Davy Fitzgerald, no Better man, to Fight Pepper Vultures, in the High Court, to Clear his Good Name?

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GAA manager Davy Fitzgerald tells High Court he is a victim of fraud

Aodhan O’Faolain 

25th October 2022

GAA hurling manager Davy Fitzgerald has claimed in High Court proceedings he is the victim of a fraud that has resulted in a legal action against him before a Portuguese court.

The current Waterford senior hurling manager is fighting proceedings against him by a receiver and a fund in which possession is sought of a house owned by Mr Fitzgerald and in which his sister Helen lives.

Mr Fitzgerald from Sixmilebridge, Co Clare, claims he first discovered last July that his name had, without his knowledge or consent, been put on “false” mortgage documentation for “six or seven” properties in Portugal.

Mr Fitzgerald claims that a former ACC Bank official, Jarlath Mitchell, whom he had professional dealings with several years ago, entered his name on the “false mortgages and documents”.

Mr Mitchell, with an address at Drimnagh Road, Dublin, was jailed in 2013 for two years after he admitted stealing over €450,000 from customers to pay off debts from unsuccessful investments in the property market.

Mr Fitzgerald claims Mr Mitchell had been his “relationship manager” and accepts that he took out loans with ACC.

He alleges that based on Mr Mitchell’s advice he bought an apartment in Portugal.

That property is not the subject of the Portuguese action.

However, Mr Fitzgerald says he had no idea he was involved with the other properties until he received documents from the Portuguese courts during the summer.

He has had to instruct Portuguese lawyers to defend himself in those proceedings in Portugal.

In a sworn statement, Mr Fitzgerald, who is also a mentor in the Ireland’s Fittest Family TV programme, said that Mr Mitchell was jailed for falsifying documents.

He claims that €45,000 that was held on deposit in ACC which he claims is currently unaccounted for.

As a result, Mr Fitzgerald, represented by Ronnie Hudson Bl, instructed by solicitor Max Mooney, has sued ACC Loan Management and Mr Mitchell for damages for alleged fraud, negligence and deceit.

Mr Fitzgerald’s fraud proceedings were mentioned when a separate case against him and his sister Helen Fitzgerald came before the Deputy Master of the High Court John Glennon on Tuesday. The Master/Deputy Master deals with pretrial matters before they go before a judge of the High Court.

Pepper Finance and receiver James Anderson of Deloitte, who was appointed over certain assets of Mr Fitzgerald, had issued a summons against the siblings seeking possession of the property where Helen Fitzgerald lives, at Clonara, Sixmilebridge.

Mr Hudson told the Deputy Master that the mortgage for the property was taken out with ACC Bank, but the loan was allegedly acquired by Pepper, which counsel called “a vulture fund.”

Counsel said Mr Fitzgerald had obtained a mortgage for the house to pay off the loan for the house but was unable to redeem the mortgage of just over €200,000.

It was Mr Fitzgerald’s case that Pepper was refusing to allow him redemption of the mortgage unless he pays an interest surcharge of €25,000.

He claims that Pepper is not entitled to the surcharge, and the proceedings against him and his sister are needless and ill-conceived.

Mr Fitzgerald, who won All Ireland hurling titles as a player and manager with his native Clare, said that the action against his sister over the property could not be reasonably dealt with without reference to his own action against ACC and Mr Mitchell.

When the case against Mr Fitzgerald and his sister was called on Tuesday there was initially no appearance by the Pepper/receiver representatives and the case was struck out..

However, shortly afterwards, lawyers for the plaintiffs appeared and asked the Deputy Master to reinstate the case, as they had been detained in another courtroom.

Mr Hudson opposed the reinstatement and said the proceedings would result in Ms Fitzgerald being evicted..

His client, a well-known hurling player and manager who is also known for being “straight up” in his business dealings, wants to redeem the mortgage but was prevented from doing due to an unreasonable demand by Pepper.

Mr Glennon, after considering submissions from both sides, said that without the consent of the parties he did not have the legal power to reverse his decision.

He agreed with counsel for the plaintiffs that the reality of the situation was that the case would most likely be either reinstated on appeal or the summons could be re-issued in a short time.

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