By Robert Trigaux
Tampa's Odyssey Marine Exploration, the treasure-hunting business whose bottom line can resemble the shipwrecks it is so good at finding, hopes to salvage its own future in a company overhaul.
Odyssey unveiled a complex financial deal that gives up control of the company to a Mexican iron and coal company. It's a sign of how precarious Odyssey's financial predicament has become.
Case in point: Odyssey on Monday said it lost $5.2 million in the fourth quarter, $26.5 million for all of 2014.
Worse, the sea exploration company's publicly traded shares dropped well below $1 last year and lately have hovered near 60 cents. In a business that requires lots of capital — it's expensive to search for small things deep under the ocean — Odyssey's need for more investor money has proved a constant struggle.
Maureen Milford, The News Journal
Wilmington lawyer Bruce L. Silverstein will not be sanctioned for bad-faith litigation in the case of a phony sunken treasure in the Gulf of Mexico, a federal judge has ruled.
U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King of the Southern District of Florida denied a sanctions case against Silverstein brought by a Key West treasure salvage company, saying the company failed to establish by clear and convincing evidence that Silverstein knew of "corrupt criminal conspiracy."
Neither was it proven that Silverstein acted in bad faith in the case or was willfully blind to a fraud involving the fabricated discovery of thousands of emeralds on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico.
Yet, in what lawyers describe as highly unusual, King referred the matter to the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida "for such action as in his discretion he deems appropriate."
"I've not seen that done in a civil case in a long, long time, if I've seen it done," said Thomas Reed, a professor emeritus at Widener University School of Law.
More than two dozen archaeologists and anthropologists have written an open letter of protest against the “sensationalisation” of their fields, with one accusing National Geographic of reverting to “a colonialist discourse” in announcing researchers had found two city-like sites in the deep jungles of Honduras.
They also say National Geographic has ignored decades of research that suggests Honduras was home to a vibrant chain of kingless societies, which merged qualities of the Maya to the north with other people’s less stratified, more equal cultures.
The scholars criticize National Geographic and the media for what they describe as the aggrandizement of a single expedition at the expense of years of research by scientists and decades of support from indigenous people of the dense rainforests in Honduras’ Mosquitia region.
John Hoopes, a signatory and professor of anthropology at the University of Kansas, said that National Geographic had shown “a disrespect for indigenous knowledge”. The expedition was co-coordinated by two American film-makers, National Geographic and Honduras’ national institute of anthropology.