Belfast Telegraph

Developer who lent Iris £25k in creditors battle

By Margaret Canning

Angry creditors have started a legal bid to overturn an arrangement by a Co Down developer trying to avoid bankruptcy.

Creditors of Ken Campbell, who loaned Iris Robinson £25,000 which she passed to her then-lover to start a business, are disputing the voluntary arrangement under which he would pay back just a percentage of his £1.69m debts.

The businesses, which include PACC Engineering, are understood to be claiming that there were flaws in how their votes on the arrangement were counted and in the manner in which a key creditors’ meeting was conducted.

Rules on insolvency provide that a legal challenge to a voluntary arrangement requires a “material irregularity” in the process in order to succeed.

But a representative of PACC Engineering in Cookstown, Co Tyrone, which is owed £61,000, refused to elaborate on the action, saying: “There are other creditors involved and it has gone to court. That is all I have to say.”

Insolvency practitioner Walter Lismore of Lismore & Company is overseeing the arrangement.

But his spokesman said Mr Lismore had no comment to make on the latest legal development. “He is unable to comment or interfere with the proceedings of the court,” he said.

The Court Service confirmed a writ was received from PACC Engineering and other creditors on August 31.

The application was yesterday adjourned until October 26.

A court document outlining the proposed arrangement shows that net profit at J and K Campbell fell from £587,557 in 2008 to £77,725 last year.

Ulster Bank is owed £2.1m by Mr Campbell’s business J and K Campbell, while 200 unsecured creditors are owed £1.69m.

Provisionally, the arrangement proposed by Mr Campbell would have seen creditors being paid around 37% of what they are owed.

But speaking in July, a spokesman for Mr Lismore said: “The eventual outcome for the creditors will depend on the amounts realised from the assets and the liabilities admitted by the supervisor after he completes his investigations.”

A tense meeting in July on the proposed voluntary arrangement was attended by Mr Campbell and went on for three hours.

It was adjourned and the arrangement was accepted at a further meeting, which Mr Campbell did not attend because he had been taken into hospital.

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