Broward News

Like Pulling a Yacht Through the Eye of a Needle

One can imagine how a financial crook can form a sentimental attachment to his most extravagant purchase: an item that managed to be both outrageously expensive and hopelessly impractical, which for those reasons became a metaphor for his self-destructive excess: the yacht.

Mark Pomerantz is the attorney who -- with the help of associate Roberto Finzi -- had the unenviable task of recovering the assets that formed the ill-gotten wealth of Marc Dreier, who kept an office in Boca Raton and an $18 million yacht in a Caribbean port.

That made the yacht, quite literally, a valuable offshore asset, and you can bet there was some behind-the-scenes lawyering that aimed to keep it that way. It was, Pomerantz and Finzi, told the New York Times, the single most difficult asset to wrest from Dreier's grasp. The endeavor was complicated by the fragile psyche of those who were the yacht's custodians:

The crew had not been paid in weeks, was confused and seemed almost mutinous, Mr. Finzi said. "What followed was a long series of negotiations, comfort calls, bickering, pressure -- you name it," he said.

After the jump, the tense standoff heads for a dramatic Fort Lauderdale conclusion.

The team retained an investigative firm, FTI Consulting, which had also helped to secure Mr. Dreier's cars. Allen Applbaum, one of its senior executives, said he dispatched two investigators to the yacht, which was moored at Port de Plaisance in Cole Bay, St. Maarten.

First, the crew was compensated. "There was no way they were leaving the dock without being paid something," said one investigator, Austin Tellam.

But there was a hitch, Mr. Finzi said: He had been told that Mr. Dreier's teenage son called the captain and forbade him to bring the yacht back to the United States. Eventually, the problem was solved when Mr. Dreier's lawyer had Mr. Dreier sign paperwork that released the boat to the receiver.

The yacht set off, arriving in Fort Lauderdale a few days later.
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Thomas Francis