De­vel­oper stranded in US as court or­ders he sur­ren­der his pass­port

Irish Independent - Business Week - - Front Page - Dearb­hail McDon­ald and Shane Phe­lan

IR­ISH prop­erty de­vel­oper Gar­rett Kelleher has been or­dered by a judge in a US court to sur­ren­der his pass­port – and re­main in the East­ern District of Penn­syl­va­nia – un­til he com­plies with dis­cov­ery (dis­clo­sure) or­ders in a decades-long in­sur­ance claim dis­pute with its roots in a civil war in Liberia.

The busi­ness­man, best known for his back­ing of the stalled Chicago Spire project, is now ef­fec­tively stranded in Philadel­phia un­til the is­sue is re­solved.

Last week, Judge Paul S Di­a­mond or­dered Mr Kelleher to sur­ren­der his pass­port to the Clerk of the US District Court of East­ern Penn­syl­va­nia and re­main in the district pend­ing com­ple­tion of the dis­cov­ery is­sue dis­cussed dur­ing a court hear­ing held on Au­gust 13 last.

Mr Kelleher had filed an emer­gency mo­tion seek­ing to lift the or­der con­fin­ing him to Penn­syl­va­nia, as he had plans to travel to Chicago to pre­pare for sep­a­rate pro­ceed­ings in­volv­ing the Na­tional As­set Man­age­ment Agency (Nama).

Mr Kelleher ar­gued that the court’s or­der, con­fin­ing him to Penn­syl­va­nia, pre­vented him from honouring obli­ga­tions to an­other fed­eral court and would in­cur un­nec­es­sary and ad­di­tional lit­i­ga­tion costs.

How­ever, Judge Di­a­mond de­nied Mr Kelleher’s emer­gency mo­tion, rul­ing that the Ir­ish­man had re­fused to com­ply with dis­cov­ery or­ders to Cigna World­wide, a de­fen­dant in an ac­tion taken by the Abi Jaoudi and Azar Trad­ing Cor­po­ra­tion, “for years”.

Judge Di­a­mond said that the Chicago pro­ceed­ings cited re­lated to a “rou­tine mo­tions” hear­ing and said that his “pur­ported need to re­view ware­house doc­u­ments in Chicago sounds very much like his pur­ported need to re­view doc­u­ments in Dublin” that he [the judge] had dis­cred­ited the pre­vi­ous day. “His need to re­view doc­u­ments in Chicago is no more cred­i­ble,” said Judge Di­a­mond. “Ac­cord­ingly, I will deny his mo­tion”.

Last night Mr Kelleher told the Ir­ish In­de­pen­dent that in July 2016, the US Court found him in civil con­tempt of court and that over two years later no writ­ten judge­ment had been is­sued.

He said: “Not­with­stand­ing the ob­vi­ous lo­gis­ti­cal prob­lems cre­ated by the Court’s or­der on Mon­day last pre­vent­ing me from per­son­ally gath­er­ing doc­u­ments that were lo­cated in my Dublin of­fice or work­ing with my at­tor­neys in their New York City Of­fice, I have al­ready pro­duced ap­prox­i­mately 2,000 pages of doc­u­ments dated be­tween 2005 and 2017 cor­rob­o­rat­ing my sworn tes­ti­mony that I had no per­sonal knowl­edge that my in­vest­ment, that was ex­hausted by 2010 and helped fund an at­tempt by Liberian cit­i­zens to ob­tain in­ter­na­tional jus­tice from an in­ter­na­tional in­sur­ance com­pany in re­spect of claims aris­ing from losses in Liberia, vi­o­lated the In­junc­tion of the Philadel­phia Fed­eral Court”.

De­vel­oper Gar­rett Kelleher

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