RMS TItanic Inc Seeks Permission To Sell Artifacts

Teri Lynn Milch

Senior Member
Apr 7, 2001
1,053
2
0
Hello Mark,

<<However the key question is not whether the promise was made (it was) but whether such a promise is legally binding particularly if the company has changed hands (which it has).>>

In clarifying "changed hands," do you mean changed CEO or BODs'?

Sincerely,

Teri
 

Bill Willard

Member
Mar 24, 2001
272
1
148
Teri,

Both. In November, 1999, a shareholder uprising under allegedly shady circumstances indicated that slightly over 50% (I think it was 50.22%) of the outstanding shares agreed with a takeover effort by Geller, Harris, and others.

The shareholders voted to oust directors Tulloch, Carlin, Hothorn, Nargeolet, etc. They voted in Harris and Geller, who immediately 'terminated' Carlin and Tulloch, and hired themselves as CEO (Geller) and COO (Harris). They subsequently changed company bylaws to prohibit an ousting of a director with a 50%+ shareholder vote. They changed the number to 80%. Then Geller proceeded to give away almost 5 million shares and share options to support his side of the takeover argument.

So both officers and board changed. Since the takeover, Harris was fired and is in a major suit in Florida against RMSTI. He was replaced on the board as well. Geller, CFO Gerald Couture, Nestor Cretan, and Doug Banker are the four board members now.

I want to clarify my use of the word 'alleged' above when talking about the takeover. Michael Harris, immediately after his termination, and quoted in Marc Davis' September 2000 article, clearly states that the SEC would be interested in hearing things that he knew. (paraphrased)

I do know the SEC is involved, and hopefully they will reveal that Geller is clear of any wrongdoing, OR that he is in violation of statues and laws, and give the shareholders the company back. They have to find one of those two options.

Bill
 
Jan 29, 2001
1,282
0
166
Mr. Taylor:

As you are aware I have followed this embattled TITANIC salvage issue with diligence from day one of embarkation by IFREMER from the Azores in 1987.

As a previous subscriber to your TITANIC-Discuss list I was a steadfast supporter of George
Tulloch and remain so to this day. I can recall the blatent accusations of which most, if not all, lacked the facts to substantiate any truth.

In my data files I can find nowhere, an objective of RMSTI, bearing in mind, and as you noted Tulloch's tenure the dispersal of the artifcts. What I do find, time and again, is this dream of Tulloch's to tour the artifacts in exhibition concluding with a permanent floating museum. Unfortunately that man's dream failed to meet fruition.

So many of you were ignorant to George Tulloch's worth, and I recall when his boy subscribed to your list how unfairly he was treated by the others.

On behalf of this labled "used car salesman" (BTW, the most successful used BMW's in America) George Tulloch summoned the leaders of their respective fields to contribute the knowledge and skills which in turn now belong to the George Tuloch chapter of a TITANIC legacy. His deeds will fair better than most here.

And now many want him back. I feel it too late for that now. They had him wrong all along.

BTW, whatever became of the infamous "crows nest" video footage. Or was there just *that one* that Mr. Butler failed to materialize. Now Mark we are talking 14 yrs. and still nothing to substantiate this either.

I remain,
Michael Cundiff
USA
 

Mark Taylor

Member
Mar 18, 2005
52
0
76
In response to the post by Mr. Cundiff:

To set the record straight for those unfamiliar, on my list (and under its previous owner), certain members engaged in long and often heated disputes over the merits of salvage. George Tulloch was the target of many who disliked RMS Titanic and him in particular.

Many accusations were indeed made about the selling of artifacts, the destruction of the crows nest etc. And it should be pointed out that one person in particular made those allegations that were repeated often by those in the antisalvage camp. However no proof of any kind has ever been found to substantiate those wild allegations. As to the crows nest video, those who claim to have it never produce it for proper authentication and public comment. So the allegation is simply unproven and most likely a hoax.

And I never engaged in hurling insults or calling Tulloch names. I do believe that if people wish to argue the merits of salvage, they make arguments based on principle and fact and not with personal insults

However the salvage debate is more or less over. Most on both sides have basically stopped discussing the issue. And those most responsible for the most heated and personal insults have long since departed the list or simply have gone silent.
 

Teri Lynn Milch

Senior Member
Apr 7, 2001
1,053
2
0
Mr. Cundiff,

No matter what is said to you regarding the artifacts/Tulloch matter, what should be noted here is that underneath that I see you harboring a genuine compassion and concern for preserving these pieces of historical monuments, and for that I am truly grateful. (If I am wrong, please correct.)

Although I know nothing about the "crow's nest video footage", I am aware of the fact that RMST "supposedly" removed a masthead light from the ship, as a Board Member recently informed me here on ET. I wrote to Geller personally requesting that he send me a copy of his legal document stating he had the right to remove a piece of the ship, but he never responded to my letter. (I still have a copy of this letter if you're interested) This, to me, shows bad public relations on RMST's behalf. A response of some sort should have been sent, but of course with all due respect to his ah, current situation, I might understand his curbing reply.

Sincerely,

Teri
 

Teri Lynn Milch

Senior Member
Apr 7, 2001
1,053
2
0
Bill,

<<So both officers and board changed. Since the takeover, Harris was fired and is in a major suit in Florida against RMSTI.>>

Oh no, don't tell me Harris filed a wrongful termination suit against RMST! Lordie lordie, RMST has got themselves in more trouble than anyone I know...

Sincerely,

Teri
 

Mike Bull

Member
Dec 23, 2000
515
1
146
While the cause of the loss of the crows nest may still be unclear-whether it was natural corrosion or RMS T. yanking on it-it seems pretty clear to me that the mast light was removed-presumably with some little force-from the topmost part of the fallen mast. Inexcusable behaviour, I'd say.
 

Bill Willard

Member
Mar 24, 2001
272
1
148
I appreciate Mark Taylor's comments from above. The debate regarding salvage is over. Whether you agree or disagree with it, the issue is decided.

Mike, If you're going to make an issue of the masthead light, why aren't you fussing at the Cameron expedition for tearing apart the framing of the Marconi ceiling window? And, on the same trip, pulling down the wall to Captain Smith's cabin? Why didn't you denounce the 2000 Expedition? They went for an anchor, the mail, and all the cargo they could recover.

If Tulloch didn't get the rights, someone else would have who didn't have the same intentions for the artifacts. To call RSMTI's actions "inexcusable behavior" eliminates everyone from the perfect path. Remember Ballard tried to open the safe and did damage with dragged cables. Cameron left his mark, and we can't eliminate the French and the Russians from blame, because they are responsible just as those in the submersibles.

I respect your right to disagree, and I complement you on your strength of conviction, but my perspective is that the ship will be gone soon. I don't want it to disappear forever.

Respectfully,
Bill
 
D

Dave Shuttle

Guest
To salvage or not to salvage is not the intent of this thread. Certainly, as several have said and as we all know, salvage has occurred and will continue to occur in the future. Even at this late point in history there will be those who are pro-salvage and those who remain anti-salvage. The discussion is moot. However, the intent of the thread is to discuss the merits (or lack thereof) of attempting to sell the artifact collection in portions or piecemeal to anyone with enough money and interest. The real question one must ask himself (herself) is: How do I feel about the situation where a collection of world class artifacts that tells about Titanic's short life and history might be destroyed by selling the artifacts in small (up to 300 pieces) blocks to interested museums or one-by-one to collectors at random throughout the world?

I have a personal connection to Titanic artifacts. 19 of my family's letters have been recovered among the possessions of Howard Irwin (1993 expedition.) I DO NOT WANT THESE SOLD. I was guaranteed in person and in writing by George Tulloch that they never would be sold. I cannot hold Mr. Tulloch responsible for the actions of RMSTI under Arnie Geller, but I can work to oppose current plans by RMSTI to dissolve the collection for the misguided purpose of increased profits to shareholders of RMSTI. I am also a shareholder and I do not believe I will ever see a return of profitability that will make such a sale worthwhile.

In fact, the artifact collection is one of the unique wonders of the modern world. No sale is justified when it dilutes the value of the artifacts as a collection for generations to come to view and understand as historical pieces that tell the story of the world's most famous shipwreck.
 

Kyrila Scully

Member
Apr 15, 2001
2,079
6
168
South Florida
Well put, Bill and Dave. I've never been opposed to salvage for the historic preservation and study of Titanic, but I am opposed to selling the artifacts for profit. That's tantamount to blood money! Titanic was a serious loss to the public, and her artifacts should be available to the public. It's no different from the vultures who tried and were prevented from selling "souvenirs" from the salvage of the WTC on Ebay. Geller and his ilk should be ashamed of themselves for their greed, but of course they won't be. I take comfort in the knowledge that what goes around comes around and that Geller will forever suffer the consequences of any bad karma he creates.

Kyrila Scully
 

Mike Bull

Member
Dec 23, 2000
515
1
146
Bill, you are quite right that practically all the expeditions to the ship have left a mark one way or another. Judging from 'Titanic and the making of James Cameron' the Russians didn't know their way around the wreck very well at all, and it was they, and not Cameron personally, who were responsible for crashing into and damaging many a part of the wreck.
Wasn't the 2000 expedition post-Tulloch? Gellar wanting to pull an anchor off/cut into the hull etc etc. was really the start of this whole new 'Sell it all' phase we're in now.

So yes, I denounce fully all damage caused to the wreck, though it is the damage caused deliberately that rankles the most. Otherwise, accidents, however unfortunate, DO happen.
 

Teri Lynn Milch

Senior Member
Apr 7, 2001
1,053
2
0
Mark & Bill,

What type of private enterprise would be interested in the artifacts? I would think mainly Titanic enthusiasts, Titanic historians and maybe a nautical collector or two would be interested in them. We all agree that a museum would be the best place for all of the artifacts, but I want to enter here, another look at a non-ideal situation that could happen. What if someone purchases artifacts that require special handling, special water, etc. etc.? Wouldn't they have to put the artifacts in a museum where they could be properly cared for? Also, can this be entered in as an argument for contention?

Whatever private enterprise or individual that spends a good amount of money for 300 pieces of history and then keeps them hidden and selfishly locked away in his/her home better have a real good excuse. I'm sorry but I just can't picture 300 artifacts in someone's safe deposit box somewhere near the Florida Everglades.

Sincerely,

Teri
 

Bill Willard

Member
Mar 24, 2001
272
1
148
Teri,

We theorizing here, so I'll try and answer.

If a private interest bought an artifact, it would be his to do with as that interest pleases. An artifacts that is sensitive to light, perhaps, could be taken and shown, and remain in a display on that interests' piano, or in a curio. It would be very difficult to mandate obligations in a private sale.

One would think that something of Titanic's magnitude (no pun intended) would merit meticulous protection and scrutiny, and in most cases artifacts would receive such. But there is always a chance money overrules good judgement. It has in the past in too many circumstances.

This cannot be an argument for contention at this point. Items for the Lusitania were brought up and dispersed throughout private collections. There are no 'traveling exhibits' and no 'museum collections' so those who died that day can only be remembered by books and photos. The Lusitania was a moment of history, too. That was the impetus that initiated our entry into WW1.

Don't think of private sales being 300 pieces. Those would be the museums. Think of one person buying one artifact. Then think of the impracticality of a one-man, one-artifact exhibit.

Bill
 

Teri Lynn Milch

Senior Member
Apr 7, 2001
1,053
2
0
Bill,

I do not want a repeat of what happened to the Lusitania. Let's hope a conglomerate of museums attempt a purchase. Then all that ends well will be well.

I understand how difficult it would be to mandate obligations to a private sale, however, I would beg of Geller, should any of his entity read this, that he attempt to do so.

Passionate Titanic Lover,

Teri
 
Feb 14, 2011
2,447
3
68
Each recovered Titanic artifacts had its own story, and to deprive future generations from viewing these tangible links with history would be a travesty.These artifacts must not be sold to private collectors. Suppose the artifacts were sold to collectors, and years down the road the collector dies-. Suppose they have no next of kin interested in Titanic. The provenance paperwork would likely be lost, and the Titanic artifact would find itself at a weekend flea market. My dream was that these peices could be kept permanantly in one colelction, and could be viewed by all for years to come. Problem being the current powers that be care little about history, but mainly about profit. But history will judge the greedy ones very harshly...

regards

Tarn Stephanos
 
D

Dave Shuttle

Guest
The Path and Care of Sold Artifacts

Tarn Stephanos is correct in his characterization that artifacts might be dispersed, then discounted as generations move on in time. A flea market might not be a far fetched concept. I wonder about my own little collection of Titanic books (about 100) and various paraphenalia. If I suddenly die, what fate would the collection meet? I have no children and my other family members do not sem to share my passion for this topic. Perhaps an estate auction to pay expenses will be their future unless I place specific instructions within my will.

Now let's consider the priceless gems that are recovered artifacts of a time gone by. Their value is currently immense and, in a perfect world, the passage of time should only increase that monetary value. But that value is certainly enhanced by inclusion in the total collection of Titanic's recovered artifacts as opposed to one artifact standing alone on its own merits. One artifact auction or one sale directly to a collector begins to dilute that value. A dispersal of artifacts to the four corners of the world and every street corner in between only minimalizes the value of the artifacts. More importantly, the possibility that the collection might someday be reunited evades calculation. This collection has always been meant to stay together, not only to satisfy history and future generations, but also as the natural order of things in determining the true value of the objects within.

A word about conservation. These recovered objects were initially given long and loving treatment in the lab at LP3 in Semur, France. Their condition of deterioration was stabilized, but there is no guarantee of permanent stabilization. Ask any conservator of antiquities and you will find constant attention is needed to assure longevity of quality. As one example, perhaps you all will remember the huge cross section of Titanic that was used at the Mersey hearings following the sinking. It was on this cross section that Harland and Wolff's Edward Wilding predicted the series of smaller gashes as opposed to the 300 foot gash theory. That cross section is now owned by friends of mine. It has received constant care, including bi-annual conservation treatments, ever since my friends acquired the piece. Without this loving care, the historical item would crumble like 90 year old paper, lost to the ravages of time. If the collection of Titanic's artifacts is lost to individual collectors, how many will maintain their artifacts by state of the art conservation methods? Or will many of the unreplaceable pieces of history dwindle away with the passage of time? If you really love Titanic, you see the choices and you must be sickened by the possibility that these objects could be lost forever.
 
T

Tracey McIntire

Guest
Hi Dave!

Well, if you are having trouble finding someone to take your collection I'd be happy to bear the burden when you're gone! :)

Seriously, I am thinking of the same thing--I have no children, I'm an only child, and no one else I know is interested in Titanic.

That is why I am still clinging to the hope that there will some day be a Titanic museum that would not only hold the artifacts that were salvaged from the wreck (in one complete collection) but also would be a place where people could will their collections. In addition, a research library could be included.

Anybody else share my dream?

Tracey M.
 

Teri Lynn Milch

Senior Member
Apr 7, 2001
1,053
2
0
Dave & Tracy,

I understand your dilemmas. This is what I came up with:

How's about I start my own society ~ ~ the society being only for preserving artifacts and memorabilia. I'd call it the Teri Milch Artifact Society! Doesn't that sound GREAT???? Oh God I love it! Say, how much money do I need? Any donors??

People who pass away and want to leave their Titanic artifacts and memorabilia in good and safe hands can give them to the Teri Milch Artifact Society. They will be safe, preserved, well kept and possibly put on display if requested.

Well let me know if I've gone off the deep end of Majestic or something!

Teri