Boss who boasted of lavish lifestyle is bankrupt with £100k debts
- Credit: Layden-Grant Seymour
A couple who appeared on national TV boasting about their luxury lifestyle are being chased for a six-figure sum in unpaid bills and were previously declared bankrupt.
Layden-Grant Seymour, his wife Fran and their nine children were featured on the ITV show Britain's Biggest Families on Thursday night.
Mr Seymour, who lives in Aldeburgh, bragged that he had more cars than children and was pictured with a Bentley and Jaguar. He also has a £70,000 Rolex collection.
“We work hard to give our children some luxuries in life," he said on the show. "We are not ones to analyse what we need, but it’s a phenomenal amount of money, so I prefer not to think about it.”
But what the 50-year old businessman did not reveal is that his company has a host of unpaid debts. His boasts have infuriated those chasing him for money.
One, who has complained to ITV, said today: "To read that he has still been able to live a life of luxury is a kick in the teeth."
Mr and Mrs Seymour's company, 4 Fun Limited, operates a large indoor play centre in Saxmundham. But it is being chased for more than £100,000 in unpaid debts according to court rulings.
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He told this newspaper that the family’s personal lives and that of their limited company are “legally separate”, adding: “The (ITV) programme was about us as a family.”
The father-of-nine, two girls and seven boys aged from three to 21, was pictured on the show driving a Bentley and treating his wife, Fran, to a helicopter ride for her birthday.
However, the couple also referred to harder times in the past. He said when he opened 4 Fun he had 13p in his bank account.
He said previously the family had almost been made homeless and had to live in a caravan.
Court records show that Mr and Mrs Seymour were both declared bankrupt in January 2011 at Romford County Court.
Their discharge status is listed as being 'suspended indefinitely', which means their bankruptcy cannot be discharged (absolved of paying debts) until certain conditions are met as specified in the 2011 court order.
Meanwhile, County Court Judgements (CCJ) against 4 Fun Limited show other businesses have gone to court to chase more than £100,000 in unpaid bills.
The largest judgement against the company is for £65,813 which was issued in January this year. Four other judgements were for £12,117 in September 2019, £665 in February 2020, £12,534 in April 2020 and £11,552 in May 2020.
In response, Mr Seymour told this newspaper that they entered lockdown with “no debts” and “no rent owing”, adding that 4 Fun was “doing well” having recently won play centre of the year.
“We were on target to achieve our goals but Covid struck,” he added.
However, not everyone who claims to be owed money by 4 Fun has taken out a CCJ.
Sara Docwra’s company, Effective Imaging Ltd based in Great Yarmouth, provided £10,000 worth of signs to 4 Fun when it set up in 2019.
However, she was not paid her money by the firm and had to get a solicitor to draw up a repayment plan with 4 Fun Ltd.
She said the company had repaid around £4,000 of the debt but stopped when the pandemic hit last year.
“We wanted to be lenient with them because of Covid, but then we saw them posting photos on Facebook of luxury cars and a helicopter ride.
“This week has been the final straw, seeing him plastered over the national press knowing that he still owes thousands of pounds to businesses.”
She wrote to ITV on Thursday morning to complain about the show being aired that evening.
She said: “It left our cash flow in a terrible state – so to read that he has still been able to live a life of luxury is a kick in the teeth. My family is sick to the stomach.”
Mr Seymour did not respond directly to Ms Docwra’s allegations. ITV bosses said: "This programme is focused on the challenges of raising an unusually large family and includes the Seymours, who have nine children, along with other big families.
“While the film shows elements of the Seymours’ lifestyle, Layden and his wife Fran also make clear to viewers in interview that they have encountered difficulties in business and have experienced financial issues."
The landlord of the 4 Fun unit, Roger Skinner, meanwhile, said the company stopped paying their rent when Covid hit and now owes him just over £120,000.
He said electricity had been cut off at the site by Eon who were owed a five-figure sum.
At the end of this month, he said he is taking 4 Fun to court to get them out of the unit.
“I think it is absolutely disgraceful that this man should come into our community and set up his business in the way he has,” he said.
“It is reprehensible that he is damaging local businesses who have done work for him in good faith.”
In response, Mr Seymour said they tried to negotiate with Mr Skinner over the rent.
“We have bills to pay. We need the business to prosper. Covid has crippled the business but it could survive if (Mr Skinner) wasn’t in need of the land,” he added.
“We want to rebuild 4 Fun and pay everyone and ultimately turn it into a non-profit charity for the benefit of all children.
“We are a hard-working family who has lost everything previously and we are working hard to rebuild it all but (the landlord) wants us gone. We did not owe (Mr Skinner) any rent before we were in lockdown. 4 Fun was doing well.”
The family were also filmed on the show taking over the lease of The Crown pub in Snape and plan to reopen it.
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