Midlands property developer has almost €25 million in Celtic Tiger debt written off
Posted on 12th December 2022 at 22:33
Midlands property developer Tony Diskin has secured High Court approval to escape almost €25 million in Celtic Tiger-era debts from his property development business.
Mr Justice Alexander Owens granted Mr Diskin a personal insolvency arrangement (PIA) – a mechanism that allows individuals to escape significant bank and other debts – which will see him return to solvency with payment of a lump sum of €30,000.
Some €25,000 of this will go towards repaying a fraction of his €24.9 million in debts.
The court was told that the 44-year-old builder and property developer from Athlone, Co Westmeath, who was a director of Diskin Enterprise, was involved in numerous property developments that failed due to the economic crash of 2007-08, leaving Mr Diskin with residual debts of more than €25 million.
He was the developer behind Glenatore, an unfinished housing estate near Athlone where a two-year-old boy drowned in February 2012. The boy, Liam Keogh, from the adjoining Rindoon estate, was found in a pool of water adjacent to a drain on the incomplete housing estate. It is suspected that the toddler made his way on to the site after following his pet dog through a hole in the fence around an unfinished section of the ghost estate.
Westmeath County Council took legal action against Athway Construction, another company where Mr Diskin was a director, over the alleged failure to carry out a planning enforcement notice around the estate. Unfinished houses at Glenatore were demolished the following year.
The High Court was told on Monday that Mr Diskin owes multimillion euro debts to a number of financial institutions arising from his boom-time property development projects. AIB is owed €14 million and was the only creditor to object to his debt write-off plan. Other creditors include Bank of Ireland, which is owed €9 million; Cabot Financial is owed €201,000, while KBC Bank is owed €75,000.
Keith Farry, representing Mr Diskin, said that to try to solve his insolvent position, he sought the advice of his solicitor who recommended that he speak to the personal insolvency practitioner who advised that he was a suitable candidate for a PIA.
He told the judge that Mr Diskin earns €2,309 a month and has two dependent children with just €109 available to repay his unsecured creditors.
The court heard that Mr Diskin was seeking a six-month arrangement funded by a €30,000 lump sum coming from friends and family that would go towards his unsecured debts.
The solicitor said that €30,000 into €25 million of debt was “quite small” but that creditors would receive a return of 0.1 per cent of their debt under the arrangement but nothing in his bankruptcy.
Mr Diskin owes his mother Maurine €690,000 which will be written down to €180,000 and repaid over 15 years. He will remain living in the family home in Athlone, valued at €390,000 with the mortgage with KBC remaining due to the bank.
Mr Justice Owens approved the arrangement on the basis that it will enable Mr Diskin to resolve his indebtedness without resorting to bankruptcy and to retain his private residence. The judge said that it did not appear that the personal insolvency arrangement was unfairly prejudicial to any interested party.
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