- Associated Press - Monday, November 23, 2015

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut judge has ended state receivership over the Amistad schooner - a replica of a ship that was taken over by African captives being brought to Cuba in 1839 - and dissolved the embattled organization that had operated the vessel.

Judge Antonio Robaina in Hartford ended the receivership last week, dissolved Amistad America Inc. and resolved its debts. Attorney General George Jepsen had criticized the organization for losing its tax-exempt status and racking up $2 million in debt amid poor management and bad record keeping.

The state had invested more than $9 million in the organization and schooner, including $2.5 million for construction in 1999 and 2000 and about $400,000 a year for operating costs.

The 129-foot Baltimore clipper, which is now in Mystic Seaport for maintenance and repairs, is a symbol of America’s early anti-slavery movement.

The Africans that took over the real Amistad landed on Long Island but were captured and jailed in New Haven. With help from abolitionists, they won their freedom in a landmark legal case that started in Connecticut and ended in the U.S. Supreme Court.

The ship has sailed around the world teaching people the story.

“The Amistad is worth saving,” Jepsen said in a statement Monday announcing that the receivership had ended. “The ship is a vital historical and cultural asset, with a powerful, moving and relevant story to tell. To that end, the receivership process has largely been a success.”

A new group, Discovering Amistad Inc., took ownership of the Amistad earlier this month after buying it for $315,000, with the help of $620,000 in borrowing approved by the State Bond Commission in September for the sale and repairs.

In August of last year, Robaina approved Jepsen’s request to appoint New Haven lawyer Katharine Sacks as the receiver to take control of Hamden-based Amistad America Inc. At the time, Jepsen said the group’s conduct had been “destructive” and poor management led to defaulted loans and liens on the schooner.

Amistad America officials said the organization fell on hard financial times after several years of success as funding sources dried up, but they managed to bring it back from the brink of financial ruin.

____

This story has been changed to show the judge’s last name is Robaina, not Rabaina.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide