You’re sued! Lord Sugar turns on his own lawyers
The businessman files a lawsuit against solicitors Kingsley Napley over part of his property empire
Tuesday 27 May 2014
Lord Alan Sugar is suing his own lawyers for at least £1.3m over an allegedly botched property deal.
A claim filed at the High Court by Lord Sugar’s Amsprop company against solicitors Kingsley Napley centres on part of his property empire in London’s New Bond Street, which the businessman – worth an estimated £900m – planned to redevelop. Court papers claim that Lord Sugar was forced to pay out nearly £1m to Longmire, the exclusive London jewellers, in July last year after Kingsley Napley allegedly mishandled efforts to take possession of the whole building, 10/10A New Bond Street.
Longmire occupied 10 New Bond Street, with watchmaker Swatch in 10A. Lord Sugar’s Amsprop wanted to combine the two shop frontages and let the whole building to Swatch, and launched a claim to deny the cufflink jeweller a new lease in April 2012.
Lord Sugar’s company preferred original redevelopment plans which would have generated higher rent, but it claims Kingsley advised it to go ahead with a less-lucrative scheme to maximise Amsprop’s chances at trial.
Amsprop claims the solicitors failed to disclose documents on the original plans and also failed to delay its court clash with Longmire, despite Lord Sugar’s firm settling with another tenant and removing an obstacle to the original redevelopment.
A judge found Longmire was entitled to a new lease and Amsprop – after agreeing a deal with Swatch to take the whole building – was forced to settle with the jeweller and pay £970,500 to Longmire to give up its rights, the court papers say. “As a consequence of the defendent’s negligence and breaches of duty, Amsprop has suffered loss and damage,” the claim adds.
Amsprop wants £970,500 in costs over the Longmire settlement, as well as a total of £326,379 in legal settlement costs and legal fees for both sides, and interest and other costs.
Lord Sugar – who sold a Mayfair office block last year for a £50m profit – is no stranger to legal action after winning an employment tribunal case brought by the former Apprentice winner Stella English last year.
The entrepreneur made his first fortune founding Amstrad, now owned by BSkyB, in 1968.
Lord Sugar declined to comment but Kingsley Napley said: “We are disappointed this case is being progressed. We deny the claim and will vigorously contest it.”
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