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Businesswoman claims €1 million wrongly used to renovate a hotel housing Ukrainian refugees

Yvonne Treacy says the money, from a firm jointly owned with her husband, was used without her consent or permission.

Image: Shutterstock

A BUSINESSWOMAN HAS claimed before the High Court that €1 million from a company she and her husband jointly own has been used “in breach of company law” to buy and renovate a hotel that is being used to house Ukrainian refugees.

The action has been brought by Co Wexford-based Yvonne Treacy, who is a director and 50 % shareholder of Combray Limited which owns and operates the Enniscorthy Hotel & Slaney Suites in Co Wexford.

She is seeking permission from the High Court to bring an action, known as a derivative action, on Combray’s behalf against her husband Anton Treacy, who owns the other 50% of Combray, and other parties over the purchase and refurbishment of the Golf Hotel in Ballybunion, Co Kerry.

Mr Treacy is the son of well-known Waterford-based hotelier Jim Treacy, whose family own and operate several hotels around Ireland.

The action initiated by her is also against Blackoak Limited, Timbertoes Ltd, which were allegedly involved in the acquisition of and refurbishment of the hotel, and Edward Keena, who the court heard is Anton Treacy’s brother-in-law and a registered half-owner of the Golf Hotel.

She claims that approximately €1 million of Combray’s money was used to pay for and refurbish the Ballybunion-based hotel without her consent or permission.

The court heard that she has been informed that the money from Combray will be repaid, she claims that Combray has “a strong beneficial claim” to ownership of 50% of the Co Kerry hotel, and the profits it generates.

The Kerry hotel is allegedly in receipt of “a very significant income and profits”, estimated to be over €490,000 per month, under the Housing Standard Accommodation Recognition Payment Scheme for housing refugees from Ukraine.

In proceedings, she seeks to bring on Combray’s behalf various orders and declarations are sought including that Combray is the beneficial owner of any legal claim made by Anton Treacy in connection with the Golf Hotel.

Damages and declarations including that Combray is the beneficial owner of profits made by the buy and renovation of the hotel, and of any monies withdraw from the company and spent on the hotel are also being sought.

Represented by Gary McCarthy SC, with Arthur Cunningham Bl Yvonne Treacy claims that Combray contributed 50% of the purchase and refurbishment costs generated by the Co Kerry hotel.

Counsel said that it appears that the monies have been withdrawn from Combray over the last twelve months.

Counsel the funding was provided from Combray in breach of the 2014 Companies Acts and amounts to a breach of the fiduciary duty owed by her estranged husband’s to the firm he jointly owns with his wife.

The court heard that Mrs Treacy claims that the Golf Hotel is currently owned by Anton Treacy and Edward Keena on trust for Blackoak.

Blackoak, she claims is owned by two of Mr Treacy’s brothers.

She further alleges that the ownership of Blackoak is to be transferred, which to Timbertoes Unlimited Company, which she also alleges is controlled by the Treacy family.

She fears that some of the profits generated by the Co Kerry hotel may be used to reduce her husband’s indebtedness to parties including financial institutions.

Her concerns have been heightened arising out of the couple’s separation following the break down of their marriage earlier this year.

She claims that requests she has made to Anton Treacy for a full account of any and all funds taken from Combray have not been addressed properly.

She claims that she initiated High Court proceedings because of an alleged failure by Anton Treacy to provider her solicitor with certain undertakings.

Her husband did provide undertakings not to use any monies from Combray to reduce his debts, other undertaking, including her request to be given documents concerning where Combray’s monies have been transferred to, were not given.

The case came before Mr Justice Brian O’Moore today.

The judge on an ex-parte basis, granted the applicant permission to serve short notice of her application to be allowed bring proceedings on Combray’s behalf against the respondents.

The matter will return before the court later this month.

About the author:

Aodhan O Faolain

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