Dispute over Brennanstown Road lots returns to court
Posted on 28th February 2022 at 21:30
A dispute involving developer Johnny Ronan over the sale of land and properties in the exclusive Brennanstown Road area of Cabinteely in Dublin has returned to the Commercial Court.
The dispute involves six lots of land and properties, in the Brennanstown Road/Lehaunstown Lane area which Mr Ronan, through his special purpose vehicle RGRE Devco No 7 (RGRE 7), agreed to buy for €29 million in 2020 but failed to complete the deal.
The same land had been the subject of a 2018 High Court dispute when Mr Ronan brought proceedings claiming rights of way over the property.
His case was against two companies Carlovent Ltd and Benreef Ltd, both of which went into receivership in January 2012. NAMA appointed Declan McDonald and William O’Riordan of PwC as receivers. The claim of rights of way was strongly disputed.
Those 2018 proceedings were settled in 2020 when Mr Ronan agreed, among other things, there were no rights of way and also agreed to buy the property for €29 million, Mr McDonald says in an affidavit.
RGRE7, of which Mr Ronan is the principal, put down a deposit of €2.9 million with a completion date for sale of March 2020.
The Covid pandemic broke out and a new completion date for the sale of May 21st, 2020, was agreed, Mr McDonald says. A special condition was also agreed whereby the sale would be rescinded, and the deposit lost, if RGRE7 did not complete on this new date.
Mr McDonald says RGRE7 did not complete by the new date and he found a new successful bidder whose identity he does not wish to disclose for confidentiality reasons.
RGRE7’s lawyers then said the receiver was not entitled to cancel the contract for sale and also stated that it would appear it was necessary for RGRE7 to issue proceedings to protect its position.
Mr McDonald says however no proceedings were issued by RGRE7. What did happen was RGRE7 wrote to rival developer, Tudor Homes, saying it had been the chosen bidder in the new sale and that there were issues about rights of way over the property and about the contract by RGRE7 to buy the land for €29m.
RGRE7 warned Tudor off the purchase saying it “will not hesitate” to enforce its rights and entitlements, the receiver says.
Mr McDonald says this was a clear attempt by RGRE7 to interfere with the sale process. He says RGRE7’s claims about Tudor Homes “fundamentally misrepresented” the situation regarding the sale.
As a result, Mr McDonald, on behalf of Carlovent and Benreef, seeks declarations from the court that RGRE7’s 2020 contract for sale has been lawfully rescinded, that the €2.9m deposit has been forfeited, and that the defendant has no legal or beneficial interest to the property.
The receiver also sought injunctions preventing RGRE7 from interfering in the sale to the unnamed third party.
However, on Monday, Mr Justice Denis McDonald was told this injunction aspect of the case had been resolved by undertakings having been given by the defendants.
The judge admitted the case to the fast track commercial list but said he was “somewhat sad” this dispute was back before the court because he thought it had been resolved.
“It is disheartening when parties fall out when you thought they had an agreement,” he said.
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