Wednesday 19 November 2008

Queries for Ciaran Maguire about Cape Verde development

Just over a week ago we were contacted by the Ciaran Maguire Group, who were not very impressed with our previous blog on the company. They had nothing against the blog per-se, but were worried about some of the links to forums questioning the group and its plans for the Palm View Resort on Boa Vista island in Cape Verde.

We refused to remove the blog on the grounds that we felt it linked to a number of sources of information that would be invaluable to potential clients wishing to make a judgement on whether they should consider purchasing on this development or not. We instead, proposed putting a list of questions to the company which we felt would help ameliorate some of the worries potential investors, and current investors, with the group might have. They agreed that this would be a good way to go forward.

We submitted the list of questions on Wednesday November 12th and asked them to respond to them by the following Friday, November 14th. On November 13th the company asked if they could be allowed until the following Monday, November 17th to complete the answers to the questions. We agreed to this. It is now Wednesday November 19th and, to date, all we have heard is that they are still working on the replies to the questions.

We made it widely known that we were asking these questions of the company and at this stage we feel we have no option but to publish the list of questions, even though we have, as yet, received no reply to any of them.

Despite the lack of a response from the company to date we would have to stress that we have no evidence of any wrongdoing on the part of the Ciarán Maguire Group. We do, however, feel that they have left a lot of questions to be answered and are very disappointed that they have, to date, reneged on their commitment to provide answers to some of these questions.

If we do get answers to some or all of the questions from the company at any stage in the future we will list them here as soon as they are received.

1. Where has the Ciarán Maguire Group suddenly come from? Nobody in Ireland has ever heard of them before. This seems very strange. A company starting a big ambitious project such as this, generally does so on the back of a strong track record. What is Ciarán’s track record in the development field either in Ireland or overseas?

2. Does the Ciarán Maguire Group actually own any land in Cape Verde at this point in time? If so, can you produce documentary evidence of this title?

3. Why was the project moved from the originally mooted Chaves Beach location, where many apartments had been sold, to the new one in Curral Velho.

4. In a post on the Boa Vista Experience website on September 17th last Colm (Quinn I presume) posting as ‘Flash Developments’ claimed that “As it stands we have contracted Liods engineering to start work on the site. they are currently on the ground doing what they do. We have recently sent across to the engineering company and the builders the sum of €4.5 million euro. As a development company we are not going to send across such a vast amount of cash without the land etc being purchased.” This statement would obviously indicate that development work had started in the Chaves Beach location.

5. On October 30th, in Colm’s last post on the forum, it was announced that, far from building having taken place on the Chaves Beach plot, it was now being moved to Curral Velho. This hardly seems credible. Was there ever any development on the Chaves Beach plot?

6. What are the workers that were employed on this project now doing?

7. Is Curral Velho not a ‘Protected Area’ on the island of Boa Vista?

8. Queries have been raised about the ability to reach the Curral Velho site. Investors are worried that roads are not planned to reach this area for some time and even when they do, they will be a long way short of the currently proposed site.

9. Can the planning permission for Chaves Beach really merely be transferred in a matter of a few weeks, as appears to be suggested? Surely such planning issues would need to be ratified by the government again and viewed in light of the new location and any planning restrictions that may exist there. This would, one would imagine, take months, if not years to complete.

10. In light of the above query, does the Ciarán Maguire Group have full planning permission for the proposed development in Curral Velho? If so is it possible to see documentary evidence of this?

11. Does CMG have a copy of the documentation on the Exchange Bond Guarantee which is being used in this project?

12. Who holds the funds that have already been paid in escrow? Is it possible to see a legal guarantee that CMG has no access to this account until building has completed?

13. Does CMG have a copy of the documentation showing the commitment of Banif to provide a 100% mortgage on completion?

14. Who is providing the guarantee for the 10 year 7% return on the properties? How can purchasers be assured that this guarantee will, indeed, materialise?

15. Colm has said in his announcement on the Boa Vista Experience that the company has “been working closely with the Cape Verdian (sic) Government, who fully support and endorse our 2.2 billion euro development. In recognition of this multi billion euro investment in the islands, the Cape Verdian (sic) Government have ceded further government owned land to allow for massive improvements as well as ensuring no prolonged delays.” It has, however, been alleged that the Cape Verdean government run planning authority, SDTIBM, has not even received details of any proposed project for Curral Velho. Can you explain how this could be the case?

16. Can you pass on details of a government official with whom we can speak (outside of those directly connected with the project) to confirm that the appropriate land ownership and planning permissions exist?

17. The website also claims that “to facilitate the additional world-class facilities already in place the site is being moved to the prime location of Curral Velho in proximity to Santa Monica beach.” Surely Curral Velho is completely barren and there are no facilities of any description there, not even a roadway. What exactly does Ciarán mean by this statement?

18. Is Palm View Resort intended to be a Five Star Resort, a Six Star Resort or a Seven Star Resort? All three have been mentioned at one time or another on one or other of Ciarán’s websites or in newspaper articles. Confusion such as this tends to make investors very nervous, particularly when the developer himself appears to change the star rating on a regular basis.

19. Ciarán’s website says he has purchased hotels in Mexico & Miami. Can you outline which hotels these are and how much he paid for them?

20. Ciarán’s press release describes him as ‘an award winning entrepreneur’. Can you outline any awards he has won to date?

21. Why do apartment specifications and prices differ radically depending on what website they are found? E.g. http://www.palmviewresort.co.uk/plans/13.pdf and http://www.palmviewresorts.com/files/site-plan.pdf, two of your own sites, have completely different site plans on them.

22. Ciarán has “outlayed ‘€100m in land acquisitions … that include hundreds of hectares of prime sea front land in locations such as Brazil, Panama, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Miami and Cape Verde.” Could you outline where the plots are in Brazil, Panama, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Miami, how much they cost and at what level of development they currently reside?

23. Ciarán’s site claims to be developing three golf courses worth €110m. to be designed by the worlds leading course architects. Who are these architects exactly and at what stage are they with plans for these courses? The courses are, apparently, set for completion by 2011 so they should have at least broken ground and have had some of the necessary infrastructural work completed at this stage.

24. Where did Ciarán manage to raise the €100m necessary to purchase such lands without ever coming to the attention of the business community? Figures like this get bandied about a lot in the property industry but it is, nonetheless, not easy for someone with no previous development credentials to come by such funds.

25. The Casino portion of the web site claims that “Currently the worlds most acclaimed Architects, Engineers and Hotel designers are working on the Palm View Resort.” Could Ciarán name some of these so that we could ask them for comments about their involvement in the project.

26. Those who have visited the Blinkers Casino in City West claim that it is a long way from being a 5-Star Casino as is claimed on the website. Is this the type of 5-Star level to which casinos, and other facilities, in the Palm View Resorts will aspire?

27. Ciarán’s site claims: "To date we have created millions of Euro for our clients by identifying the right investment opportunities..." Could he detail or give examples of some of these opportunities?

28. The Ciarán Maguire Investments section of the website specifies an investment “offering 50% return over 24 months.” As this is obviously a financial offering we would like to know if it has been passed by IFSRA? We would also like to know what, exactly the investment is as it sounds like a very welcome return in such a poor investment environment.

29. We would like to know the names of the top team of professionals mentioned in the Investment portion of the site and what their qualifications are to manage such an investment portfolio.

30. We’d also like to know why the phone numbers quoted on this Investment portion of the site lead to two private houses in Co. Tipperary who know nothing of your company.

31. Some current clients of the company would like to see proof of the €2.2 Billion line of credit Ciarán says is being offered by Banif to complete this project at a time when banks worldwide do not have the ability to lend in any capacity, particularly not for property development.

32. Can Ciarán justify the inclusion of 25 sq. m. studio apartments in a six or seven star development? Surely such a star rating implies a level of uber-luxury that simply cannot be provided in such a small space.

33. Why were the planes changed from 747’s to 737’s and the London airport changed from London City to ‘pending negotiations with Gatwick’?

34. Has Ciarán, purchased 2 x 747 jets or is he simply hiring them as required? The website stated that he had purchased two such jets but it now says that ‘two 737’s have been acquired’, even though the picture on the website is still a 747 as far as we are aware. There is a substantial difference between the two and it has been outlined that the former could not be accommodated in some of the airports mentioned, London City and Boa Vista included.

35. The airline industry is a very tough one at the best of times, but recent economic realities have made it impossible for all but the strongest companies to survive. What is Ciarán’s experience in the airline industry that would indicate that he can succeed where most airlines have, and are currently, failing?

36. Could Ciarán explain the assertion - "To me it just made great business sense having our own aircrafts, it enables us to have a complete monopoly when entering into emerging markets."

37. Are the luxury brands on the CMG website being used with prior agreement from the companies in question?

38. Flash developments states that the complex is being pre-fabricated in modules off-site by a German company and this work is already underway. Could Ciarán provide details of the company undertaking the work so that it may be independently verified?

39. Why does the website claim that your team of directors has been assembled after a worldwide search when three of them are family members and two more are Irishmen in their twenties?

40. What connection does Ciarán’s company have with the K-Club and the Dundrum Town Shopping Centre?

41. Why are there no bios for the lead executives on the website?

42. Ciarán’s bio suggests that, once the overseas land had been identified he formed Flash Developments to secure its purchase. On the Flash Developments site, when it was online, it claimed that Flash Developments was formed in 1988. This would have been at a time when Ciarán was 10. This hardly seems credible.

43. The Flash Developments site said (when it was online) that the company “now plays a key role in the development of many of the most prestigious developments in Ireland.” Could Ciarán outline some of these developments are and what the company’s role was?

44. According to CRO records Flash Developments was registered only last year and has not yet filed accounts. How can this be if it has been around since 1988?

45. The first sentence of Ciarán’s bio says he is “one of the Worlds Youngest Chairmen and Presidents of a Multi Billion euro Corporation.” Where is the Ciaran Maguire Group registered? When did it last file accounts? What was its turnover last year?

46. As a company registered in Ireland involved in the property services industry it is necessary, by law, to be registered with the NPSRA. Is the Ciarán Maguire Group or Flash Developments registered?

47. Why do the contact details for ownership of the ciaranmaguire.com web domain list an address in Dublin, Uruguay?

48. Ciarán’s bio suggests that he is a true philanthropist. Can you outline some of this philanthropy to date?

49. Why does Ciarán use such a blatant rip off of a Warren Buffet quote as his own on the intro to his website?

50. Were Ciarán Maguire and Brian Mullen members of a boy band called NV some years ago?

51. How many of each property type has the Ciaran Maguire Group currently sold on the Palm View Resort development?

Response

Ciaran Maguire has come back to us with answers, of sorts, to some of the above queries. Unfortunately the company deemed most of them 'irrelevant', but you'll have to make up your own mind on this. You'll find the answers that were provided here.
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