Big yachts have long been an attribute of luxury living. The mighty often use them for official meetings and to satisfy their own vanity. Among oligarchs, kings and heads of state, the most humble are the presidents of the USA.
Congressmen have decided to purchase the new Sequoia for 31st President Herbert Hoover. This 30 meter timber yacht, capable of speeds up to 14 knots, was built between 1926 and 1927 in Camden, New Jersey for millionaire Richard Calvarader, president of the «Sequoia Oil Company». The yacht cost the future owner an astronomical $200,000, but he quickly abandoned it because he considered the finish to be very modest.
In 1931, the Sequoia was purchased for the U.S. Department of Commerce and operated as an anti-smuggling patrol boat during the dry law period. Only in 1933 did the boat officially join the U.S. Navy as a presidential yacht.
However, the appearance of Franklin Roosevelt in the White House changed the situation. Paralyzed after polio at age 39, President Roosevelt feared for the rest of his life that he would not be able to escape the fire in case of a fire. So he gave up his wooden presidential yacht Sequoia, wishing for a steel hull right after his inauguration. At the same time, the President refused to build a new vessel for the sake of economy, offering to do so to the fleet.
On board the Sequoia, John Kennedy celebrated his last birthday, while Richard Nixon sang "God Bless America" before retiring and accompanied himself on the ship's piano. Jimmy Carter sold his yacht in 1977. The Presidential Yacht Trust, a non-profit organization, bought the yacht in 1980 and leased it. In 2000, after a $2 million restoration, the yacht was bought by American businessman Gary Silversmith, who set up the Sequoia Presidential Yacht Group, which organizes VIP tours for $2500 per hour.
The conflict has been ignited by the fact that FE Partners, the Group's creditor, a month ago filed for Silversmith to court. The latter counted the appeal as "a sneaky plan to seize control." over a historic 88-year-old ship. FE Partners has announced claims "untrue"Noting that Silversmith himself addressed them in order to keep Sequoia in the USA after the Russian giant Gazprom showed interest in it. The President of the Sequoia Presidential Yacht Group rejected the accusations against him in response.
Michael Kantor, the director of FE Partners, stated under oath that Silversmith blackmailed his company and withheld more than $10 million from other creditors, as well as failed to pay the crew salary.
But the most unpleasant thing about this case was that Silversmith was trying to blackmail the captain's relative working in the White House. Gina Sandjins lent some money to the Sequoia Yacht Group but ended up with much less.
History is getting more and more confusing, everyone is standing on his own. One thing is clear: the case of Sequoia will dampen the reputation of both Silversmith himself and the Sequoia Yacht Group.
As we can see, yachting is not always about fun and noble lifestyle, attracting not the most decent people.