Original tooling for the 30-, 32-, 36- and 42-foot Spectre catamarans designed by Jay Pilini and owned by Gary Smith of Tucson, Ariz., were repossessed yesterday from Arrow Powerboats in Fort Pierce, Fla., under Florida judgment in favor of Smith. Arrow Powerboats is owned by Tony Frisina, who also owns Frisini Powerboats.
At issue were unpaid equipment lease fees of approximately $38,000 for Arrow’s usage of the molds to produce the catamarans. According to attorney Michael Allweiss, who is representing Arrow Powerboats and its owner, the defendant refused to pay the lease fees when he was told by the owner of the molds that he did not, as he was previously led to believe, have the rights to use the Spectre name. A judgment in Arizona awarded more than $80,000 and the replevin—a legal term that essentially translates to repossession of property—of the leased tooling to the plaintiff.
Allweiss challenged the judgment on several counts, most notably the dollar amount, and it was set aside pending further review. According to Smith and his Florida-based attorney Sean Moore, that judgment will be reinstated this Friday with slight modifications, essentially a lower dollar amount owed for lease and attorney fees.
While the Arizona judgment was under review and after several reported arrangements had been made to return the molds, Smith also filed a complaint in Florida court and was granted an order of replevin in mid-February based on the defendant’s failure to make lease payments and show cause on why possession shouldn’t be turned over. Yesterday’s collection of the original Spectre molds was executed under the Florida judgment and supervised by the local sheriff’s department.
Still at issue is the remaining catamaran tooling at the Fort Pierce facility. The plaintiff alleges that the tooling was created from the original Spectre molds, which falls into the “altered equipment” category and, as such, belongs to the plaintiff. According to the defendant, none of the original Spectre tooling was used to create the Frisini catamaran tooling. The defendant holds that the new molds were created in house with consulting advice from catamaran designer Doug Wright.
In a telephone interview this morning, Wright, however, said he provided no design services to Arrow.
“They wanted me to work for them as consultant and put me on retainer, but that never happened,” he said. “I did go down and ride in one of their boats, a 32-foot catamaran, with Chris Dilling but that was as far as it went. I never provided any drawings and no money changed hands. If I gave them any advice, it was whatever I said after that boat ride. But that is as far as it went.
“I only spoke to Tony (Frisina) on the phone one time,” he continued. “They wanted to do a 36-foot cat. He asked me about what it would cost to design it, and said he would wire me a $10,000 deposit. He even asked for my bank numbers. But I never heard from him again.”
The defendant maintains that the remaining catamaran tooling in the plant is original and not derived from other existing tooling.
“The plaintiff perpetrated a fraud on the Arizona court and we managed to reverse that,” said Allweiss. “They are trying to do the same in the Florida court and we will stop them there as well. We will fight their deliberate efforts to destroy Arrow’s business in a court of law, not on the Internet and through fraud as they are attempting to do. In the meantime, Arrow will continue to build boats and service their customers, as they have endeavored to do. It is a shame that bad people continue to stain the industry. But good always prevails, and it will in this case as well.”
The plaintiff claims that the catamaran tooling still at the plant is in fact his property.
“We certainly did not get all of what believe Gary’s company is entitled to and we will be making additional efforts to obtain those additional items,” said Moore, who was on hand yesterday as the molds were removed.
While Moore said there is no timeline on any proceedings regarding the remaining tooling in question, he indicated that they took precise measurements and documented, via video and photos, the additional equipment.
Smith, who was boarding a plane back to Arizona this afternoon, said he is pleased to have this part of the litigation behind him and have at least the four original molds in his possession.
“At the present time I don’t have another user for the molds, but I have some leads and am looking forward to someone investing in and reviving the Spectre brand,” Smith said. “If anyone is interested in buying a complete, established boat business, all of the property and rights to the company are available.”