RMS Titanic fires Michael Harris


Bob Mervine

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Aug 22, 2007
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ORLANDO BUSINESS JOURNAL
By BOB MERVINE Contributing Writer
FRIDAY, September 1, 2000
ORLANDO - The colorful co-founder of the I-Drive attraction "Titanic: Ship of Dreams" has been torpedoed: G. Michael Harris, chief operating officer of RMS Titanic, Inc., has been fired after being abruptly recalled from the stormy North Atlantic where he was salvaging treasures from the doomed vessel.
Harris could not be reached for comment.
Spokesmen for RMS Titanic confirm the termination, but offered little solid information about Harris' dismissal.
It's not immediately known how, or if, Harris' firing will affect the I-Drive exhibit. However, it does remove Harris from the helm of the only company with legal salvage rights to the vessel - a critical link in obtaining more exhibit items.
The dismissal caps an already turbulent chapter in RMS Titanic Inc.
Harris and company president and CEO Arnie Geller helped lead the shareholder ouster of former CEO George Tulloch, general counsel Allan Carlin and two other directors in an overnight Thanksgiving Day coup. Charges and countercharges followed: In fact, Carlin spent 10 hours in jail for allegedly stealing 20 boxes of documents and wiping out the firm's computer hard drives. Charges were later dropped.
After the dust settled, Geller and Harris were left as the only surviving company officers. They quickly assumed the top posts and, this June, both signed off on lucrative contracts: a $300,000 annual salary, guaranteed raises of 5 percent per year, a $1,000 a month car allowance and stock options valued at more than $1 million.
At the same time, RMS Titanic had a contract in place ensuring that the Orlando attraction - which Harris co-founded - would turn over 20 percent of its profits to RMS Titanic.
Profits at the Orlando attraction, though, have depended in part on the acquisition of still more artifacts from the sunken ship. Some felt there simply have not been enough items to draw crowds. New general manager Pat Burns freely admitted that the I-Drive attraction missed original first year projections of 1 million visitors.
But Harris, whose father took him searching for the missing wreck as a young man, was already involved in mounting still another expedition to gather artifacts from the rapidly disintegrating 90-year-old ship.
That was one reason the Orlando attraction believed it could have as many as 40 new artifacts before year's end, perhaps the $300,000,000 bag of diamonds, the band new 1912 Renault or the jewel-encrusted Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam still stored in the ship's cargo hold.
And, in fact, Harris, the expedition's leader, was one of three men in a submersible sub who found a leather case about 200 feet from the Titanic's mangled stern containing still-fragrant vials of perfumes.
But it appears to be the first and last time Harris will go back to the Titanic. RMS Titanic Inc. not only owns salvage rights, it has fought for, and won, exclusive legal rights to even dive at the wreckage site - essentially barring other visitors.
 
Dec 12, 1999
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This article confirms what I suspected all along. Harris and Geller were paying themselves an enormous salary ($300,000 plus many perks versus $125,000 for George Tulloch), and Harris was funneling artifacts to his own money-making exhibits in Orlando - - leaving only 20% for R.M.S. Titanic. Given last year's fall in revenues, and the cost of putting together the salvage expedition, I don't know how R.M.S. Titanic can afford these two. Further, with respect to the Orlando business, this could be a conflict of interest, usurpation of a corporate opportunity, or the like, on Harris' part. Perhaps they found a way to get around it. But, it appears that some shareholders have become angry with them. Not much about this Orlando "I-Drive" business was disclosed in R.M.S. Titanic's 10(q) statement from February.
 
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Tracey McIntire

Guest
Hi guys!
Looks like RMST is seeing its share of problems! Can't say that I'm sorry either. I just wonder what will become of all the artifacts if the company goes under (no pun intended). There is a hearing scheduled at Norfolk District Court for Sept. 8th--George Tulloch and Harris are supposed to be there. Should be an interesting show . . .
Sincerely,
Tracey
 
May 9, 2001
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There is clearly no real concern for Titanic, or the tragedy it stands for, expressed by RMST. Without a doubt these characters have exploitation written all over them. How can anyone ever accept anything that comes out of their mouths as being objective or scientific. That company should be investigated by the US Dept. of Commerce for unethical conduct and corporate vandalism against an international shrine. Their rights to ownership should be stripped from them and the entire wreck and all its contents, current and removed, be handed to the US Navy for temporary custody. Until a legitimate company or organization could be found to take over care of the site.
IMO RMST has been lying about the state of the wreck from day one. All that talk about the ship being about ready to cave into itself is only intended to be a scare tactic and create a false crisis that allows them more leeway to tear into the hull to get whats inside. Call me a conspiracist if you will but I have a theory about RMST's true motivation and their ultimate goal regarding Titanic. I'm sure I'll get my share of critisism buy this needs to be heard!
I'll start a new thread with my theory.
Then I'll go hide in my Y2K bunker while the assault ensues. After the dust clears I'll re-emerge to post my responses.
happy.gif


Yuri
 
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Tracey McIntire

Guest
Hi Yuri!
I will be most interested to read your theory. And that bunker of yours might get crowded--there are a lot of folks on this board that agree with you--including me.
Sincerely,
Tracey McIntire
 

Bob Mervine

Member
Aug 22, 2007
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FYI -- Marc Davis of the Norfolk Virgina-pilot has been covering this story very well. His piece from Thursday -with much more detail about what the expedition found -- is at >> http://www.pilotonline.com/news/nw0831tit.html <<.

He goes into far more detail than our business oriented weekly could afford to.

The Sept. 8th hearing promises to be a real bell-ringer !!
 
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Tracey McIntire

Guest
Hi Bob!
I have been e-mailing Marc from time to time. He told me that the Sept. 8th hearings are open to the public. So for anyone out there who might want to take a Titanic "field trip"--come on down! (And be sure to look me up if you do!)
Sincerely,
Tracey McIntire
 

Dan Cherry

Member
Mar 3, 2000
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Yuri,
I, too, was under the impression from Day One that RMST was only saying the ship was deteriorating fast to seemingly make their cause all the more 'legitimate'.

Count me in among the rising 'bunker' population!

Regards,
Dan
 
May 9, 2001
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To all fellow bunker dwellers,

I've posted my theory. Look for it.

BTW, ...does anyone have a can opener?

Yuri
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
Yuri, got any more room in that shelter of yours? I have a can opener in my bag along with the Titanic material I take with me to read on breaks at work. Both complete transcripts and a few others. My Titanic Reader and Titanic, Destination Disaster arrived today as well.

Hopefully, this will mean the beginning of the end for RMST and perhaps a beginning for a more reputable group.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

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