Thursday, June 23, 2022

High court reporters

A 65-year-old woman has claimed before the High Court that she is being wrongfully being made personally liable by financial fund Everyday Finance for a €3.19 million debt owed by her ex-partner’s company.

The action has been brought by Yvonne Cotter who claims that her signature was forged on personal guarantee given in respect of monies advanced to a company called Top Quarries Ballinasloe Ltd, that she claims was set up by her former partner, businessman William Jones.

Arising out of Everyday’s demand she is seeking a High Court injunction preventing a receiver appointed by the fund from selling two rental properties she owns.

Ms Cotter, who works as a childminder, claims that earlier this month the receiver, insolvency practitoner Ken Tyrell of PwC was appointed over her properties at Albert College Drive, Glasnevin, Dublin 9 and Newtown Park, Ballymun, Co Dublin.

Ms Cotter said the loans for those properties were taken out with AIB and were later acquired by Everyday Finance.

She had been repaying the mortgages and accepts that some €166,000 remains due and owning on those properties.

Last March Everyday issued demands in respect of those loans.

In a sworn statement to the High Court, she says she can redeem the loans out of her and her family’s savings.

In April Everyday issued a demand for €3.19 million for personal guarantee’s she denies giving in respect of monies advanced to Top Quarries.

She claims she is not liable for Top Quarries debts.

However, Everyday claims the two properties are security for the monies it claims is due in relation to the guarantee.

She said she began a relationship with Mr Jones, a Donegal-based businessman, a few years after her husband’s death. That relationship began in 2001, and ended in 2011.

She said while Mr Jones had been involved in dozens of companies during their relationship, she had no knowledge of these entities, has no personal experience in business, nor any involvement in any of the companies’ affairs.

She discovered some years ago, and well after the relationship ended that Mr Jones had listed her as an officer of firms, she “had never heard of”.

Ms Cotter, who resides at Botanic Road, Glasnevin, Dublin alleges that without her knowledge Mr Jones “signed documents on her behalf without her knowledge” and used “undue influence” on her to sign documents that she had “neither read nor understood.”

Galway quarry

She claims that in 2005 Mr Jones bought a quarry in Ballinasloe, Co Galway, through Top Quarries.

She said that in 2010 AIB had served a demand on her for a payment of €3.19 million. She was shocked by this but was told by Mr Jones to ignore the letter and that he would deal with it.

She said that in 2015 she was provided with a document that purports to be a personal guarantee of €3.19 million from her and Mr Jones in respect of loans advanced to Top Quarries by AIB.

In a sworn statement to the court she says that she never signed this document, which the receiver is now relying on, and that “somebody forged my signature”.

A handwriting expert she retained said in a report that there is strong evidence to support the proposition that Ms Cotter did not write the signature in her name on the 2008 documents and that they are poor simulations of her general signature style.

In her High Court challenge against Everyday Finance DAC and Mr Tryell she seeks an injunction restraining the defendants from dealing with, taking possession of, or selling the properties in Ballymun and Glasnevin pending the outcome of her action.

In her proceedings she ultimately seeks several orders including a declaration that she is not indebted to Everyday on foot of a 2008 guarantee she claims was forged and not signed by her.

She also seeks an order that any claim against her in respect of any debt owed by Top Quarries Ballinasloe Ltd is statute barred.

She further seeks damages.

Represented by David Geoghegan Bl, Ms Cotter secured permission, on an ex-parte basis, from Mr Justice Brian O’Moore to serve short notice of the injunctive proceedings against the Mr Tyrell and Everyday Finance.

The case will come back before the court next month.

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