Ohio appellate court issued a ruling Feb. 3 stating that California
Gold Marketing Group still owns the rights to market any treasure
recovered from the sunken SS Central America.
America sank Sept. 12, 1857, during a hurricane, sending its
priceless gold and silver cargo to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
from the Ohio Court of Appeals, 10th Judicial District, leaves intact
a contract California Gold Marketing Group originally signed in 1998
and updated the following year with the treasure salvors to market and
sell any treasure from the shipwreck. The ruling reverses a Franklin
County Common Pleas Court decision in Columbus, Ohio, that authorized
a court-appointed receiver in May 2014 to nullify the contract with
California Gold Marketing Group for marketing additional salvaged treasure.
Exploration LLC in Tampa, Fla., salvaged additional treasure
from the wreck site off the South Carolina coast between April and
September in 2014, under a contract with the court-appointed receiver.
appellate court's opinion, written by Judge John A. Connor, concludes
that the receiver, attorney Ira O. Kane, did not correctly interpret
the terms of the 1999 revised contract with California Gold Marketing
Group and that the receiver maintains all rights to control the
disposition of any additional salvaged treasure.
late 1999 and early 2000, California Gold Marketing Group began
marketing the treasure recovered between 1986 and 1992 by treasure
salvors headed by Tommy Thompson, yielding
tens of millions of dollars. Thompson had established two companies to
manage the salvage operations — Columbus Exploration LLC and Recovery
operations were financed with more than $12 million combined received
from more than 160 investors, including the Dispatch Printing Co.,
which publishes the Columbus Dispatch newspaper in Ohio.
investors who brought suit maintain through litigation that none of
them were compensated from the millions of dollars in profits
generated by Thompson's sale of the treasure to California Gold
Marketing Group. The investors in 2005 were successful in having Kane
appointed as receiver to oversee the management decisions of
Thompson's two companies.
the ongoing litigation, Thompson failed to appear for a court
appearance in 2012 and became a fugitive along with his longtime
assistant, Alison Louise Antekeier. Thompson and his assistant were arrested
by U.S. marshals at a Florida hotel Jan. 27.
full 23-page appellate court opinion in the SS Central America
litigation can be accessed here.
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