America’s Cup: Lawyers, Guns, and Money

Published on February 22nd, 2015

by Dana Johannsen, New Zealand Herald
Auckland, NZL (February 22, 2015) – A furious Dean Barker has called in the lawyers as the bitter battle over his future with Team New Zealand intensifies.

Barker was left shell-shocked at leaks to media this week that he was to be axed as skipper of the America’s Cup syndicate. His lawyers have written to the syndicate’s board seeking a “please explain” over his treatment.

The campaign for the 2017 regatta in Bermuda was already mired in controversy over taxpayer funding, and now the Herald on Sunday has learned the relationship between Barker and syndicate boss Grant Dalton has been toxic for some time, and that they rarely speak. It emerged this week that Barker only learned he was to be replaced at the helm of Team New Zealand by young sailing star Peter Burling after reading it on Facebook.

The leak occurred while Barker was in negotiations with Team New Zealand top brass. It is understood one of the options being discussed was for Barker to be replaced as skipper, but to retain a leading role within the team.

That now appears unlikely, with the Herald on Sunday learning last night that Barker – left in tears after Team NZ’s heartbreaking loss to Oracle in the 2013 America’s Cup – is set to walk away from the crew if Dalton remains in charge of the syndicate.

A source close to the team said if Barker moves on he will reject any imposition of a gagging order and is preparing to reveal all.

“He wants his chance to share his side of the story and New Zealand deserves to hear it,” the source said.

The explosive legal move comes as a source close to Barker told the Herald on Sunday the yachtsman was struggling to come to terms with how his likely axing was made public.

“Dean is having a hard time. It’s not easy for him at the moment, we’re talking about 20 years of service,” the source said. “It’s all a shock that this has come out in the media, that he has not been told, but it has been leaked – and Dean has a good understanding of who this has come from.

“I do not know why he [the leaker] would want to do this, or what good this actually is doing for Team NZ. It’s a total mess. The history and brand of Team NZ is being destroyed.” – Full story

Editor’s note: As Warren Zevon sang, “I’m a desperate man, send lawyers, guns and money, the shit has hit the fan.”

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