Mr Robert Marren Dundonnell
Castle Street, Taughmaconnell,
Mullingar Co. Roscommon.
Further to the letter my brother Michael Gavin and I received from John Glynn, Solicitor Patrick Hogan & Co. on 9th July 2015 which states
“I telephoned Mr. Marren today to enquire why I had not received payment on the basis that absolutely everybody else in the Estate has been paid and his response was that he continued to receive letters from you complaining about fees while threatening to go to the Law Society. He said he was not prepared to pay out my fees while these threats existed.”
The letter also states
“it would appear he will not pay out these fees unless you write him and confirm to him that you are not objecting to my fees and direct him to pay same. If you are not prepared to do so, you will leave me with no choice but to proceed to taxation of costs and then subsequently. I will be obliged to sue Mr. Marren for recovery of my fees. This is grossly unfair situation in that Pat is dead almost ten years. I have not been paid for any of my services rendered either to you or to the Estate over that period.”
Our objections to the above are as follows;
We do not consider our reporting you to the Law Society a threat. We have every right to seek justice for the unjust and unfair way we have been dealt with and taken advantage of considering our age, by you the administrator and the beneficiaries of the Estate to the extent that it constitutes ELDER ABUSE.
In the event that the Law Society of Ireland does not accept that our 8 complaints of inadequate professional services, alleged over charging and misconduct, warrant investigation we have every intention of referring this matter to the independent Adjudicator, the solicitors disciplinary tribunal Dublin , An Garda Síochána and the Health Service Executive HSE. Although this whole matter is a source of embarrassment to us, we will have no hesitation in disclosing same in the public domain, as it is our belief that the general public have a right to be made aware of the events that took place and let them judge for themselves based on the true facts.
While we have every intent of pursuing you vigorously to meet our demands to include recovery of the funds not distributed to us to date, we fail to see the logic to your persistent reluctance to pay Patrick Hogan & Co. in isolation to our efforts to seek justice in this matter, or “threats” as you put it.
This is reminiscent of the manner in which you dealt with paying out our 1/6 share from the sale of the Estate lands. Here again despite our persistent requests you Mr. Robert Marren refused to pay out same until finalising the distribution during the Christmas period 2014-2015, without addressing our objections, and it appears you did same to avoid paying our 1/6 share of the land from auction in isolation to the rest of the estate, notwithstanding the fact that the moneys for same were in your possession nearly 2 years previously. You have yet to provide a reasonable explanation of why you did not “bite the bullet” and pay over the full amount when you Mr. Robert Marren received the funds way back on 27th of May 2013.
Do you not recall that I wrote to you on 11th April 2015 and stated “Please advise us of any outstanding bills, has John Glynn, Hogan & Co. been paid to date, and if not why not.”
I believe this should make it clear to you that there is no objection to Patrick Hogan & Co. fee being paid.
In your response on 22nd April you Mr. Marren state “Mr Tony Mclynn was the Solicitor in High Court proceedings on behalf of some of the parties and was awarded his costs by Order of the High Court as was Hogan & Company.”
Based on your response we felt that the fees to Patrick Hogan & Co. were paid. However if you felt we objected to the fees to Patrick Hogan & Co. why did you not question the issue then.
We have never ever threatened you in any way, and most certainly not in regard to fees to Patrick Hogan & Co.
It would appear to us your reluctance Mr. Marren to paying the fee to Patrick Hogan & Co. in isolation of our “threats” as you put it are just another example of your BULLY BOY TACTICS and we do not appreciate the manner in which you Mr. Marren attempt to force us to concede to your demands by refusing to “pay out Patrick Hogan & Co. fees while these threats exist”.
You may also recall a letter was also sent to your office in Mullingar on 17TH of June 2015 stating the following;
“I take issue with your reluctance to provide a detailed breakdown of how the figure of €40,892.53 representing fees paid to Robert Marren & Co. were arrived at. I also feel I am entitled to a breakdown of all other fees paid out of the Estate funds and who was paid what at closing.
I also take issue with your persistent reluctance to provide the following
- Bill of Cost for T & N McLynn, Solicitors, Athlone
- Correct invoice for Catherine O’Conner. Her invoice states Total Amount Due €584.25 while Cash Account dated 18th July, 2014 “Fees paid to Catherine O’ Connor €6,857.25.
- Invoice for William Penrose B.L. or explanation of why his opinion was sought.
- Invoice for John Dolan Auctioneer and breakdown of the handsome fee he was paid.
- Answer to “has John Glynn, Hogan & Co. Ballinasloe been paid to date, and if not why not”?
- Answer to “has John Glynn, Hogan & Co. Ballinasloe been paid to date, and if not why not”?
- Any outstanding bills.”
We have yet to receive a response to that letter above which we sent register post notwithstanding the fact that these questions were posed to you in previous correspondence numerous times prior and regardless we have a right to be furnished with copies of same. You Mr. Robert Marren will note that points 5 and 6 of that letter of 17TH of June 2015, are one in the same and we underlined if not why not”? in an effort to draw your attention to same which apparently you have yet to do.
Why were we not provided with a Bill of Cost for T & N McLynn, Solicitors, Athlone who we were informed was paid their handsome amount of €38,941.00 approximately a year prior to your finalised distribution during the Christmas period 2014-2015.
When exactly was T & N McLynn, Solicitors, Athlone paid and why were they paid in advance of the finalised distribution while you refused to pay our 1/6 share of the land from auction or fees to Patrick Hogan & Co.??
You did not seek our approval for T & N McLynn, Solicitors bill nor did you request if we objected to same after they represented the other side beneficiaries who put the Estate of my late brother Patrick Gavin to enormous legal expense with their High Court Special Summons where they sought to sell the roof over my head among other things.
“By notices in writing Kathleen ‘OKeefe, and Mary Theresa Harte have confirmed their desire to have the house and lands of the estate sold. Nicholas Duffy and his four children have also confirmed that they desire to have the property sold. It is also the wish of the Plaintiff that the property be sold.”
Bearing in mind that the beneficiaries namely Anne Sanford, Kathleen O’Keefe, Mike Harte, Brenda Harte Waters, Michelle Harte, Philomena Duffy, Patrick Duffy, Catherine Duffy and Noel Duffy and their Solicitor T & N McLynn were well aware that Michael Gavin was entitled to live in the home for the rest of his days per his father’s will which they were all furnished with a copy of. As we recall we were required to attend the high court on 3 separate days, the first of which none of the beneficiaries attended. On the second day we were informed by our barrister Donal Keane B.L. that they were in another room arguing amongst themselves, and then finally we got before the judge on the third day. This is just one of the numerous examples of their vengeful, spiteful behaviour where they squandered the Estate assets. Not to mention the inconvenience, and additional expenses that were incurred to hire a man to mind the “Estate Animals” for 3 days, there was no mention of any funds to cover that cost in your finalised distribution.
On another occasion which we kept you update on, we recall one of the beneficiaries Kathleen O’Keefe rushed us into signing a lease agreement on 27th August, 2014 without providing us an opportunity to read over same carefully or to consider the matter. Consequently we were forced to get legal advice in order to amend a number of the conditions including Michael Gavin’s agreement to “having fully restored the lands to grassland by ploughing and reseeding by no later than the 31st of July 2015.” Lands that were never used for tillage, and even if they were who would commit to a short term 1 year lease with that condition. This appears underhanded to us and highlights the inadequate professional service provided by their Solicitor T&N McLynn, Athlone. It is not of a quality that could reasonably be expected of a solicitor and served no purpose other than to force us to incur additional unnecessary expenses for legal advice to draft letters in response to the lease agreement Kathleen O’Keefe tricked me Michael Gavin into signing.
You have not provided the correct invoice for Catherine O’Conner. Her invoice states Total Amount Due €584.25 while Cash Account dated 18th July, 2014 “Fees paid to Catherine O’ Connor €6,857.25.
You did not seek our approval for seeking William Penrose B.L opinion. No Invoice for William Penrose B.L. or explanation of why his opinion was sought.
You did not seek our approval for John Dolan Auctioneer. No Invoice for John Dolan Auctioneer and breakdown of the fee he was paid was provided to us to date. As we recall the auctioneer John Dolan did advertise the auction extensively and I recall full and half page ads appeared in the local newspapers. We would argue that based on the amount of interest and bids made at the auction that these ads served no purpose other than to promote John Dolans Auctioneering service as a whole. To be honest a free mention in the local parish newsletter would have sufficed.
You did not seek our approval for Damien Hannigan & Company Limited Chartered Accountant, Mullingar. Why was he hired against our explicate wishes to oversee the accounts of Catherine O’Conner. He charged in my opinion an excessive fee of €8,751.45 which we consider to be extremely expensive and an unnecessary expense. Although he was hired to oversee the accounts his fee is in excess of Catherine O’Conner’s fee. John Glynn, Solicitor, Patrick Hogan & Co. did not put the Estate to the additional expense of hiring an additional Accountant so it begs the question why did you?
I fail to understand why you now require me to write you and confirm to you that we are not objecting to Patrick Hogan & Co. fees and direct you to pay same. I feel this has being dealt with adequately in previous correspondence as above and I fail to understand your logic as to why this is the only bill out of them all that you require us to approve.
It would appear that there is a personal axe to grind between your own good self and John Glynn, Solicitor, Patrick Hogan & Co. and you have no business drawing us into your personal battles between members of your own profession.
In our opinion it would be more befitting of you to write to each of the beneficiaries namely Anne Sanford, Wesley, Mass USA, Kathleen O’Keefe, Glanmire, Cork, Mike Harte,Wesley, Mass USA, Brenda Harte Waters Quincy, Mass USA, Michelle Harte Wesley, Mass USA, Philomena Duffy Mayo, Patrick Duffy, Clare, Catherine Duffy, Monksland, Athlone and Noel Duffy, Athlone, as I have done and claw back the monies owed to us.
They cannot on the one hand expect to receive the monies from the sale of my late brother Pat Gavin’s livestock together with the gross payments received from the Department of Agriculture, without incurring any expense for the minding, looking after and caring for the animals down through the years.
Catherine O’Conner’s Account Summary 24/02/2012 shows that throughout the entire farming period between 2005 and 2012 the cattle sales came to a figure of €46,589 and the expenses came to a figure of €45,918. Accordingly, the expenses in running the farm were almost equal to the proceeds of sale of livestock. Therefore the profit from the farming operation represented the monies received each year from the Department of Agriculture under the single Payment Scheme, the Disadvantaged Area Scheme and any other Schemes of the Department of Agriculture, less any income tax payable to the state arising out of the farming operation.
We and those we have spoken to in relation to this matter FAIL to see the logic to your reluctance Mr. Robert Marren to see reason in this matter, how do you expect a person to labour for free for 9 years at their own expense and pay vets fees and fodder to fatten cattle so that those THAT DO NOTHING can reap the rewards of the GROSS profits. I Michael Gavin believe with every bone in my body that I am entitled to be paid for the work done and services rendered and monies expended by me in looking after my brother’s livestock from the time my brother died up to the time the animals were sold, this you will appreciate involved the daily herding and looking after the animals to include feeding of the animals in Winter months to include purchase of food stuffs and discharging vets fees etc.
By denying me Michael Gavin a half share in the profits it means that Michael Gavin WAS WORKING FOR NOTHING over the years in question from October, 2005 through to 2013. This is totally unjust and totally unacceptable to us.
We will not accept the present situation which is totally unfair and leaves Michael Gavin without any compensation whatsoever for the time and trouble in looking after the animals on behalf of the estate and also deprives Michael Gavin of any profit he may have earned in the rearing and looking after his own animals.
The detailed breakdown of the net amount €xxx,xxx.11 due to Michael Gavin out of the Single Payment Entitlements representing his ½ share in the profits from farming the lands, was sent to you Mr. Marren, Solicitor, on the 5th of December, 2015 for your consideration. You will note that all that Michael Gavin is looking for is his fair share of the profits in the running of the farm and fair compensation for the work Michael Gavin did in looking after the animals.
It would appear that you Mr. Robert Marren delayed making the decision regarding Michael Gavin’s share in the farming profits and rightful share of the grant monies received from the Department of Agriculture until the very end with the draft distribution account that contained countless errors on 18thSeptember, 2014. Michael Gavin was lied to countless times and led to believe that he would be refunded at closing by some of the beneficiaries. Why did you Mr. Robert Marren make a decision around March 2013 to accept Michael Gavin’s claim to owning half the livestock and all the sheep? But yet for no logical reason refused to award him the net amount €xxx,xxx.11 due to Michael Gavin out of the Single Payment Entitlements representing my ½ share in the profits from farming the lands, which was also sent to you on the 5th of December, 2015 for your consideration. There is no good reason why you took advantage of Michael Gavin’s good nature and delayed his decision in this matter until the end.
You would have received a letter from Michael Gavin on 5th December, 2014 stating;
“If a fair allowance is not made on an agreed basis, I will not give my consent to any distribution account prepared by you. Similarly, my sisters will also have to agree before a distribution account can be finalised and a distribution effected. Accordingly you as Administrator will be unable to distribute the estate unless you can procure agreement between us and, if this agreement is not forthcoming, I am advised the only way you, as Administrator, can be protected is to go back into Court and get a Court Order directing how the estate can be distributed.”
However Mr. Marren you passed the book to us and demanded court proceedings to prevent the distribution in a short space of time over the Christmas period 2014-2015.
We believe that you Mr. Robert Marren should NOT have finalised the distribution without addressing our objections, and it appears you did same to avoid paying our €xx,500 1/6 share of the land from action in isolation to the rest of the estate.
While it would appear that these are matters that can only be dealt with by the court if they cannot be resolved by agreement I believe it should be the Administrator who goes back into Court to get a Court Order directing how the estate can be distributed not the ELDERLY BENEFICIARIES.
It would also appear that Mr. Henry of Tormeys Solicitors, Athlone facilitated you Mr. Marren by not phoning you or writing you immediately as requested by John Glynn Solicitor, (14/01/2015 John Glynn Patrick Hogan & Co. to Tony Henry Tormeys Solicitors, Athlone requesting him to ring and write a short letter to Mr. Marren immediately confirming that he would act in the matter in response to Marren’s threat to effect a distribution of the Estate.) nor did Mr. Henry of Tormeys Solicitors, Athlone inform us, so that we could engage another Solicitor to act on behalf of Michael Gavin and Eileen Linney.
We have difficulty understanding why Mr. Henry of Tormeys Solicitors, Athlone failed to respond to correspondence, including correspondence that was crucial and significant to us.
At a subsequent meeting with Mr. Henry after your closing he estimated that court proceedings to sue you could take up to 3 years with fees in the region of €60,000 to €100,000, and he suggested that I Michael Gavin should take my age (83) into consideration.
It would appear you allowed confusion to arise in relation to the exact disbursement of funds and showed a complete disregard for the interests of the beneficiaries, whom you, Mr. Robert Marren a Solicitor, knew to be ELDERLY, and by your conduct is depriving two of the ELDERLY beneficiaries, of the enjoyment of their share in the estate. You have also forced Michael Gavin and Eileen Linney to incur additional unnecessary expenses in drafting documents and letters time and time again to prove their claim.
Please Support Michael Gavin Elderly 83 Year Old Irish Farmer by Signing Petition