I have been so busy this past week with the hearing and then trying to get back to normal schedules that I have not had time to update this board. My apologies for that. In my absence, I should thank Bill Willard, who as always, does a fine job of presenting the latest facts.
Yes, the court in Richmond came out like a lion against some of the stances taken by RMST. Thank heaven they took this position. And true, Gavin, the decision is not yet final. It won't officially come down for 2 to 6 months I'm told. But having been in attendance, I would find it hard to bet against the Richmond court ultimately ordering RMST to go back to Norfolk to iron out their discrepancies.
I am aware of several instances where RMST has attempted to negotiate sale of portions of the artifact collection with reputable museum concerns throughout the world. The Norfolk court has said repeatedly that the collection may not be broken apart and must be sold as one complete collection to a recognized museum facility that will in turn agree to keep the collection conserved and together for future generations to see and learn from. I am most agreeable with that stance. I might even agree to an eventual arrangement where the entire 6,000+ artifact collection might be separated into two or three major portions all held by reputable museum programs throughout the world for continuing display. But I cannot support transfer of all or part of the collection from RMST to a foundation owned by Arnie Geller, with his wife Judy being the chief financial officer and his doctor being one of the two other board members. That smells of Arnie Geller, CEO of RMST, selling Arnie Gelller, CEO of the foundation, the artifacts to avoid court interference. And then, what is to stop sale to collectors at random throughout the world, effectively dismembering the collection of artifacts? The court in Norfolk, which has acted with so much wisdom and foresight throughout the years of expeditions and acculmuation of recovered artifacts is our one best hope to control and administer the continuing repsonsibilities of caring for and housing the artifacts for future generations.
RMST must go back to Norfolk with their concerns and address them with that court. They are entitled to adequate payment for their work as a salvor, but they are entitled only to that. If financial mismanagement leaves RMST in precarious financial positions, that is not the concern of the court. Bad business decisions cannot jeopardize the artifacts and wreck site. If RMST goes bankrupt, another salvor will be assigned to take RMST's place and the world will continue as it was. When salvage work is completed, a natural course of events will and should take place to assure the wreck is administered (NOAA and the US Coast Guard may play a key role in that ongoing responsibility according to newly published guidelines)and that the artifacts are properly placed as discussed above. The salvor at that time must file claim for additional relief it feels it is owed and the court in Norfolk will have to address that matter until both the court and the salvor is satisfied. But clearly, it is the court which controls the execution of events at all times, not the salvage company. Because of that, I am resting more comfortably than I have for a while.