List Your Boat Click for Westport Click for Glendinning Click for Lurssen Click for Abeking

Buyers Trapped in Feud with Sunseeker...

Discussion in 'Sunseeker Yacht' started by YachtForums, Jul 29, 2019.

You need to be registered and signed in to view this content.
  1. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Messages:
    6,850
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    They sure manage to say absolutely nothing in that except they do reveal one thing very important and that is "The disputes are being addressed appropriately through judicial process." Translation if you're involved is that you can't expect any outcome of this anytime in the near future. There is no hope for a resolution outside the judicial process which includes the courts and arbitration. The contract between Sunseeker and Obey apparently requires arbitration on their dispute but Obey is trying to get the courts to handle it and overrule that clause.

    The statement "Sunseeker Group is profitable and well funded" is curious. First, it's dangerous from a legal standpoint as it might link Sunseeker International and Sunseeker USA and they don't want to do that. Sunseeker USA is likely not well funded. Referring to "Sunseeker Group". My reading would be Sunseeker International Limited and all subsidiaries.

    As to profitable, they are, but weren't in 2017 and in 2018, their profit was only 2% of sales. As to well funded, to this point they've done ok but I'd hardly call them well funded. Their liabilities exceed their assets by 57 million pounds and their current liabilities exceed their current assets by 98 million pounds. This is Sunseeker International Limited. They do not include Sunseeker USA as a subsidiary but report it as an entity owned by key management of the group. Sales to it were just over 68 million pounds in 2018, about 23% of their total sales, down significantly from the previous year.

    In a word, Wanda could drop Sunseeker and not even notice a blip to their overall operations or they could continue to support them. As to funding, they're really not doing all that much from what I can tell. Sunseeker's funding is based on accounts payable and a revolver from HSBC. As of December 31, they only had on their books a loan from their parent of 10 million euro, repayable on demand but only with permission of HSBC.

    Now, looking forward, what will Brexit do to impact Sunseeker (and Princess)? What about tariffs? Fortunately none from the US impacting them at this time.

    I bring all this up only because they opened the door with their statement.

    As to Sunseeker USA Holdings, Inc. and Sunseeker USA Sales, Inc., I don't know anything about their finances or even who owns them, other than it's owned by key management of Sunseeker International Limited.
  2. RER

    RER Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Messages:
    1,436
    Location:
    Newport Beach CA
    I think this is clearly damage control. My take is that it speaks directly to the reservations some potential future clients may have in building a new Sunseeker. And I think when companies have to make that kind of statement, that everything is fine, usually things are not fine. I wouldn't be surprised to see Dalian Wanda Group get out of the Sunseeker business.
  3. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Messages:
    6,850
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    Yes, the had no reason to post Sunseeker was fine and dandy. The fact they did just make one more questioning.

    Fact is, we owned a Sunseeker and were considering another possibly a year or less from now. We wouldn't buy through a dealer or the US affiliate and would only buy today with a commercial letter of credit or similar device. I believe that if Wanda could find a buyer, they'd sell. Unable to find a buyer, I don't think they're in it the long term and the moment the market turns bad again, they'll bail.
  4. bliss

    bliss Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2009
    Messages:
    159
    Location:
    Racine
    +1 Sunseeker is a teeny part of Wanda. If it were in Wanda's interest they could resolve most of the issues with the flick of a finger. Bail or find a buyer makes sense. Criminal stuff - if any - I have no guess.
  5. Yachtguymke

    Yachtguymke Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2004
    Messages:
    231
    Location:
    Naptown
    This case has been wrapped up and decided on in favor of Sunseeker.

    Attached Files:

  6. Gratitude

    Gratitude Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2019
    Messages:
    35
    Location:
    Boca Raton, FL
    What a horror story. I should consider myself lucky. In my purchase to which I am still waiting for delivery, I gave a $10,000 deposit at the FLIBS in November and the balance of payment is not due until the boat arrives at the dealer on US shores (here in Florida). After reading the whole thread above I can let out a deep breath and a sigh of relief.

    To me the key to the story is when Rick Obey refused an audit of their books by Sunseeker. If they forwarded the funds as stated, they should have had no objection.
  7. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Messages:
    6,850
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    Yes, but that's only a small side case of the total situation and the litigation continues and likely will for quite a while. The only thing that case decided was that the boat in question was not subject to Part D of the Admiralty regulations and therefore not subject to arrest. Admiralty regulations do not cover contracts but only assertion of legal title. Kevin Turner never held legal title to the boat in question so cannot have it arrested.

    The state case continues.
  8. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Messages:
    6,850
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    Since November, the state case has continued with another 277 pages of filings and amended complaints and motions to dismiss and requests for production and responses which almost completely say the requests were for information outside the jurisdiction of Florida and notices for hearings to be held in June.

    Meanwhile Sunseeker continues business in Florida, Rick Obey continues business under Rick Obey Yacht Sales (selling Astondoa and Regulator plus Pre-owned) and Turner remains out his money and without boat with no signs of anything happening anytime soon.

    Note also that Velvet Beach has also filed a claim for Fraud against Sunseeker and Obey. Less money as only a 66' boat, but all the same issues. JPC had filed earlier on a 76'. So at least three pending suits by boat buyers and no telling how many other customers harmed.

    And again a warning to all, before turning over millions to anyone, protect yourself and do due diligence, and if you find court filings involving individuals in the past, the pattern may well repeat itself.
  9. amgscrap

    amgscrap Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2012
    Messages:
    51
    Location:
    boca raton
    No matter who is right or wrong, Sunseeker is certainly placing a cloud over themselves in the USA. It will hurt their USA sales. The amount in dispute may be dwarfed by the loss of future sales.
  10. RER

    RER Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Messages:
    1,436
    Location:
    Newport Beach CA
    As this plays out Sunseeker will suffer damages regardless because they are the party with something to lose - even if it's only to their public image.

    Let's not forget that it appears Sunseeker was willing to live with Obey's sloppy financial practices up to a point.

    It's a safe bet that Obey's Sunseeker dealership is an empty shell with the possible exception of an insurance policy in place at that time. What are the odds of criminal fraud charges eventually? Probably a long shot.
  11. RER

    RER Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Messages:
    1,436
    Location:
    Newport Beach CA
    FWIW I think Obey's reputation at this point is not going to change. It is what it is. The name is damaged goods but in the yacht brokerage business it hardly matters to some buyers so they will continue to catch deals from those who don't pay attention to such things or don't care, and they will miss the business from those who do.

    I've had sketchy brokers bring a buyer to my listing and I've insisted that we hold the deposit and all financials are to run through us - which they agreed to. Protecting both buyer and seller.

    I suppose the real question here is what happened to the buyer's money?
  12. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Messages:
    6,850
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    Let's also not overlook history. 14 cases in Broward County involving Marine Consulting/Obey plus 4 more involving Obey. Long history of issues over territories and dealerships with Sunseeker including Nautikos, Atlantic, Marine Consulting and Faraldo. Now you have several owners left in bad situations. I don't know how many as I don't know if Obey is still holding the boats hostage on which warranty service has been performed.

    One thing I find very disturbing by it all is that the vast majority of legal filings so far just involve determining jurisdiction and who the correct legal parties to the suits are. Now our businesses are in many separate legal entities so we all tend to do it. One difference is our businesses have never had a lawsuit filed against them or filed one.

    The other thing I find most disturbing is no effort by anyone to help the customers and then deal with their conflict. I can't say that anyone could do so, either financially or legally. The thinness of companies that present themselves as being large is often staggering. While the money involved is big to the boat buyers, it's huge money for the dealer who probably kept no money in the corporation and it's huge money for the builder who is funded minimally by their parent.

    As to reputation, right now I wouldn't buy or do any deal with any of the involved parties. With some, there's no chance of that changing. With others, it possibly could in the future but wouldn't bet on it.
  13. bayoubud

    bayoubud Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2017
    Messages:
    1,028
    Location:
    Florida
    Thought yacht brokers were required to hold money in an escrow account. Where is the Florida DBPR that oversee and license the yacht brokers?
  14. RER

    RER Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Messages:
    1,436
    Location:
    Newport Beach CA
    Yes, they are. I can't answer your question because I don't know what happened to the buyer's money.

    New boat sales are not regulated the same as brokerage sales. However if you are licensed for brokerage sales and also sell new boats I believe you are bound by the rules associated with your brokerage license. Somewhere the DBPR fits into the puzzle.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2020
  15. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Messages:
    6,850
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    Licensing isn't required to sell a new boat. Now, there's still plenty of fraud and criminal activity here if an aggressive DA decides to prosecute. I'm sure at this point they're, at the very least, waiting, hoping to increase the odds of recovery.
  16. bayoubud

    bayoubud Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2017
    Messages:
    1,028
    Location:
    Florida
    I think that is the problem, nobody knows what happened to the money, except Rick Obey.
  17. Yachtguymke

    Yachtguymke Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2004
    Messages:
    231
    Location:
    Naptown
    Obey and Sean Robertson at Sunseeker are best friends. RO was in bed with Sunseeker management and was able to get away with creative financial tactics for a long time.
  18. bayoubud

    bayoubud Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2017
    Messages:
    1,028
    Location:
    Florida
    Surprising Florida doesn't require all yacht/boat broker business owners to be licensed with bonding, would help weed out the bad ones and compensate buyers when swindled.
  19. amgscrap

    amgscrap Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2012
    Messages:
    51
    Location:
    boca raton
    According to Obey he did a set off with the deposit money against what Sunseeker owed him for warranty work on another Sunseeker boat. Problem is deposit money is put into trust and can’t be used for other purposes. It was mentioned by Oldboater that most of court filings were procedural over jurisdiction. Almost all new boat contracts have a venue clause. Sunseeker has one that all actions must be brought and litigated in the County they are located in the UK. Makes it difficult or impossible to bring an action and have a fair hearing. Never heard of a builder agreeing to change a venue provision. That is the risk of buying a foreign made boat.
  20. Yachtguymke

    Yachtguymke Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2004
    Messages:
    231
    Location:
    Naptown
    Thats why Sunseeker UK setup Sunseeker USA to protect themselves from offshore litigation.