Ruling due in Ramsay pub battle

Published: Tuesday 20th January 2015 by The News Editor

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Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay learns today whether he has won – or lost – his High Court battle over being held personally liable for the rent on a London pub he bought.

The pub deal took place when his father-in-law Christopher Hutcheson was at the helm and helping him build his restaurant empire.

The superchef accused Mr Hutcheson in court of using a ghost writer machine, more commonly used by authors to sign books and photographs automatically, to forge his signature on a document which made him the personal guarantor for the costly £640,000 annual rent of the exclusive York & Albany pub near Regent’s Park.

He is asking a judge to grant him a declaration that the rental guarantee is not binding because his signature “was not lawfully authorised” when the 25-year lease was signed in 2007.

Film director Gary Love, who owns the York & Albany, described Ramsay’s allegation as an ‘absurd’ attempt to wriggle out of his rental commitments.

Mr Ramsay told the judge he felt “like a performing monkey” while Mr Hutcheson was managing his business.

His wife, Tana, said in evidence she had made an “extremely distressing” discovery that her father and brother were “systematically defrauding” her husband.

Tana, a close friend of Victoria Beckham, said she was aware of the use of the ghost writer machine, which enabled other people to reproduce her husband’s signature electronically, but thought it was for signing merchandising when her husband was unavailable.

She said: “It did not even occur to me that the machine might be used to sign Gordon’s signature on anything else.”

Mr Hutcheson acted as business manager for the Ramsay group of companies until the chef sacked him and Tana’s brother, Adam, on the grounds of “gross misconduct” in 2010.

Tana married Ramsay in 1996 and has four children with him. In court she spoke about her “dominating, very clever” father.

She recalled “the shock on Gordon’s face” and the horror and disbelief when the couple’s solicitor Larry Nathan, of law firm Mishcon de Reya, told her husband that the lease for the York & Albany included a personal guarantee from him for 25 years.

Published: Tuesday 20th January 2015 by The News Editor

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