Kildare developer alleges Arthur French, auctioneer and K Club stalwart, claimed to have “political connections” with Fine Gael that would help ensure NAMA didn’t accept his proposals
Notwithstanding his ongoing engagement with senior NAMA officials, Flattery alleged that at a meeting in the Ryevale Tavern in Leixlip last year, French told him that he would not be given an opportunity to develop the Straffan site.
Flattery and Mulberry then bid €6.02m for the Straffan site but, again, this was rejected as an undervaluation of the landbank. A higher offer matching a valuation by DTZ Sherry Fitzgerald of €6.9 for the lands was also rejected. In a letter in March this year, the agency said that it did not wish to breach its policy of not doing off-market sales. This, despite the fact that NAMA had engaged in discussions with Flattery and his son for an ‘off market’ sale.
NAMA then disclosed that it had an unsolicited bid, from a different buyer which was in excess of Flattery’s offer, despite the fact that the site had not been advertised and had no ‘for sale’ sign on it. Again, Flattery suspected that people with more powerful “political connections” were attempting to obtain the lands from NAMA.
Flattery initiated the latest judicial review proceedings on the basis that he had been the victim of unfair procedures by the agency, which provided no detailed or evidential reply to his dramatic claims
When the parties convened on Thursday 27th October, lawyers for Flattery and NAMA hammered out a settlement which, although confidential, apparently allows the agency to proceed with its sale of the lands by a receiver as part of a larger portfolio.
Arthur French owes €50m to IBRC following a series of loans from Michael Fingleton’s Irish Nationwide Building Society and property and land purchases in Dublin, Kildare, Galway and Two Mile Borris in Tipperary. As of 2012 ten of his properties were in NAMA. The Sunday World reported that he had “cashed in around €10m of successful property developments in the last three years but has failed to pay any of what he owes to the State”.
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