During Ireland’s Celtic Tiger he was the self-described Stelios Haji-Ioannou — the ubiquitous EasyJet founder — of the property world, building an estimated €22m company from basically nothing with his vision to making investing in property simple and accessible to anyone.
But since the property market has been decimated, and still in discussions with the IBRC over an estimated €10m loan, Irish developer Philip Marley has decided to hit the bright lights of Hollywood for his next big adventure.
In recent weeks Mr Marley has been seen and photographed with the beautiful and quite glamorous The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills reality star Dana Wilkey who was sporting a slinky, fitted mini-dresses.
The 40-year-old developer ran into Miss Wilkey at a July 4th party and walked away with an idea to co-produce a new tv reality series entitled Rich and Ditched.
“It’s about a bunch of 40-plus divorcees who are incredibly wealthy and living in Malibu and it’s about the experiences they share together,” says Mr Marley, the former head of Ely Properties — which was once the largest provider of student accommodation in Ireland.
The Irish builder is described as a millionaire on US gossip sites, and his reality TV co-producer has told her followers on her Twitter that she finds the Dublin man “earth shattering”, adding “Am I dreaming?”.
The property entrepreneur, who lives between Dublin, London and LA, said: “She’s an amazing character. We are two people who have a vision of what television should be like.”
Rich and Ditched will air on US television in the coming months but the Dubliner said he is wary of how showbusiness differs from his past line of work.
Speaking to reporters Mr. Marley said: “I think TV and fame is an addictive game and people sacrifice a lot to get their hands on it. And by virtue of that — it’s dangerous.”
Mr Marley, who now runs the multi-million euro company Space Student Living, said he’s still a ‘millionaire’ despite being burned badly when the recession hit. “I invested in a number of businesses and got involved in what I call ‘egonomics’. I invested with my ego and not with my brain.”
But he said: “I’m starting over again and not without the shadows of the past. But I’m not afraid to stand up and say I’m going for it again. We’re entitled to recycle ourselves. I’m not going to hold back on saying that out of fear. Because when you are afraid you are finished and a man should never be afraid.”
Asked how much he owes to IBRC — formerly Anglo Irish Bank, he said: “They are asking for the value of a building in Portsmouth which is about €10m — but we have to sell it to see what it’s worth.”
Reflecting on the boom-time madness he said: “Everyone in Ireland was lent too much money. If I fill a room full of sweets and I send in a bunch of four year olds and I don’t put a limit on how much they can eat, you’re going to have a room full of very sick children.
“They had drive-through banking. Making a phone call and being offered a bank draft into the millions within two hours.