Port Vale are being sued by current shirt sponsors Harlequin Properties, the Staffordshire Sentinel has revealed. The news of the legal move is another highly damaging and embarrassing episode for the club’s underfire board.
Harlequin is suing Vale for breach of contract for failure to repay the loan and said it has refused the chance to renew its shirt sponsorship at the end of the season as a result of the dispute.
The legal papers state Harlequin agreed the £125,000 loan with former chairman Bill Bratt to assist “cash flow and purchase players for the team”.
Harlequin says the club agreed the loan would become repayable, and interest would begin to accrue, if control of the club’s board changed. Chairman Bill Bratt resigned in October with CEO Perry Deakin and then-Chairman Peter Miller appointed in the same month.
Harlequin acknowledges it owes Vale £51,000 as part of the sponsorship agreement and has deducted the sum from its claim. Therefore Harlequin says it is owed £74,000, plus £1,926 in interest since the board changes in October
This news comes just a week after it emerged the Port Vale board missed the January 31 deadline to pay last month’s loan payment of £19,616 to Stoke-on-Trent City Council.
The club has already twice breached the terms of the £2.25 million council deal by taking out a mortgage worth £277,000 against Vale Park and missing a deadline to file company accounts.
A spokesman for Harlequin said: “We are not prepared to comment on the details of the claim.
“It was hoped that discussions with the club would lead to an amicable resolution, but this was not possible.
“As a result of the current situation, Harlequin Property has declined to renew the shirt sponsorship agreement at the end of this season.”
Port Vale director Perry Deakin told the newspaper: “This is a loan that the former chairman took out quite a while ago and we’re in the process of trying to clarify exactly what the terms were.
“We’re in dialogue with Harlequin. I fully expect the matter to be resolved within 14 days.
“It will be resolved amiably, without question.”