Emirates Team New Zealand have been served with legal letters directed at Grant Dalton in what is described by Team New Zealand as an attempted act of intimidation.
Mark Dunphy, the businessman behind the Kiwi Home Defence project, had the papers served on Team New Zealand and Grant Dalton, claiming defamation and requesting an apology.
This latest twist in the 27th America’s Cup defence saga follows reports of a possible new venue bid by the City of Cork, and a call for a ‘Reality Check’ on an overseas defence by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.
The RNZYS has been forced by members to hold a special general meeting (SGM) to discuss a motion ‘that the America’s Cup be defended in the waters adjacent to the City of Auckland’ . . . this is set for 9 December 2021.
The SGM is specifically to discuss and debate Team New Zealand’s plans to host the next Defence of the America’s Cup in a foreign City – narrowed down to Cork in Ireland, an unspecified Spanish City and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.
An earlier statement issued by RNZYS Commodore Aaron Young stated that . . . ‘Currently, we do not have a viable New Zealand venue proposition, and as a result ETNZ are in discussions with other potential locations.’ and that no cup defence at all would mean giving the America’s Cup back.
Mark Dunphy is offering NZL$40m of his own money, but that involvement would still require Grant Dalton and Team New Zealand to raise in excess of NZL$80m.
And possibly involving the New Zealand Government, whose original offer was rejected by Dalton, having to up its offer to clinch the AC37 defence for Auckland.
A statement issued by ETNZ on 22 September concluded with . . . ‘Emirates Team New Zealand and RNZYS have decided to cease all correspondence and any dealings with Mr Dunphy based on clear evidence of his and his associate Dr. Hamish Ross’s conflicted actions that they have refused to come clean on.’