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.

VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Life & Style
Father and son: Michael Williams with son Edmund
lifeAs his son’s bar mitzvah approaches, CofE-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys he’s experienced in learning about his family’s other faith
Arts & Entertainment
Ian Anderson, the leader of British rock band Jethro Tull, (right) and British guitar player Martin Barre (left) perform on stage
musicJethro Tull frontman leads ‘prog rock’ revival
Sport
Gareth Bale dribbled from inside his own half and finished calmly late in the final to hand Real a 2-1 win at the Mestalla in Valencia
sport
Arts & Entertainment
Who laughs lass: Jenny Collier on stage
comedy... writes Jenny Collier, the comedian whose recent show was cancelled because there were 'too many women' on the bill
News
House proud: keeping up with the Joneses now extends to children's playhouses
newsLuxury playhouses now on the market for as much as £800
News
news
Life & Style
Stir it up: the writer gets a lichen masterclass from executive chef Vivek Singh of the Cinnamon restaurants
food + drinkLichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines
Extras
indybest
Arts & Entertainment
Ken Loach (left) and Mike Leigh who will be going head to head for one of cinema's most coveted prizes at this year's Cannes Film Festival
filmKen Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
News
The academic, Annamaria Testa, has set out on her website a list of 300 English words that she says Italians ought to stop using
newsAcademic speaks out against 'Italianglo' - the use of English words in Italian language
Life & Style
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers