Ramsay family feud explodes again with chef’s claim that ‘ghost writer’ signed rent guarantee

 

The bitter row between Gordon Ramsay and his father-in-law has taken a bizarre new twist – amid claims that a “ghost-writing” machine was used to put the chef’s signature on a major property deal.

In an extraordinary High Court claim, the celebrity chef alleges that an electronic device must have been used to sign his name as personal guarantor for the £640,000-a-year annual rent on a pub, without his knowledge or authorisation.

But the owner of the property today branded Ramsay’s claim an “absurd” attempt to wriggle out of his rental commitments.

The story began when Ramsay’s company signed a 25-year lease for the historic York & Albany pub in 2007.

According to the pub’s owner, Gordon Ramsay Holdings (GRH) emerged as the winner of a bidding war to secure the 160-year-old building in Regent’s Park, north London – one of the capital’s most exclusive areas. This pushed the rent far higher than the market rate.

Ramsay has since turned the pub into an upmarket restaurant, bar and hotel. But now, in High Court papers, the television chef, 46, is claiming that an automatic signature machine must have been used to sign him up as personal guarantor.

The writ states that GRH owns at least two of the machines – which can electronically replicate a signature using a fountain pen or ballpoint. It is revealed in the document that Ramsay’s company uses the machines to sign his cookbooks and other merchandise.

At the time of the York & Albany signing, the chef says he had no idea he had been put down as a guarantor.

The High Court claim spells out that at the time all commercial matters within GRH were “run and controlled” by his wife Tana’s father, the former chief executive Chris Hutcheson. It says Mr Hutcheson was assisted by others, including his son Adam Hutcheson and an IT expert, Kevin Fung.

Ramsay, for his part, was concerned with “advancing his public reputation” and had no knowledge of the mechanics of the properties and leases he was acquiring.

The partnership between the chef and his father-in-law came to an acrimonious end in October 2010 when Mr Hutcheson, 63, was sacked for allegedly withdrawing money from the business to fund a secret double life.

Yesterday, the film director Gary Love, who owns the York & Albany, said the High Court claim was simply an attempt by Ramsay to get the rent reduced. “I don’t know how Gordon Ramsay has got the temerity to bring this claim which simply makes him look completely ridiculous,” he said.

Philip Cohen, from solicitors Jeffrey, Green and Russell, who is representing Mr Love, said: “What he is alleging is most unlikely and extremely serious but he hasn’t involved the police, which is what one would expect when crimes are committed."

Mischon de Reya, representing Ramsay, declined to comment, as did Chris and Adam Hutcheson.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
News
i100
Life and Style
tech

Apple agrees deal with Visa on contactless payments

Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Technical Sales Manager

£45000 - £53000 Per Annum plus bonus plus package: The Green Recruitment Compa...

Humanities Teacher

£110 - £135 per day + Competitive Rates: Randstad Education Maidstone: Outstan...

SQL DBA/Developer

£500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL DBA/Developer SQL, C#, VBA, Data Warehousi...

Project Manager – Permanent – Circa £40k – West Midlands

£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor