Belfast Telegraph

Taggart set for court row over apartment deal

One of the brothers behind the collapsed Taggart property empire is to appear in court later this week over his failure to complete on the purchase of an apartment in Belfast.

Michael Taggart - who along with his brother John was last week ordered to repay Ulster Bank almost £9m in personal guarantees - had been due to purchase the flat in the James Clow building in the city's docklands.

The Cookstown-based company Sarcon No 177 Limited is taking the action at the High Court tomorrow.

The firm is controlled by Co Tyrone businessman and developer Desmond Nugent.

Taggart Holdings went into administration in October 2008 owing £300m.

The brothers are meanwhile separately bringing a £120m claim for breach of contract against Ulster Bank and have already signalled their intention to appeal Master Bell's judgment on Friday which ordered them to be liable for loans for the sums of £5m and €4.3m (£3.5m) taken out before the housing price crash.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph after the judgment, Mr Taggart said he was "not surprised" by the verdict. "We are going to appeal and I am doing this because I want to do the right thing by our creditors," he said. "That is why I am spending so much money defending this case. I have never owed money and not paid it back in my life."

On this week's court appearance, Mr Taggart, who has already been sued by Big Picture Developments for failing to complete on the purchase of an apartment on the Ormeau Road, said that he was "one of hundreds of people in Northern Ireland that this had happened to".

John Taggart has been sued over his failure to complete on the purchase of another property in the city's Titanic Quarter.

Sarcon will also be taking Mark McGarrigan to court tomorrow.

In September, property buyers failed in their first legal attempts to get out of deals for the James Clow apartments.

A married couple and a private firm, Clear Homes, each sought early High Court rulings over delays to the completion dates.

They paid deposits for apartments costing £245,000 and £216,000 in the complex.

Legal proceedings were launched after the buyers were told of an anticipated six-month slippage to the completion date scheduled for May 31 2009.

Sarcon No.177 Ltd, claimed its contractor encountered a number of difficulties, including the foundations for two adjoining former licensed premises and adverse weather conditions.

Taggart Holdings boasted a vast property empire across Ireland north and south, in Great Britain and the Isle of Man. In 2007 Michael Taggart was named Ernst -amp; Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

Michael Taggart bought his first plot of land in 1986 before co-founding Taggart Homes Ltd in 1989 with his brother.

Twenty years later, the firm was building 500 houses per year in Northern Ireland, the Republic, the UK, Europe and the USA and the brothers have featured on the Sunday Times Rich List with a combined wealth of £95m.

Michael Taggart has since begun working with a new development company, Tailored Property Developments.