A report says that former Port Vale sponsors Harlequin Property has applied for its sales arm to go into administration.
The company has taken more than £300m in deposits from at least 6,000 investors for off-plan luxury holiday accommodation across the Caribbean since 2006.
However, it has so far built just around 300 of the thousands of properties and is being investigated by the police, the Serious Fraud Office and Financial Services Authority.
A statement signed by director Carole Ames, of Brock Hill, Wickford, said: “The company is or is likely to become unable to pay its debts.”
Harlequin were brought to Port Vale by then Chairman Bill Bratt and were unveiled as the club’s main sponsor in 2008. In 2009, there were repeated claims by Bratt that Harlequin were poised to invest £500,000 in the club but the claims never came to fruition.
The claims were subject of much scepticism at the time prompting Bratt to complain about reports on a “fans’ website” and to claim that “via a website, the best sponsor this club has ever had is being unfairly maligned.” The proposed investment in Port Vale never materialised.
In 2010, Harlequin agreed a two-year extension to remain the club’s main sponsor.
However, the firm’s relationship with Vale ended badly in 2012 when the Sentinel newspaper revealed that Harlequin were sueing Vale over the repayment of a £125,000 to the Valiants, which had reportedly been agreed by Bratt.
At the time, then Vale director Perry Deakin told the newspaper: “We’re in dialogue with Harlequin. I fully expect the matter to be resolved within 14 days.”
Bratt: ‘Same values’
While the firm were Vale’s main sponsors, the Harlequin website contained a glowing testimonial from Bill Bratt which read:
“I am extremely pleased that you share the same values and principles and have a community ethos as we do… may I add that I think that the properties you are selling in Barbados, St Vincent and The Grenadines, St Lucia and the Dominican Republic are excellent value for money and the potential for capital growth on the properties is tremendous.”
Link: Bratt’s testimonial