THE PARTNER of a well-known Limerick property developer has been forced to hand over €200,000 worth of jewellery she received to National Assets Management Agency to help repay his seven-figure debts.
The Limerick Leader understands that this disclosure was made at a recent informal briefing of TDs by a NAMA official, however the developer was not formally identified in the session.
It follows confirmation that NAMA is allowing some 168 developers in the State to retain salaries of €10,000 to €200,000 per year to continue running their troubled companies in the hope that some gains can be salvaged, and at least two Limerick developers are believed to be in receipt of varying sums, according to a number of political sources.
NAMA would not confirm to this newspaper the exact number of Limerick developers who are in receipt of these salaries, or their identities, however documents obtained some that more than 60 properties throughout Limerick have now been seized by NAMA as a result of enforcement orders up to this May.
They include development site and residential areas in Annacotty, Adare, Castleconnell, Castletroy, Dooradoyle, Newcastle West, Raheen, and dozens of commercial and residential units in the city centre, which have been seized in recent years.
Fine Gael deputy Kieran O’Donnell, a member of Public Accounts Committee, said he is calling on NAMA to come back before the committee to further explain “questionably high salaries” being paid to developers. He said NAMA needs to further justify the payment of these salaries, which totals €15.5m in payments.
Fianna Fail deputy Niall Collins said while “there’s a lot of public disquiet about the levels of salaries being paid by NAMA”, he believes the agency “have a fair handle on every single one of them and are certainly on top of them”.
Deputy Willie O’Dea has called for NAMA to be more transparent in their dealings with developers, and said the agency should demonstrate to the public “not they’re not fussyputting around them.”
However, he said there are “two sides” to the payments to developers, which NAMA have stressed are not salaries, but “overhead costs arising from income being produced by their assets”.
“If their assets are sold off successfully for the benefit of the taxpayer, this is an incentive for them to do this. On the other hand, when the top 10% of income earners are getting more than the bottom 60% it does give a very bad example,” said deputy O’Dea.
“It would be in their own best interests to open up their books a bit.”
Speaking during the PAC, Brendan McDonagh, chief executive of NAMA, said these “debtors have specific individual knowledge of each individual asset” and said it would take NAMA “a long period to acquire this particular knowledge because it would be very difficult to replicate.”
Frank Daly, chairman of NAMA, said some of these developers are managing businesses of up to €2bn and several hundred employees.