Ivan Yates: no plans to sell Celtic Bookmakers

A row about the alleged non-payment of shop rent by Ivan Yates is heading to court as landlords based in Meath claim the bookmaker and radio personality broke a lease agreement by returning the keys of a branch of Celtic Bookmakers in Navan.

Trimgate Partnership, which includes property developers and commercial landlords Eamon Duignan and Cathal McCarthy, claim Yates dropped back the keys on a Celtic Bookmakers shop in Navan town centre last year despite owing them rent and breaking a lease agreement on the shop which, they say, still has about 14 of 20 years to run. Yates is managing director of Celtic Bookmakers.

The landlords claim that Celtic Bookmakers owes part of a €30,000 annual rent bill and has broken the lease agreement. Separately, Trimgate says it has written to Yates challenging his move to switch the status of his company from an unlimited liability, meaning that he personally guarantees its debts, to one of limited liability.

But it is understood that Yates will vigorously contest the court action.

Speaking on Friday, Yates told the Sunday Tribune that his corporate advisers recommended some time ago that he switch to limited liability to facilitate any potential merger of Celtic Bookmakers. He said that his 60-strong chain of bookmaking shops was trading well and had not suffered from the much publicised downturn affecting rival chains in the book making industry. Yates said there were no plans to buy, sell or merge any part of Celtic Bookmakers.

It is believed that Celtic Bookmakers paid up the rent on the Navan shop to last August and removed a sign above the shop which remains vacant.