Monday, October 25, 2010

Ciaran Maguire Claims He Gave Deposits Back

OK, latest installment on the weirdness that is the CMG and Flash Developments story courtesy of the Sunday Business Post.

Mr. Maguire claims he's given the deposits back to the agency selling the property but it was never passed back to the investors - Anthony Joyce (solicitor) says there is no evidence to suggest that he did any such thing. Joyce also says most of the money was paid directly to Flash Developments, which Maguire denies.

KPMG (Flash Liquidators) also claim that Maguire has no title in CV, which he denies vehemently - but still appears incapable of producing documentation to prove ownership. Very strange stuff.

Note, there are no claims of this being a €1.8 billion Resort anymore.

Dublin-based businessman CiarĂ¡n Maguire, who is being sued by a group of investors in a €100 million resort in Cape Verde, has claimed that he refunded their deposits to the sales agency but that the money has not been passed on to the investors.

Maguire told The Sunday Business Post that he had been in discussions with Dublin solicitor Anthony Joyce, who is representing the group who have lodged a class action in the High Court against Maguire and his company, the Ciaran Maguire Group.

They are seeking immediate repayment of their deposits. Maguire claims that the investors represented by Joyce bought through a sales agency and not through him or his companies.

‘‘I refunded the agency. Now, unfortunately, that was never recycled back," said Maguire.

‘‘I’ve a very, very clear paper trail to show I’ve actually paid the agency back."

However, Joyce said the case would be proceeding until all monies were repayed to his clients.

He said that ‘‘a number of clients had paid small deposits to an agency, but they paid the remaining monies to Flash Developments’’, another company controlled by Maguire.

‘‘We’ve seen no paperwork to suggest Maguire had refunded any money to the agency," said Joyce.

Flash Developments collapsed into liquidation last May, and the High Court ordered an investigation into the company, after evidence emerged that it had used deposits from buyers to finance the running of the firm.

Court documents also include claims that the company did not have title to land in Cape Verde, but Maguire continues to claim that he has title to the land.

‘‘I’ve subsequently been liaising with KPMG, and they are now happy that Ciaran Maguire Group does have the contracts in place with the Cape Verde government and does have the relevant title on the land in Boa Vista," he told The Sunday Business Post.

But liquidator Kieran Wallace of KMPG said that this was not the case. ‘‘We have no evidence whatsoever to date that Maguire has title on any land in Cape Verde," Wallace told this newspaper.

‘‘We understand that he put a lot of money down on two plots of land through Flash Developments and never got title.

There’s no paperwork to show title on any land.

We’ve seen no proof that he’s repaid any monies."

However, Maguire insists that the Ciaran Maguire Group is continuing to build the Palm View development of 400 apartments and villas on the island of Boa Vista. He said that construction on the 111-acre plot had begun, and that completions were expected by December 2011.

According to Maguire, 300 units have been sold off the plans in the first phase of the scheme, with prices ranging from €50,000 up to €865,000.

Monday, September 20, 2010

'Get Your Money Back' Seminar to be held in Dublin

The Spanish Property Action Group and Bulgarian Property Action Group have formed an alliance to host the 'Get Your Money Back' seminars. The first of these seminars is to be held at the Rathcoole Suite, Citywest Hotel in Dublin on the 2nd of October 2010.

These seminars are aimed at the thousands of Irish and British property investors who invested in off-plan property in Spain and Bulgaria and are now desperately trying to reclaim their money due to the failure of developers to deliver the finished developments.

Many property developments in Spain and Bulgaria have not been completed, some without water and electricity, some are half built and others were never started. The developers and banks involved have continually refused any requests to fulfill contractual obligations and where deposits have successfully been recovered, this has taken some years. In some cases, this has led to extreme hardship. People have lost their life savings or retirement funds and are all victims of the illegal activities of unscrupulous developers and the lawyers representing them.

Those involved with the Action Groups know how to recover funds because they have already done it successfully and know the pitfalls to avoid. The Action Groups are now in a position to offer a realistic, low entry cost service as well as sound, proven advice to those in similar positions.

For more information, contact:

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sell Your Bulgarian Property

Bulgaria has got some very bad press since it first aspired to being the darling of the overseas property industry from 2004 to 2006. As with all such situations, some of the negative press is deserved and some of it is not. There is no doubt the country got caught at just the wrong time in a huge property bubble that swept much of Europe and has caused untold misery in property markets, most notably across several of the former Soviet states. If it were a few years earlier to the party a lot of the property in the process of being built around a variety of resorts in Bulgaria would have been finished, supplying the bedrock of completed developments on which a second-hand property industry could base itself. If it hadn’t started until a few years later the country may well have saved itself and a raft of overseas property investors a lot of pain.

It is important to note that not all property stories emanating from Bulgaria are negative. Outside of the beach and ski resorts there have been some surprisingly favourable reports. While there are certainly some developments that will never be completed because there simply aren’t the funds or the demand to do so, there are many completed developments and significant numbers nearing completion. The uncompleted developments will undoubtedly gain most of the press coverage which will have a negative impact on the property industry in Bulgaria for many years to come. In the resort areas in particular there will be the scarring of half-finished developments, much like what happened in Spain during the eighties and something that is being repeated there today. Indeed we have our own blight of incomplete developments here in Ireland, the big difference is that they are not all located in a few areas which makes them substantially less obvious.

As part of the positive story in Bulgaria, Tom Fingleton of Buyinbulgaria, one of the longest standing and most successful Irish property companies involved in the Bulgarian market, says he and his company have been quite successful reselling a number of its own clients’ apartments in Sofia over the past two years. The buyers are exclusively Bulgarian, and will pay current market prices rather than the inflated prices that may have been paid when these properties were first purchased.

Average apartment prices across Sofia in the past year have worked out in the €800-900 per sq m for finished or unfinished apartments. This is, unfortunately, a long way short of the €1,400 to €1,800 per sq m paid by a lot of Irish investors at the peak of the boom. It is a market, nevertheless, for those who have to get an exit at any price. Fingleton claims it could be argued the market was never above €1,000 per sq. meter but there is no doubt property was sold well above this level.

The company uses its own office in Sofia to sell units through a selection of smaller local agents in Sofia. Fingleton says the company now has a lack of product so it is looking for properties it can promote. Only a small number of units are managed at any one time to ensure personalised service. There are, he says, never more than 10 properties on their books at any one time.
For further information contact 01-254-4155 or visit

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

CMG Fails To Answer Legal Questions

I know, the post title is pretty familiar at this stage, but this is a very different set of questions being asked by some serious people - Justice Finlay Geoghegan in the High Court to be specific. These questions have been thrown up by the liquidation of Flash Developments, which had been holding the contracts and money of investors in the Palm View Resort in Boa Vista, Cape Verde.

In a piece in the Sunday Business Post on June 27th Ian Kehoe claimed that the "High Court has ordered an investigation into property company Flash Developments, after evidence emerged that the company may have used deposits from buyers to finance the running of the firm."

It went on to claim: "It has also emerged in court documents that the company, which is headed by businessman Ciaran Maguire, may not have title over land in Cape Verde, where it had proposed to build a €100 million property scheme."

It also claimed: "documents filed last week by the liquidator, KPMG accountant Kieran Wallace, said that Flash appeared 'to have financed the general running of the company' from the deposits it received, rather than place them on secure deposit. "

The Insolvency Journal had the following on June 23rd: "The High Court also heard on Monday that the liquidator of Flash Developments Ltd, Kieran Wallace, is pursuing an investigation into representations made on behalf of the company which appear to suggest that the company may have taken deposits for villas and apartments when it didn't have the authority to do so.

The firm, controlled by businessman Ciaran Maguire, was placed into liquidation in May following a court petition by international recruitment firm Hays.

Flash Developments had received deposits from 200 Irish and British investors for properties in a proposed €100 million resort on Cape Verde. But speaking to the Sunday Business Post last month, Magure insisted that all of the deposits were safe, despite the wind-up of the firm, because all contracts, development lands and credit lines had been transferred to another company – the Ciaran Maguire Group."

These are very, very serious claims of fraudulent activity and we didn't feel it was right to put such claims on the blog, even though the claims weren't ours, without asking Ciaran for a comment on them. In fairness, he's been fairly forthcoming in the recent past, answering most of the queries we've put to him. So we did just that - and didn't get an answer. Instead his office responded to say he was in Cape Verde and would like to be given a chance to respond on his return.

So we waited, and waited, and waited. Still nothing.

Eventually, on July 13th Ciaran came back to us with the following: "I have just returned from Cape Verde and can confirm that building works are on going and I will furnish you with the updated pictures tomorrow. I can also confirm that the claims from Kieran Wallace are absolutely false and I am very much looking forward to outlining all the actual facts. I would also like to highlight that Kieran Wallace has no involvements in Ciaran Maguire Group and therefore has never seen any documentation in the Ciaran Maguire Group including contracts thus making these claims unfounded."

So we waited for the follow-up - but it never came. In fact, Ciaran has stopped responding to our emails completely for some reason so we've had to put up the post without further input from him.

Today (July 20th) the following appeared on the Boa Vista Experience Forum from the user CMG:

Dear all,

I would like to convey that under the advice from my legal team, I will no longer be in a position to post comments on this forum. Despite several requests to sit down with interested parties in both my office in Dublin and including making myself available to fly to the U.K. to meet with any interested parties, I have not received one offer. I have made it categorically clear that I was happy to answer all questions put to me.

Sitting down and having a face to face meeting would have given me the opportunity to outline and display the facts allowing me to furnish these parties with all the relevant documentation. I believe this would have allowed you to give a true reflection on Palm View Resort.

In light of the above my legal team have been working on logging and detailing all the posts made on this forum. It is now my intention to aggressively seek compensation for defamation and reputational damages. I would like to highlight to the careless bloggers on this forum that my legal team have now traced all the IP addresses and real names behind the identified bloggers and will be issuing the legal letters to the aforementioned.

The people on this forum who have made comments deemed to be defamatory please note; I intend to use these posts on this forum as evidence against you in a court of law.

In relation to the existing 200 plus clients and investors in Palm View; I would like to advise that my office will be furnishing you with updated pictures of on going works on site and general monthly updates. We are on schedule for completion in December 2011 and we can all look forward to seeing Palm View coming to fruition.


Ciaran Maguire."

This follows a similar threat on the same forum on June 14th last. Following that post we were contacted by a number of posters on the forum who said Ciaran hadn't even got their country right in some cases.

This IP Address Tracking claim is a particularly strange one as most ISP's (Internet Service Providers such as Eircom and BT) these days provide clients with what is termed a 'Dynamic IP Address'. It is a system whereby IP Addresses are assigned randomly to clients as they are needed, rather than individual IP Addresses being assigned permanently, which is a very poor use of ISP resources. Consequently, most people's IP addresses change at least once every day and several times in most cases, depending on usage. This system makes tracking the IP Address beyond the region in which it is based (e.g. Dublin, Waterford, Cork, etc.) virtually impossible.

It is possible that those hosting the forum could trace the odd post back to a fixed IP Address (common in larger companies who have very heavy internet usage), but not very many of them. In the main they are, and will remain, totally anonymous.

Consequently, Ciaran's claim that he has the names of people posting on this, or any other forum, is absolutely bizarre.

In any case, we've always been very forthcoming with our interest in this particular development, Ciaran knows exactly who we are and the questions we've got. We've also tried to be fair to the developer and have given him every opportunity to put his side of the debate to the general public where possible. He simply seems to have decided not to do so in the last few weeks which is a great shame.

If Ciaran decides to change his mind on this matter and does email us with further information we'll be sure to put it on the blog post-haste.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Legal Firm Seeks Spanish Property Buyers

Many Irish buyers of property in Spain have run into trouble for one reason or another over the past few years. Unfortunately they've not had much reason to feel particularly cheerful as it is a very lonely place to be and there usually isn't anybody to whom you can go for support.

Well these buyers, depending on their circumstances, may well be interested to hear that there is one company in Spain that may be able to help out.

That company is the European Advisory Service.

The following is from the company's site:

"In recent years major problems have arisen in the property market through over-development, corrupt councils and the recession. The market has collapsed and along with it a huge amount of investors’ money. Some big names in the development world have gone bust and investors are trying desperately to claw back their money with few results so far.

The question at the moments is: what are the chances of getting money back from a developer who has gone bust? Surprisingly, the answer is: excellent – although it won’t happen over night.

How Can Purchasers Claim Their Money Back?

Spain is still very much a socialist country and the laws here are designed to help the man in the street over and above the interests of companies and individuals of power and means. Contracts in Spain usually favour the weaker party and this is the same in the world of property development.

Knowing that there are laws to protect you, however, is not enough. Being able to utilize them for your benefit is the key to success and for this you will need a good, experienced and independent lawyer. By independent we mean not associated in any way with the developer.

We are not associated with any developers and are happy to assess your case without obligation and completely free of charge. Although our lawyers are already representing many people who have lost a lot of money to developers every situation is different and we will help you as an individual and advise on your particular circumstances.

Contact us now for a consultation to see how we can get your money, plus interest, back to where it belongs – with you.

We are particularly keen to speak to people who have purchased through Aifos, McAnthony Realty, Polaris World and Promociones Eurohouse 2010 (Fortuna Hills etc)."

Feel free to visit the company's site and see if it can be of assistance to you.

Note: has no connection with and stands to gain nothing from readers of this blog dealing with European Advisory Service. We also have no experience of the advice or support provided so cannot recommend it in any way.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Dubai Sports City CEO Resigns

We've learned from the new (and not fully operational yet according to the creators) website that U. Balasubramaniam (often simply called Bala) has resigned as CEO of the Dubai Sports City complex in the United Arab Emirates.

The article reads as follows:

"The monster sports themed proposed development claims notoriety in Ireland as that with which the Concerned Dubai Sports City Investors’ Group, now more often referred to simply as the Dubai Action Group, has taken issue over up to €20m in deposits which the investors fear have now been lost.

These investors bought off-plan apartments through Ennis, Co. Clare based overseas property agent, Larionovo, which went into Liquidation in November 2008. The investors are worried that cash invested, which many hoped would fund their retirements, is now tied up in Dubai, possibly never to be seen again. A meeting of the group in Dublin’s Citywest Hotel late in 2009 heard that investors have no idea if building work has started on some apartments, such is the difficulty in getting information from some Dubai Sports City developers. Some had received letters telling them the project had been put ‘on hold’ but there were no offers to return deposits.

In an email sent to his colleagues and contacts Balasubramaniam said: “The time has come for me to move on to a new phase in my professional career after seven eventful years as the Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Sports City. Leaving is never easy and although it has been a tough decision to take, I am looking forward to taking some time off and pursuing other interests. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Dubai Sports City and am very grateful for the support that I have received from the Stakeholders, the company President, the Management and all the staff, who have been of great help to me in carrying out my job and its responsibilities.

It has been a pleasure to make associations and come to know you over the years and would like to personally thank you for your friendship and support in working together to progress this truly unique and great project.”

In an interview in April 2007, Balasubramaniam was quite bullish about the prospects of the Sports City developments finishing on time, since that time, however, there have been significant delays, in common with many other developments around the Emirate. While the global economic downturn took some time to take hold in the UAE, since striking it has proven to be extremely severe and prolonged.

On the latest Dubai Sports City update document, which was released in September ’09 the company claimed that completion had been reached on the Cricket Stadium, the Ernie Els Golf Course, the Butch Harmon School of Golf and the American Curriculum School. It also stated that the Victory Heights golf community had started to welcome residents, the Sports Acadamies Campus was nearing completion and that all roads, infrastructure and utilities were in place. Apart from Victory Heights no mention was made of the status of any other residential developments, which are numerous. A picture was included, however, of the Canal Residence West apartments, which appeared to be around 25% completed."

You can read the article on the website here.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sawgrass Marriott Golf - Chapter 11 Filing

This information is quite old, but these links may be useful for anyone looking for information on the Chapter 11 case of the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa in Florida - famous as the venue for Tiger Woods' public apology for his infidelities on Feb. 19th, 2010. It was owned by an Irish consortium, Redquartz Boundary Ltd., which purchased it at the height of the boom in 2006 and was forced into a Chapter 11 filing by its lenders, Goldman Sachs, on January 28th 2010.

The statement released by the Sawgrass Marriott at the time of the filing read as follows: “This action is in response to the current global economic environment and the fact that an agreement on a restructure with the lenders could not be reached. This process will protect the resort and allow us to continue to operate business as usual. We are firmly committed to maintaining our world-class operation and foresee no changes in the day-to-day operations at Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa.”

The story has been reported in a number of media outlets since the announcement last March, here are just a few:

Sunday Business Post:

Irish Investors in the Rough

Irish investors, including well-known names in the business world, could lose up to $90million they invested in the buyout of a hotel on the Sawgrass golf course in Florida. About 100 investors, mainly high-net worth individuals, were involved in the $220 million buyout of the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa at the height of the boom in July 2006. The investors include Philip Lynch, chief executive of investment firm On€51. More...

Irish Independent:

Florida Dream Resort's Value has Halved, say Irish Investors.

THE Irish owners of the Sawgrass Golf Resort and Spa believe the Florida property known for hosting Tiger Woods' February apology is worth less than half the $250m (€204m) they've ploughed into it.

The valuations emerged in a Jacksonville courtroom this week as Irish investors, including financier Niall McFadden, fended off an attempt to have the resort seized and sold. More...

Jacksonville Business Journal

Sawgrass Marriott Owners file for Chapter 11

The owners of the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa in Ponte Vedra Beach have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Public records show RQB Resort LP and RQB Development LP filed for bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida yesterday, listing Goldman Sachs Group Inc. among its creditors and assets and debt of as much as $500 million each. More...

Sawgrass Marriott Case Summary