08 Aug 2022

Legal notice placed over property by businessman Bill Cullen must be vacated

Naas resident Jackie Lavin settles case against partner Bill Cullen

Bill Cullen with former wife Jackie Lavin

A High Court judge has ruled that a legal claim placed by businessman Bill Cullen on a property in Co Kerry he claims an interest in be vacated.

Mr Cullen claims an interest in a property known as Killegy House, Muckross, Killarney Co Kerry, in proceedings he has taken against a number of parties including receivers appointed over a number of his companies. 

He has sued Glencullen Holdings Ltd, Citygate Motor Group Ltd, Glencullen Properties Ltd, Glencullen Motor Properties Ltd, which are all in receivership, and insolvency practitioners Kavanagh Farrell who were appointed as receivers over the Glencullen firms' assets.

He has also sued Ulster Bank Ireland DAC, which held a charge over the property arising out of loans taken out with it by the Glencullen companies, and Seaconview Ltd which was assigned loans in 2016.

The property had also been the subject of other, separate proceedings taken by Mr Cullen's partner Ms Jackie Lavin. However, that action was settled following out of court talks in 2017.

In his action, which was commenced in 2018, the businessman seeks damages, including aggravated damages, and various declarations against those parties for a range of alleged wrongs committed against him.

He claimed that under the terms of a lending agreement with the bank in regards to refinancing the businesses he had retained a 50% interest in Killegy House.

As part of his claim, he also registered a 'lites pendentes' a notice which formally records that the ownership of Killegy House was in disputer, which several of the defendants sought to vacate.

Ruling a pretrial motion Mr Justice Senan Allen said he was satisfied to make an order vacating the notice on the grounds it was not properly registered in accordance with the requirements of the 2009 Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act.

The judge was not satisfied that the notice should be vacated on the ground that the businessman is not prosecuting his claim 'bona fide.'

In motions the receivers, the Glencullen companies and Seanconview dispute any claim Mr Cullen has in the property and that the legal notice should be vacated.

Mr Cullen opposed the action. He said that he was not trying to prevent the receivers from selling the property, but said that he was entitled to 50% of the proceeds of any sale of Killgey House.

He also indicated that he was prepared to amend or vacate the notice if certain undertaking were given by the receivers.

He further argued that his claim had nothing to do with Ms Lavin's action and he rejected claims made by some of the respondents that his action was not bona fide.

In his decision, the judge said he was satisfied that the 'lites pendentes' should be vacated on the grounds including that the notice, in this case, was not registerable.

The court held that even if Mr Cullen is successful in his main action, and is entitled to be paid money for a 50% share in the property, it would be an impossible leap from that to say the businessman had a beneficial interest in Killegy House as alleged. 

The matter will return before the court in the New Year.

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