College accused of neglecting health and safety by tenant

A former tenant has accused the University of overcharging for rent and neglecting health and safety standards, after College initiated legal proceedings in the High Court against their company.
Ammado Internet Services (AIS) runs a social networking site for charities funded by the commission charges on donations. They rented office space in College’s Research and Enterprise Campus on Pearse Street until December 2008. Trinity is pursuing legal action in the High Court against the company, the brainchild of Peter Conlon and Anna Kupka, over alleged unpaid rent and service charges. The case is due to be heard in the High Court this month.
A College spokeswoman said that “the matter has been pursued through the Superior Courts, and it is not our policy to disclose details of such legal cases”. College also declined to disclose the amount of money owed by AIS.
According to a report in the Phoenix magazine, Kupka claims Trinity had been overcharging AIS rent by ten per cent, and that the office did not comply with health and safety regulations. College denies the Enterprise Campus, a centre designed for University-led research, has had any such health and safety concerns.
Speaking to Trinity News, a spokeswoman from a current tenant company of the Enterprise Centre, Textile Conservation, highlighted minor concerns with the building. She pointed out that the front gate was locked at 6pm, meaning any staff working late would be forced to leave via an unlit exit. The spokeswoman confirmed that fire and safety regulations in the building were adequate.
The current rent for a unit in the Enterprise Centre is known to be in the region of €5,000 a month. When asked about the rent charged by Trinity to AIS, both Conlon and Kupka were unavailable for comment. The Centre is made up of 36 “knowledge-based and innovative companies”, with an additional 26 tenants in its custom-built “Design and Craft Centre”.
Ammado is described as the “facebook for charities”. Over 4,000 not-for-profit organizations worldwide are members. It was designed by Conlon and Kupka as an online tool to facilitate donations, campaigning, fundraising and communications, and was founded by the two entrepreneurs in Dublin in 2005. All donations made through Ammado come are charged a commission of at least five per cent. As of December 2008, the company is based in Haddington Road, Dublin 4.
Conlon and Kupka share a similar story with their sister company Xsil Ltd, a high-tech company also based in Trinity. The award-winning technology company ran into financial difficulties in 2008, and no longer rents College office space. A former employee has claimed that College was owed €1 million by the company. The former employee also claims Conlon and Kupka refused to pay their staff wages or insurance in September 2008, and employees were not returned their P45s until several weeks after being made redundant. The company’s slogan is “Creating Heroes”.
Conlon, a businessman from Co. Leitrim, reinvested £13 million he gained from selling his stake in a separate company, MV Technology, into Xsil and other businesses. The Sunday Times “Rich List” estimated Conlon’s net worth at €55 million in 2007, ranking him the 213rd richest individual in Ireland.
Kupka is currently a member of Science Gallery Leonardo, a group of people from different professions who meet up in the Gallery to discuss science. The Gallery described the group of 43 as a “think-tank”. They include singer Chris De Burgh and founder Brian Fallon. She describes herself as an “intellectual property lawyer”, and commends the Science Gallery for its measures “to bring Science to young people”.