Part 8: My Story.
What the hell is Innocent Misrepresentation?
The year was 1982 and Wendy and I couldn’t have been happier now a sale was agreed on Glencarrig; we had our third son Daniel to complete our family. I asked for and got an 8 week closing date on the sale of the house giving me time to find something for us to live in. To say we were relieved is an understatement. I had three wonderful healthy children, a stunning wife and money soon to be in sitting in my bank account. In fact so happy was I that I decided to throw a big celebration party in Glencarrig as a sort of goodbye to the house we hated so much knowing nothing could go wrong, now that the contracts had been signed and the deposit paid.
Wendy recived a call from her father, who was now living back in Cape Town, telling her that her mum was gravely ill and suggested that Wendy should immediate make arrangements to travel to be with her. Her mum sadly passed away shortly after she arrived. (photo: Wendy's mum and dad)
With Wendy away I set about looking for a new property to purchase, this time I wanted to find something well within my budget allowing me surplus for investment etc and with the recession deepening the choice of excellent properties available with heavily reduced asking prices had now become the perfect purchasers market . The 1980s in the Republic of Ireland was one of the state's bleakest times. An extremely irresponsible budget by the majority Fianna Fáil government in 1977, which included abolition of car tax and borrowing to fund current spending, combined with some global economic problems to ruin the Irish economy for most of the 1980s, causing high unemployment and mass emigration. The Charles Haughey and Garret FitzGerald governments made this bad situation much worse with more massive borrowing and tax rates as high as 60% (with one Fine Gael finance minister suggesting people were not being taxed enough). Ireland was being referred to as ‘the sick man of Europe’. So I was doubly delighted that we had sold Glencarrig at such great price.
Four weeks after the house contracts had been signed I had a call from my lawyers asking me to come in to see them as soon as possible. I hadn’t a clue what it was about but I immediately made myself available at their offices in Dublin.
I began to think things couldn’t get worse, until that is, one Saturday afternoon.
The call came eventually that the court case had been set and that a series of meetings with my appointed senior and junior counsel would take place immediately in the Four Courts law library. Nicholas Kearns was to be my senior counsel. (See photo)
I remember during cross examination the purchaser admitted that he was a conveyance lawyer and that my senior consel asked him why then did he not check before signing a contract re the planned Sothern Cross motorway? After all he was obviously on notice or he would never have asked the question whilst inspecting the property in the first instance. The purchaser replied that he had in fact asked me and that I had told him that to the best of my knowledge that the land was not going to be affected and he should check it out. I felt then that the purchaser was in trouble, being a conveyancing lawyer he SHOULD have checked it out, after all he must have heard of Caveat emptor, ‘Let the buyer be aware’. I believed I now had an excellent chance of winning this case. My lawyers, senior and junior counsels were all also quietly confident, in fact so much so that Nicholas promised that if by any chance I should lose this case he would defend me for free on appeal in the Supreme Court.
The following week was like living on a knife edge. I slept terribly and would wake up on the hour every hour thinking the unimaginable that I would lose the case. Finally the decision day had arrived. As I sat nervously in court surrounded by my legal team the judge handed down his verdict that he was awarding the case to the purchaser and that his deposit plus interest needed to be returned immediately. The court was packed, not only with both sides legal teams but my family and a large press contingent (Photo: Dublin's Four Courts where my case was being heard)
Hard to believe that years later my case would become a case study at the University of Dublin's law school stating that I should never have taken this case to court as I had no chance of winning !
I had said ‘things couldn’t have got worse, who was I kidding?’
Early in ’83 I sold Glencarrig for just enough to clear my debt and leaving us with a little to help start all over again. I was now 34 years old with a wife and three young children what to do?
I remember a family member Jack Cohn always enthusiastically talking about a place called Marbella known as the playground for the rich and famous, located in southern Spain on the Mediterranean. Louis Murray also recommended that I should take a trip to check the place out as it was a great favourite with the Irish and possibly a place to think of re-establishing myself. So with nothing to lose except the airfare and a hotel I went out and had a look around. I immediately investigate the nightclub scene only to find out it was booming, clubs like Pepe Moreno and Joys were packed. I liked the atmosphere, the wonderful weather and low prices compared to Dublin, a perfect place I thought to bring up a young family. So I started in earnest to see what the possibilities of starting up a club in Marbella.
I just can’t remember exactly how but I was introduced to the ex Formula 1 champion James Hunt. At the time he owned a discotheque called Oscars and was interested in selling it.(Photo: James Hunt in Oscars with Princess Gunilla von Bismarck and I think it might be Sir Dai Llewellyn)
Pack your bags Wendy were off to live in Marbella.
To be continued.......
NOTE: Please remember that each of these chapters that make up part of My Story are just synopsis and when I get around to it I will complete the stories by adding not only words but some of the photographs that I have received since I started this journey. Thank you.