Court awards €550,000 in damages to businessman who let Grant Thornton’s liquidator sell property ‘without legal authority’

THE High Court has awarded a man €550,000 in damages against a receiver who acted “without legal authority” by owning five properties and selling three without a court order.

r Judge Anthony Barr was convinced it was appropriate to award exemplary damages as a sign of disapproval of the receiver’s “wrongful conduct”.

The judge said Grant Thornton’s liquidator, Michael McAteer, did not undersell the three properties or mismanage any of the 12 under his control.

He was content that Niall Hade, who ran a hostel business in Tallaght, did not suffer any direct financial losses from the receiver’s ownership and sale of some properties.

However, the court was entitled to express its disapproval of the “egregious act” of selling three properties and owning five without a warrant by awarding Mr Hade €550,000 in damages against Mr McAteer, Mr Justice Barr said.

He issued the order in a lawsuit brought by Mr Hade, who represented himself in court, against Bank of Ireland Mortgage and Mr McAteer.

In a bank case against Mr. Hade and his wife, Joyce Hade, the judge issued a joint and several judgment against them for €2 million.

This is because of a €2.7 million loan taken out in June 2006 to refinance loans on her family home and other properties.

It was secured across eight properties.

He entered a further judgment of €1.4m against Mr Hade for €1.2m paid to him in September 2007 for the purchase of four plots of land at St Maeiruns Park, Oldbawn, Tallaght, Dublin 24 which also served as security, were granted.

Between around 1985 and 1999 Mr Hade ran two facility rental companies before running a hostel in a building on Kilakee Way in Dublin on behalf of the Government until 2016.

The couple, who have five children, fell into arrears at a time when only interest was due on the loans, the judge said.

In September 2011, the bank demanded the immediate full repayment of both loans plus interest totaling €3.9 million.

Between 2011 and 2013 it appointed Mr. McAteer as receiver for all 12 security properties.

In his most recent decision, the judge found that five of the properties were affected as of December 17, 2009 Mortgage, which agreed that these would be treated as “home loans” and “home loan mortgages” under the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act of 2009, although they did not strictly fall under the qualifying criteria set out in the Act.

This statute requires a receiver with respect to certain mortgages created after December 1, 2009 to obtain a court order allowing it to take possession of the mortgaged property and a court order permitting the sale of the property allowed, the judge said.

Such a requirement can be circumvented by the terms of a mortgage deed, unless the loans qualify as “home loans” within the meaning of the 2009 Act, he added. Court awards €550,000 in damages to businessman who let Grant Thornton’s liquidator sell property ‘without legal authority’

Fry Electronics Team

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