Treasury Holdings and Harry Crosbie have settled their legal action over Mr Crosbie's liability for part of a €20m debt of their Spencer Dock joint venture development company.
After the settlement was announced this afternoon, a smiling Mr Crosbie said the dispute was ‘a lover's tiff’.
Neither side would comment on the details of settlement but both said they were happy with it and a spokeswoman for Treasury said its business relationship with Mr Crosbie would continue.
Settlement talks began on Tuesday afternoon after Mr Justice Peter Kelly, who began hearing the case at the Commercial Court earlier that morning, remarked ‘squaring up to each other in court’ was a ‘curious way of ensuring future good relations.’
About 3.10pm today, after further talks, the judge was told agreement had been reached and the only order required was to stay the proceedings with liberty to re-enter.
Opening the case, Brian O'Moore, SC for Treasury, said it arose from ‘one undisputed fact - the inability of Mr Crosbie to meet debts due by him and acknowledged by him.’
Treasury had sought to compel Mr Crosbie pay his alleged €6.5m share of a €20m debt due to another company under agreements for the financing of Spencer Dock Development Company (SDDC).
The court was told the Spencer Dock joint venture involved Treasury and Mr Crosbie agreeing to contribute two-thirds and one-third respectively of additional costs incurred for the development.
Treasury agreed some monies - about €1.4m - are due to Mr Crosbie under other Spencer Dock agreements, making his total alleged liability now about €3.9m, rising to €4.78m by November 2010.
Mr Crosbie denied liability and counter-claimed for some €10m from Treasury arising from various agreements related to development in the docklands. He claimed entitlement to repayment of some €8m plus interest of about €2m because of alleged default of an agreement for the sale of Mr Crosbie's interest in lands at the docks known as the Campshires.
The court heard a solicitor for Mr Crosbie had written on 14 January last that, even if Mr Crosbie had an obligation to pay €6.5m of the €20m debt, ‘he is not presently in a financial position to do so’.
After a winding up petition was served on it last December, Treasury paid €9m that same month to finance company Streamford Ltd, a subsidiary of Mercury Engineering Ltd, as part payment of a 2004 loan made to the Spencer Dock company. It has since paid an additional €10.4m and a final payment is due on November 30th 2009.
Mercury had agreed in 2004 to provide €15m finance to SDDC for equity funding required by the banking syndicate funding the docklands development. When repayment was sought in October 2008, Spencer Dock could not pay and Treasury later reached an agreement to repay some €20m arising from the loan facility in instalments.
Treasury alleged Mr Crosbie's liability for part of the €20m debt arose from various indemnity agreements and his alleged agreement at a meeting on 10 November 10, 2008 in the Expresso Bar in Ballsbridge with Mr Barrett and Mr Ronan to a repayment settlement being negotiated.
Mr Crosbie allegedly agreed to pay a contribution in January 2009 when his cash flow would be ‘okay’. He allegedly said he did not want to go to the banks ‘with another problem’ as he was already experiencing difficulties due to the property market collapse and with Dunnes Stores at the Point Village.