BMW Oracle seek removal of Americas Cup Trustee
On the eve of the latest court hearing in which BMW Oracle Racing will ask the New York Court to invalidate Ras Al Khamaih as the venue for the 33rd America’s Cup, the American team’s yacht club has filed a breach of fiduciary suit against the current America’s Cup Trustee, the Société Nautique de Geneve (SNG).
Both sides have issued statements:
Golden Gate Yacht Club
New York, NY, October 26, 2009 – Reckless and repeated disregard in its stewardship of the America’s Cup by the Société Nautique de Geneve (SNG) has prompted the Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC) to ask the New York Supreme Court to remove the Swiss yacht club from its position as Trustee in a Breach of Fiduciary Duty complaint filed today.
In its place, GGYC – the Challenger of Record the 33rd America’s Cup – has requested the Court to appoint a faithful, fit and proper substitute to oversee the next Match to be sailed in 2010, starting 8 February.
A new Trustee would provide equitable terms for both competitors, something SNG has denied GGYC by its orchestration and manipulation of the rules and processes designed to ensure that the defending sailing team, Alinghi, can not lose.
GGYC, and its sailing team, BMW ORACLE Racing, remain committed to sailing the Match on the dates in February 2010 set by the Court. There is no desire by this action to change Alinghi’s role as SNG’s sailing team and defender.
Foremost among a catalogue of failures of SNG and listed in a Breach of Fiduciary Duty complaint are:
- Offering the America’s Cup hosting rights in order to extract secret commercial deals
- Repeated attempts to seize control of the rules and officiating processes to ensure that Alinghi can not lose
- Moves to disqualify GGYC’s yacht despite assurances to the New York Supreme Court that this would not happen
- Selecting Ras Al Khaimah for the 33rd Cup to further its own business interests whilst exposing GGYC to unnecessary danger
“Winning the Cup brings not just honor and pride, but responsibilities too. The honor may have gone, but the responsibilities remain,” said Russell Coutts, Skipper and Chief Executive of GGYC’s challenging team, BMW ORACLE Racing.
Société Nautique de Geneve
Geneva, Switzerland – (2009-10-27) – “By filing their eighth legal action against the Defender of the America’s Cup in two years, Larry Ellison and his Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC) have demonstrated yet again that their true intention is to win sailing’s most prestigious trophy in court instead of on the water. After failing in their attempts to circumvent the terms set in the governing Deed of Gift, Ellison is now seeking to snatch the Cup from Société Nautique de Genève (SNG) with a new round of baseless allegations,” said Fred Meyer, Société Nautique de Genève Vice-Commodore. “As two-time winner of the America’s Cup and organiser of what was widely considered the most successful America’s Cup event ever in Valencia, Spain, in 2007, SNG and Alinghi will continue to fight for their legitimate rights in order to promote the sport of sailing around the world. We hope that GGYC will abandon this unsportsmanlike conduct and either join the competition on the waters off Ras Al Khaimah this February or let other teams who want to participate challenge for the Cup,” he concluded.
Alinghi team skipper Brad Butterworth said: “BMW Oracle should clean up their unsportsmanlike behaviour with a dose of saltwater and sunshine and challenge for the Cup on the water. Otherwise they should stand aside and let other teams compete.”
“The complaint is an affront to the America’s Cup, to the UAE, to our country’s relationship with an important ally, and to the judicial process. It is just a PR stunt. There is nothing in the complaint that hasn’t been the subject of prior or pending legal proceedings. Basically, GGYC doesn’t want to race SNG on the water after it disenfranchised 19 other clubs from competing in an elimination series and dislocated hundreds of sailors and participants in the sailing industry,” concluded lead counsel for the Société Nautique de Genève, Barry Ostrager of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.