Ramsay family feud explodes again with chef’s claim that ‘ghost writer’ signed rent guarantee
Sunday 14 April 2013
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.
sportLiverpool 5 Norwich City 1: Uruguayan striker has now scored 11 league goals against the club
arts + entsOlivier-nominated actor and singer is set to star in Lloyd Webber's musical about the Profumo affair
filmWith more than 70 per cent of early films lost, archivists are scouring the world to preserve the precious examples that remain
sportUnder-10s football coach sacked for telling parents he was 'only interested in winning'
techA piece of new hi-tech kit aims to get us scribbling again
life + styleClarissa Baldwin is the brains behind the slogan 'A Dog is for Life not just for Christmas'
Work until you’re 70: Chancellor George Osborne accused of ‘living in fantasy land’ over Autumn Statement pension reforms
What made Charles Saatchi grab my throat outside Scott's, by Nigella Lawson - as she accuses him of threatening to 'destroy' her with drug claims
Is this the scariest advert ever? Japanese tyre commercial comes with its own disclaimer and health warning
‘Put it in my mouth’: Viewers outraged by apparent reference to oral sex in VIP e-cig advert
Paul Walker death: Eight-year-old son of Porsche driver Roger Rodas tried to rescue his father
- 1 The hardwired difference between male and female brains could explain why men are 'better at map reading'
- 2 Is this the scariest advert ever? Japanese tyre commercial comes with its own disclaimer and health warning
- 3 A forgotten episode in Russian history leaves links with the Philippines
- 4 Syrian rebels consider joining forces with regime troops to fight al-Qa’ida
- 5 ‘Put it in my mouth’: Viewers outraged by apparent reference to oral sex in VIP e-cig advert
£50000 - £70000 per annum + London: Harrington Starr: Senior Automation QA Eng...
£35000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits : Harrington Starr: SQL 2008 R2/2012 Deve...
£38000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Creative Audit Se...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer (TSQL, P...