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Legal Tab Sinking Fight over Historic Presidential Yacht

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USA Today; July 15, 2013

WILMINGTON, Del. -- A legal battle – involving charges of lies, "devious" plots by "foreigners" and extortion – over ownership of a famous luxury yacht that played host to history and a dozen U.S. presidents is steaming toward a close in Delaware Chancery Court.

A number of documents in the court case involving the 104-foot USS Sequoia are under seal, enhancing a sense of intrigue over the vessel the Washington Post described as "the ultimate Washington-insider tourist attraction, the power bauble of baubles in a town built on access to power."

Delaware politicians treasure the Sequoia's allure, too. On Thursday, state Treasurer Chip Flowers is scheduled to hold a $300-a-head fundraiser on that ship in Washington, D.C., which according to court papers, rents from $10,000 to $12,000 for a four-hour tour.

Dover lobbyist Bobby Byrd, Wilmington, Del., developer Rob Buccini and former DuPont general counsel Stacey Mobley are among the hosts.

"The boat is a true piece of American history," Flowers said.

The Sequoia was conceived by famed boat designer John Trumpy, built in 1925 and first used by President Herbert Hoover. It was then available to and periodically used by a string of presidents.

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