herald

Tuesday 24 April 2018

Sean Dunne has a vendetta against me, says cleaning woman

A woman whose company is facing allegations that it overcharged a client for cleaning services has claimed in the High Court that businessman Sean Dunne has a vendetta against her.

Eugenia Pacelli, aka Gina Farrell and trading as Gina Farrell Cleaning Services is being sued by Hollybrook (Brighton Road) Management Company Ltd, who allege that Ms Farrell's company was in breach of contract by reason of fraud for overcharging for the provision of cleaning services at a complex of luxury apartments managed by Hollybrook at Brighton Road, Foxrock Co Dublin.

The High Court heard that Hollybrook was seeking more than €120,000 for allegedly being overcharged and double-charged by Ms Farrell's firm on dates between May 2003 and early 2006, when their arrangement ended.

Ms Farrell, of Dangan Park, Kimmage Road West, Dublin 12, denies all the claims against her or that Hollybrook was overcharged by her firm.

In her defence she claims Hollybrook is under the control of businessman and developer Sean Dunne and that the action has been brought against her "solely at the behest and instructions of Mr Dunne pursuant to a vendetta which he has against her".



BUILDERS

She further claims that the complex was built by DCD builders and the apartments were sold by Mountbrook Homes Ltd, a company in which the share capital is held 50-50 by Mr Dunne and Sispara Ltd, an Isle of Man-registered company.

She added that the appointment of her firm as cleaners at the complex and the termination of that position was made at the direction of Sean Dunne.

Opening the case, Paul Byrnes, SC for Hollybrook, said that the defendant also controlled another company, All First Property Management Ltd -- which has since gone into liquidation -- also contracted by Hollybrook for the provision of services at the complex.

After the arrangements ended in 2006 Hollybrook made numerous requests to the defendant to hand over books and records so that Hollybrook could complete its accounts.

Litigation followed and when the books were secured, Hollybrook claims that its investigations revealed that it had been defrauded by the defendant.

Counsel claimed "significant and substantial alterations" were made to log books recording all those coming and going to the complex, and that the alterations were in Ms Farrell's handwriting.

Counsel said that logs were altered to show that there were two cleaners at the complex when only one attended, or when no cleaners attended. Under the terms of the contract, the company was to provide two cleaners from 9am to 1pm.

Counsel further said that there were discrepancies between invoices sent to Hollybrook by the defendant which further revealed that his client was being overcharged.

Counsel said that it was alleged that the amount overcharged by the defendant was €67,000. When everything else was added up, such as accountants' fees and interest accrued, the total value of Hollybrook's claim came to €122,000.

After being informed that the action might take more than five days to hear, Ms Justice Mary Laffoy invited the parties to consider going into mediation.



RIDICULOUS

Given the amount of monies claimed in the dispute and the legal costs of running a case in the High Court for such a duration, the judge said that matter before her "did seem ridiculous" and did "not make commercial sense".

Following consultations between the parties, counsel for Ms Farrell Roughan Banim said his client did not want to take up the invitation to enter mediation given the nature of the allegations against her that had been made in open court.

Counsel added that the parties had met last March to explore entering mediation, but nothing came of that meeting.

The case continues.

hnews@herald.ie

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