• Unrest @ McConaghy

    The boat builder behind some of the Sydney to Hobart's most memorable finishes has been rocked by accusations of sabotaged relationships and shoddy craftsmanship in a director feud that spilled into the Federal Court.

    Acrimonious infighting erupted at McConaghy Boats - whose website describes it as the iconic race's "most successful builder" behind yachts such as Wild Oats XI, Alfa Romeo and Loki - after it was sold to a Cayman Islands-based company, MC˛.

    Emails revealed in court proceedings that have since been dismissed by consent show the one of the directors of MC˛, Graham Porter, describing another, Jonathan Morris, as a "poison ... that must be removed".

    Mr Morris originally ran McConaghy with co-owner Mark Evans before it was bought by MC˛ in an investment deal with foreign company Tiger Yacht Management, chaired by Mr Porter, in 2014.

    In July 2017 Mr Morris sued his former business partner; the newly formed MC˛ subsidiary McConaghy Australia; as well as MC˛ and Tiger, claiming the directors had sought to exclude him and calling, among other things, for MC˛ to be wound up because of irresolvable internal disputes.



    He claimed he was owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid wages, that he had been locked out of McConaghy's email systems, and that he had been removed as a director of all of MC˛'s subsidiaries without his consent.

    In their defences MC˛ and McConaghy Australia denied Mr Morris was ever an employee and payments of agreed amounts were made to Mr Morris as a director.

    MC˛ claimed that to the extent Mr Morris had been excluded from its management, it had been brought on by Mr Morris announcing that he was beginning a role with Grand Banks Yachts, a client of MC˛'s subsidiaries, and had failed in his duties as a director of MC˛.

    On July 31 this year Justice Nye Perram made orders by consent dismissing the proceedings, with no orders regarding legal costs.

    Mr Morris's solicitor, Drew James, declined to comment to the Herald, other than to say all proceedings between the parties had been resolved, with the terms remaining confidential.

    Mr Evans' lawyer declined to comment, while a representative from Landers and Rogers, representing McConaghy Australia and MC˛, said the law firm was unable to contact its clients, who were overseas.

    The lawsuit closely followed a scathing resignation letter from another director, Richard Hudson, who accused the MC˛ board as presiding over a group of companies that destroyed its share value and had a declining reputation in the market.

    "You have all contributed to this mess," Mr Hudson wrote in a June 2017 letter.

    Details of the emails and other correspondence between directors was relied on in an affidavit setting out the history of the dispute.

    In December 2016 Mr Morris emailed the other directors, complaining of quality issues, including cracks on the decking of one yacht.

    Mr Evans replied denying the claims before excluding Mr Morris and Mr Hudson in an email to the rest of the directors in which he promoted the quality of the vessels.

    In an email to Mr Evans, Mr Porter said it was apparent Mr Morris was trying to divide the board and "sabotage relationships". He said Mr Morris was "putting 10x [sic] more energy into writing aggressive emails vs actually trying to make a better company."

    "The reality is Jono (Mr Morris) is a huge distraction and poison the [sic] that must be removed," Mr Porter wrote on December 15, 2016.

    Earlier that year he had emailed Mr Evans and another man, saying "thank God" they had limited Mr Morris's interaction with clients, "and to think we let him be in charge of marketing."

    "I avoided sending the F*** [sic] off and die email in response to his attacks. Or the one to ask if he got hit a lot as a kid," he wrote.

    https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/...01-p52wls.html
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