World`s Weirdest Racial Shakedown Suit—Maritime Edition
A mysterious (i.e., they don`t seem to have a website) group out of North Carolina calling itself the “African Maritime Diaspora Corporation” has filed a lawsuit against the Golden Gate Yacht Club, home of Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison`s America Cup-defending team. [PDF]
The complaint: you Thurston Howell-type white men wouldn`t let us sail against you because we`re black.
Demand: Put us in your competition. Let us set the date of the race. Give us $1,000,000. And two “AC 45″ yachts. Then smack the white team with time or point penalties during the race.
Allow us to use America`s Cup publicity to trumpet our own cause (which, according to interviews with the leader, include educating us all about the “rich maritime history” of black people). Oh, yes, and pay for our website (I guess that explains the lack of one—they`re suing to get it).
I kid you not—read the final paragraphs of the complaint.
The only thing they left out was a demand that the white team`s sails be punched with “fairness” holes, Harrison Bergeron-style.
If the lawsuit is a joke, the MSM seems to be falling for it:Raleigh group`s lawsuit aimed at America`s Cup bid, By Jay Price, Raleigh News Observer, Jan 31, 2012
(Gotta love the phrasing—the “notoriously white” sport of sailing… imagine a reporter describing the “notoriously black” NBA.)
The bizarre complaint is signed by one Banks Brown (not a made-up name), a white partner at the New York firm of McDermott, Will & Emery.
And, if the media has it right, it`s not a pro bono case.
Meaning the “African Maritime Diaspora Corporation” doesn`t have the cash to field a proper sailing team, but they can hire some of the world`s most expensive lawyers. Contingency case?
Granted, Larry Ellison sounds like a deep pocket. And throw “racism” into any complaint, and you`ll get far.
But I suspect New York courts aren`t going to let that happen here. A burning desire to join a private race falls short of a binding contract, and the “reliance” exception isn`t favored. Even if a court found some kind of promise breach, it would be loathe to order specifics like time and point penalties for teams competing against the African Diaspora Maritime Corporation.
The only named individual on the plaintiff side, one Charles Kithcart, promises that really, he`s only here to help. As described by the Raleigh News & Observer, he`s going to bring to sailing
“the sort of wattage that Tiger Woods brought to golf and Serena and Venus Williams brought to tennis…`We could give people those goose bump moments,’ he said. “