At the same time, management tries to make deal with Westport for acquisition
A Tennessee businessman who owns a 50% stake in Christensen Shipyards has joined four other litigants against the embattled shipyard. Henry Luken last week filed a lawsuit against Christensen’s management, asking that a receiver be appointed, according to The Columbian. He said that the company is “currently insolvent”. It is the fifth lawsuit against the beleaguered yacht builder since December.
The March 9th lawsuit, filed by Luken and Christensen Financing LLC, said that a receiver should take over daily management of the company and be tasked with selling its assets. The lawsuit also stipulates that two partially finished yachts, owned by Luken and the principals behind Christensen Financing, should be completed.
In the answer to Luken’s complaint, according to the Columbian, Christensen President Joe Foggia said that Luken has “unclean hands” since he owns 50% of the company and owned or controlled Christensen Financing. Foggia said in court filings that Luken “used his control and influence” to arrange for the two 164ft yachts to be built at costs lower than those of the shipyard.
Joe Foggia, president of Christensen, also said in the court documents that he has been negotiating with Westport Yachts to become Christensen’s new owner. According to the paper, Westport would then complete the yachts and “rehire workers and responsibly continue operations.” Foggia said he believes that Luken wants to finish the two boats and then move Christensen’s operations to a facility in Tennessee.
Christensen issued a press release in December that it was currently working on a “multipart ownership restructure.” Several lawsuits were filed in December and January, including one by Stellar Industry Supply, arguing that Christensen has been mismanaged and that its leaders are “deadlocked” over how to manage its affairs, according to the paper. Stellar also asked for a receiver to be appointed.
Work was halted at the shipyard in January and then again in early February. An employee told the newspaper that its workforce had dropped from about 400 workers to about 100.
Stellar said in its lawsuit that appointing a receiver would benefit all parties with a financial interest in Christensen. Other lawsuits have been filed by Washington Manufacturing Services, Composites One and Ferguson Enterprises.