Longford car dealer John Alex Kane’s showroom has been sold as €4.9million tax saga draws to a close: ‘Amazing intimidation’

After five years littered with reports of incidents including arson, property damage, intimidation and attempted animal poisoning, the long-running receivership of properties once owned by well-known car dealer John Alex Kane is finally nearing completion.

An agreement has been reached for the sale of Kanes of Granard, the former showroom and motor forecourt in Co Longford where Mr Kane worked. The closing of the transaction earlier this month was a milestone for Myles Kirby, the liquidator appointed by the IRS in 2017 for several of Mr Kane’s properties.

Yesterday, agents of the bankruptcy trustee were in a yard behind the forecourt grounds to begin removing eight derelict school buses said to have been dumped there by one of Mr Kane’s associates.

Mr Kirby of Kirby Healy Chartered Accountants was appointed after the Inland Revenue struggled to get a £4.9m judgment. The sale of Kanes of Granard raised over £1.5m, the sum remaining under receivership up to has been recovered to date.

The High Court heard in March that five other properties had already been sold in the Co Longford area. But the process was far from easy, given Mr Kirby’s lawyers’ claims of “staggering” levels of intimidation against potential buyers and other acts designed to disrupt sales.

In an affidavit filed with the court earlier this year, tax inspector John Magee alleged Mr Kane “waged an active and determined campaign of obstruction and intimidation”.

“The intimidation of prospective buyers by the defendant [Mr Kane] and/or persons acting under his direction likely resulted in some reduction in the price at which the properties were eventually sold,” he said.

“The measures taken to prevent the defendant from interfering with the sale of the properties have significantly increased the costs involved in achieving a sale.”

Incidents, detailed at various court hearings, included a petrol bomb attack and a dealership break-in in July 2017, and the burning of a vehicle in front of it the following October.

These were just two of over 100 documented incidents at the site.

In May 2018, an auctioneer was allegedly threatened and signs posted warning of potential buyers.

The Supreme Court heard that Mr. Kane was arrested but released without charge.

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Some of the buses are removed from receivers in Granard Co Longford. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Some of the buses are removed from receivers in Granard Co Longford. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Some of the buses are removed from receivers in Granard Co Longford. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Other incidents would be tried in court over the following years. These included the alleged firing of a shotgun near the home of a farmer who was in talks to buy property in Willsbrook, Co. Longford, to “send him a message”. Around 100 of the farmer’s hay bales are said to have been slashed open and destroyed.

Allegedly, threatening phone calls were made to a Co Mayo farmer who was buying cattle from the recipient and demanding money.

A forestry company is said to have pulled out of the purchase of land in Cranleybeg, Co. Longford, after a director received a threatening letter at his Dublin home.

The Supreme Court also heard claims that farmers who bought land from the receiver contaminated milk and poisoned horse feeders.

Mr Kane (48) has consistently denied claims that he was the organizer of the campaign.

Earlier this year, however, he ended up behind bars for two months for contempt of court after breaching an obligation not to interfere with Mr Kirby’s work. A district court judge also found him guilty of trespassing at his former car dealership after a garda saw him there with a tool.

His brother Seamus, 51, has been jailed three times for defying court orders and promises not to interfere with Mr Kirby’s work.

The recipient has claimed the abandoned buses were thrown into the lower courtyard of Kanes of Granard by Michael Grimes, a lay adviser to Mr Kane, in January 2020 to thwart the recipientship. Mr. Grimes, 85, faces trespassing charges in connection with the alleged incident in the District Court.

A bankrupt from Kilpatrick, Innishannon, Co Cork, he received a two and a half year suspended sentence for VAT fraud in 2018. The IRS is attempting to impose the penalty over an alleged breach of the terms, but Mr Grimes has launched judicial proceedings to stop them.

After the sale of the forecourt area, only a few properties are likely to remain for sale. These include Bent Elbow, a former pub in Stradone, Co Cavan.

The High Court ruled earlier this year that Mr Kane was the beneficial owner of the premises his wife Lucy Pinfold had claimed she owned.

Despite the loss of these properties, Mr Kane has so far been able to keep his sizeable family home in Cartron, near Granard, after agreeing to pay the recipient €450,000 for it. Most, if not all, of the sum is believed to have been handed over.

On one occasion, Mr. Kane presented 58,000 euros in cash in court to make an installment payment. He later said he was “insolvent” and had borrowed money “from here, there and everywhere” to make the payments.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/staggering-levels-of-intimidation-car-dealer-john-alex-kanes-showroom-sold-as-49m-tax-saga-nears-end-42002632.html Longford car dealer John Alex Kane’s showroom has been sold as €4.9million tax saga draws to a close: ‘Amazing intimidation’

Fry Electronics Team

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