Harry Crosbie looks at legal action over U2 property sale
Entrepreneur and developer Harry Crosbie is considering a legal challenge to the sale of the Hanover Quay recording studio to a U2 company.
The rock band recorded some of its most famous albums in the studio but Mr Crosbie is "deeply upset" that the studio was sold without his knowledge.
The studio adjoins his home in Dublin's docklands. The original warehouse building was owned by Mr Crosbie before it was bought through a Compulsory Purchase Order by Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA).
The DDDA sold it last year to a U2 entity without putting it up for public sale. The board of the DDDA has been accused of not getting the full value for the iconic property by putting it on the open market.
Mr Crosbie was one of the interested buyers who was excluded from the sale process.
Dublin TD Joe Costello asked the DDDA representatives at an Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee meeting on Thursday why the sale was conducted in a "secretive fashion" and why it was not offered to Mr Crosbie.
Addressing the DDDA's financial advisor John Crawley, the Dublin TD said: "I'm sure everybody around the table here would love to buy that property, which is worth €5m at the present time. It's the site that is valuable, not the actual piece of property itself because it is an old warehouse, but nobody had the option. It wasn't public knowledge.
"Nobody was offered it. But for some reason you decided that this particular band should be the ones who were offered it behind the scenes, no proper procurement policy followed. Is that how business was done?"
Mr Crawley denied the deal was done behind the scenes. He said the conduct of the sale represented "good practice in exceptional circumstances".
"We considered all of those issues, but we still looked into our hearts and were comfortable that the right decision had been made, the right process had been followed, that appropriate due diligence had been done," said Mr Crawley.
The chairperson of the committee John McGuinness said: "You looked into your heart - that's not exactly where you should look when you are selling a property. Your heart has nothing to do with it."
The possibility of Mr Crosbie taking legal action over the controversial sale will shock many in the music industry, who were aware that U2 and Mr Crosbie have been friends for decades.
He accompanied the band on several world tours and he invited U2 to play the first ever gig in The Point, now the 3 Arena. The band recorded Desire in The Point when it was still being developed.
The possibility that Mr Crosbie was considering legal action was reported in the Sunday Independent.
Neither the band nor Mr Crosbie were available for comment over the weekend.