’s hearing which supports Gayle’s comment as to the deposition of Brendan McDonagh. In other words, there is no order that Brendan be deposed at this stage, but having deposed John Coleman, Gayle and Sean can come back to the Connecticut court to seek to depose Brendan, and the court will give Gayle and Sean a date to depose Brendan.