Ireland’s National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) is going after wealthy developers who took toxic loans and amounted huge debts. NAMA has pledged that they will not exclude family homes from their seizures.
The Construction Industry Federation (CIF) has begun lobbying for their family homes to be protected following the seizure of developer Bernard McNamara’s art collection at his home in Dublin. They even invoked the Constitution arguing that the Government had an obligation to protect their families.
However, Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Brian Cowen and Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan have insisted that seizures will continue. They have stated that NAMA is going to continue to get as much back for the taxpayers as possible and will not tolerate the developers flaunting their wealth.
NAMA has already generated a pot of $6.1 billion to be spent on completing specific building projects. However NAMA, realizing that some of the developers were paying themselves $614,000 per year declined their requests for further funding on their projects.
The top ten property developers had their massive toxic loans swallowed by NAMA and then proceeded to ask for $1.84 billion of the taxpayer’s money to complete their projects which were left unfinished.
“Under the business-plan process, most developers must spell out exactly what they require to finish projects and pay down their debt. In some cases, there will be salaries included but they have to specify what the incomes would be. The income requirements should be very modest," a source told the Irish Independent.
“Where the developer is essential to completing the project, they will be paid a realistic salary -- but we will be challenging anybody who says they need a certain sum to fund a lifestyle."
A spokesperson for NAMA assured the public that like any functioning bank they will only fund projects which will yield a commercial return.
“This will ensure amounts owed to NAMA are repaid. The minister and NAMA have clearly set out that all debts will be pursued to the fullest extent possible,” said the spokesperson.
Brian Lenihan has included a provision in NAMA to specifically go after property developers who transfer their assets into their wives names to attempt to avoid their debts.