A US asset management firm that was vying to acquire Anglo Irish Bank loans attached to Chicago’s failed Spire project arranged a dinner in July 2011 at Peploe’s restaurant on Dublin’s St Stephen’s Green to which it invited former Taoiseach John Bruton.
The dinner, at which the then Chicago mayor Richard Daley had also been due to attend, but was unable to due to personal circumstances at home, underlines the level of the political back-channelling mounted by the US company to save the Spire project.
The dinner plans are revealed in filings made in a US court as Irish developer Garrett Kelleher pursues a $1.2bn action against Nama.
Speaking to the Irish Independent yesterday, Mr Bruton said he recalls being at a dinner in the restaurant at that time, but in the expectation that Mr Daley would be there.
Mr Bruton said that he has attended many such functions with business and other people where the potential economic benefit for Ireland may not be immediately evident.
The Irish Independent revealed this week how the managing partner of the US asset management firm that arranged the dinner, Point Capital Partners (PCP), told an Illinois court that the company had been working with Mr Daley to resurrect the Spire project that had been first begun by Mr Kelleher.
Mr Daley had been due to travel to Ireland in July 2011 to meet then Taoiseach Enda Kenny and then Minister for Finance Michael Noonan to discuss the loans and how the Spire might be able to get back on track.
But Mr Daley’s wife became seriously ill and the Chicago mayor postponed the visit.
On July 18, 2011, a then partner of PCP, Mark Stisser, emailed two senior officials in the Department of the Taoiseach, apologising that Mr Daley would no longer
be able to attend the meeting.
“Due to the mayor having to postpone his trip, Ted [PCP’s managing partner] and I are charged to get intimately educated on how the mayor may best serve Taoiseach Kenny, Minister Noonan and of course the citizens of Ireland,” Mr Stisser said.