A presidential yacht fight is underway after the owners of Sequoia, the longest-serving presidential yacht in American history, filed a lawsuit in Delaware to prevent a lender from seizing the vessel.
In a Chancery Court lawsuit filed late last week, Sequoia Presidential Yacht Group accuses FE Partners of reneging on a $5 million loan agreement. Sequoia’s owners accuse FE Partners of concocting a “dastardly” plan to assume control of the yacht.
Sequoia’s owners say FE Partners deliberately loaned only half the $5 million that was promised. The plaintiffs argue the reduced loan would stretch their finances, exposing them to “trumped up” default claims that would in turn allow FE Partners to purchase the yacht at a fire-sale price of $7.8 million.
The Delaware lawsuit was launched after a New York judge threw out a similar complaint in January on jurisdictional grounds. FE Partners argues the lawsuit is “grossly inaccurate”.
The 104-foot Sequoia, built in 1925 at a cost of $200,000, was the official yacht for presidents from Herbert Hoover through Jimmy Carter.
Notable events that took place aboard Sequoia include John F. Kennedy holding strategy meetings during the Cuban Missile Crisis (and also celebrating his last birthday party on the vessel), Richard M. Nixon negotiating the SALT I arms treaty with Leonid Brezhnev and Anatoly Dobrynin, and a series of Gerald Ford Cabinet meetings. Ronald Reagan also met all 50 state governors at the gangplank, while George H. W. Bush met Chinese premier Li Peng on the yacht.
In 1987, Sequoia was designated a National Historic Landmark. She is currently docked at Gangplank Marina in southwest Washington, D.C. and can be rented for roughly $10,000 per charter.
More news on the presidential yacht fight as we get it.