The Real Nordhavn
A History of Broken Nordhavn Promises
Last year, PassageMaker wrote an article about a vessel that Robert Conconi purchased and named the Aurora. While reading the piece, Mr. Conconi was not only surprised that the article was published, but given the poor experience he had with the company that built the vessel – Pacific Asian Enterprises (PAE) – Mr. Conconi was even more surprised that the publication chose to interview PAE and not him. In spite of this, the article in PassageMaker reminded Mr. Conconi of all the hurt and anger he endured in the 4 years that he owned the boat.
Mr. Conconi no longer owns the Aurora, however, he did spend 3 years repairing, at great expense, the majority of all the problems that existed when she arrived at his home. Mr. Conconi’s only motivation and dispute with PAE was over the yacht’s state upon arrival and PAE’s failure to uphold the company’s obligation to complete her construction as contracted.
Throughout the trial between PAE and the Conconi’s, PAE’s leadership team consistently launched false attacks against the Conconi family and incorrectly suggested the issues that were being disputed in the case were insignificant and undeserving of closer examination. Furthermore, in an effort to deflect the findings of the case away from PAE’s failures surrounding the Aurora, PAE chose to insert incorrect information into the case and worked to demonize the Conconi family. Ultimately, the disappointing verdict in the case was a result of preplanned, personal attacks on the Conconi’s. Putting aside the results of the case, many people are left confused by PAE’s actions, particularly with respect to PAE’s decision to chose to not complete the Aurora as they were contractually obligated to do.
Mr. Conconi is a proud man. Since the article that was written in PassageMaker did not provide Mr. Conconi with the opportunity to express his opinion or experience, below you will find a small sample of the reports and photos outlining the poor condition that the Aurora arrived in upon delivery to the Conconi’s. Many additional documents are available in official court records, however, the reports and inspections listed below highlight the inadequate finish and state of completion of the vessel.
Mr. Conconi has enjoyed many of the vessels he has bought from Nordhavn – in fact, he has purchased 4 of them in the past. However, when he advanced sufficient funds to complete the manufacturer of his latest vessel with Nordhavn – the Aurora – and the vessel was not completed or finished, NordhavnFacts found it necessary to highlight this situation.
Mr. Conconi placed his trust in PAE (otherwise he would not have provided PAE with $16,000,000). However, PAE refused to complete the Aurora, leaving Mr. Conconi with major expenses as well as a partially completed boat and much that had to be redesigned and removed (without PAE’s help or contribution).
Mr. Conconi has been pleased with his other Nordhavn vessels that he has purchased – but not the process of purchasing his latest Nordhavn through PAE, as the company did not complete the Vessel as promised. The truth, in Mr. Conconi’s situation, was deflected at every situation by PAE and the company did not contribute or compensate for the work Mr. Conconi had to perform on his vessel. NordhavnFacts is simply demonstrating and warning consumers of what could happen if a purchaser prepays significantly more than the cost to complete their vessel.
There are always two sides in a story. Like anyone else, Mr. Conconi would like his side of the story to be heard and help prevent other customers from having similar experiences. It is up to you, the reader, to form your own opinion.
The following are several documents outlining the results from inspections and surveys from third-parties:
Steve D’Antonio of Steve D’Antonio Marine Consulting Inc, served as PAE’s own expert with respect to surveying boats. D’Antonio inspected the Aurora and its systems and components between December 15-19, 2013.D’Antonio’s inspection report found 179 deficiencies with PAE’s work on the Aurora, including critical safety items that could result in the risk of explosion, electrocution, fire, injury, or loss of life.
Christian and Company Marine Surveyors inspected the P.A.E. Nordhavn 120 Aurora vessel on September 27-29, 2015 and February 4-6, 2016. The inspections concluded that the vessel did not meet industry standards with respect to quality, design, construction, completion, or commissioning. PAE failed to meet the standard of care expected for a vessel of this type.
Offshore Interiors Inc inspected the Aurora vessel on April 7 and April 16, 2014. According to their inspection, at first glance, the look of the interior woodwork and finish on board the Aurora is of “very good quality.” However, upon closer inspection, there were many serious issues that give the vessel the feel of a boat that is old and tired. According to the inspectors, the damage from poorly planned hardware and the lack of critical hardware altogether (especially for a seagoing vessel) indicated a rush or casual approach to the task with regards to the building the boat by P.A.E.
Tri Shore Yacht Services inspected and provided a summary of deficiencies found on the motor vessel Aurora. The report highlights items deemed unacceptable for standards common to fully functioning, new delivery of a vessel from the factory.
Barr-Leonard Company found the furnace that was installed on the Aurora to be non-operable due to PAE’s work. Half of the installation had to be removed and the remainder of the furnace had to be re-plumbed and fixed with replacement components.
The two $8,000 dishwashers were damaged during installation beyond repair. Since PAE refused to repair/replace these dishwashers, the appliances had to be replaced at the owner’s expense.
To avoid any dispute over debt and mutual obligations at the time of delivery, the Conconi’s incorporated several clauses in the purchase agreement that entitled them to insist that all systems were demonstrated as operating to their reasonable satisfaction prior to when the final $1.8 million of the purchase price became payable. No systems were demonstrated, and several systems were not even installed.
The number of mistakes and shoddy workmanship are evidenced by the following select photos:
Upon closer inspection, there are many serious issues that give it (the Aurora) the feel of a boat that is old and tired.
These images show cracks and open spaces in the crown molding, as well as fingerprints underneath the woods, finish. The wood splits within the same piece of wood caused by “drying or internal stress issues.” Furthermore, there is discolored cloudiness on the wood, which was reported to be “prevalent throughout the vessel…..consistent with a vessel that is already ten + years old.
Many other defects and sloppy workmanship were discovered throughout – including a mark-out for a pipe which while marked for the cut, was never actually cut out to accommodate the pipe. (Exhibit 291)
Mr. Conconi has enjoyed many of the vessels he has bought from Nordhavn – in fact, he has purchased 4 of them in the past. However, when Mr. Conconi advanced sufficient funds to complete the manufacture of his latest vessel with Nordhavn – the Aurora – and the vessel was not completed or finished, Nordhavn Facts found it necessary to highlight this situation. Mr. Conconi placed his trust in PAE (otherwise he would not have provided PAE with $16,000,000). However, PAE refused to complete the Aurora, leaving Mr. Conconi with major expenses as well as a partially completed boat and much that had to be redesigned and removed (without PAE’s help or contribution).
Mr. Conconi has enjoyed the other Nordhavn vessels that he has purchased – but not the process of purchasing his latest Nordhavn through PAE, as the company did not complete the vessel as promised. The truth, in Mr. Conconi’s situation, was deflected at every turn by PAE. The company did not contribute or compensate for the work Mr. Conconi had to perform on his vessel. Nordhavn Facts is simply demonstrating and warning consumers of what could happen if a purchaser prepays significantly more than the cost to complete their vessel.
Furthermore, what is even more troubling, is that PAE had a documented history of begging Mr. Conconi for additional money whenever PAE was unable to meet its financial obligations. For example, on March 27, 2013, PAE’s project manager, Trever Smith, wrote to Mr. Conconi on PAE’s behalf, explaining that “in order to have the N120 virtually turnkey as it leaves the yard we need to ask for some assistance.” Mr. Smith went on to explain that PAE immediately needed another $322,000.00, but that this was “finally the last time” PAE would “bug” Conconi with its “cash flow woes.” [Exhibit 436]
A few short months later, PAE’s President, Dan Streech, followed up on June 21, 2013, with another request for additional money, this time asking Mr. Conconi for a $4 million loan to get Aurora “over the finish line…completed, released from the factory and delivered to Vancouver,” stating “you have been a perfect gentleman, partner and participant in the building of the boat and have done your part and much more…especially in that you have advanced early payments to PAE when we needed them. We are very very appreciative of all that you have done.” [Exhibit 267]
But, of course, fast-forwarding to when Mr. Conconi started to insist that PAE honor its obligations to him, Dan Streech’s praise for Mr. Conconi as the “perfect gentlemen” and “partner” suddenly changed, going so far as to refer to Mr. Conconi, the man who saved PAE from financial ruin, as, among other names, a “crazy guy” that is “irrational” (deposition Transcript of Daniel Streech September 21, 2015, )
In fact, you’ll hear Mr. Streech has a history of bad-mouthing most anyone who disagrees with him about Aurora’s condition. For example, Kelly Christian, an expert witness who actually inspected Aurora – was described by Streech as “Creepy.” (Deposition Transcript of Expert Witness Daniel Streech March 25, 2016)
And Brian Bergmark, an expert witness who testified about PAE’s financial and accounting issues, was referred to by Streech as “an idiot” who Streech wouldn’t hire to “balance [his] checkbook.” (Deposition Transcript of Expert Witness Daniel Streech March 25, 2016)
Mr. Conconi also learned that he and his wife were not the first to enter into a contract with PAE for the N-120 – that another couple were the first – and that Streech described this couple as “high maintenance . . . which was bound to erode the already too low margin” when explaining their defunct deal to the Conconis. [Exhibit 235]
Dan Streech, Trevor Smith and Jim Leishman also testified that Mike Tellaria – a PAE employee who was aboard Aurora for the trip from Hong Kong to Vancouver – demonstrated the vessel’s systems to Mr. Conconi during that trip in compliance with PAE’s “demonstration of the systems” obligation under the Agreement.
However, when Mr. Tellaria was deposited under oath, he testified as follows:
Q Did you demonstrate any of the N120 systems to Mr. Conconi?
Q Do you know if anyone else was demonstrating systems to Mr. Conconi during the voyage?
Q Did you see anybody do any demonstration whatsoever of any system of the N120 during the voyage?
In the end, PAE failed to get every dollar it asked for. In fact, during the trial, PAE had to lower its claim because it admittedly miscalculated its final invoice by over $40,000, which was later reduced by another $100,000 by the court of appeals. Also, PAE claimed at the trial, through Dan Streech, that despite agreeing to deliver Aurora fully fueled, he simply “forgot” to fuel the vessel. Ultimately, PAE lost the appeal, and the judgment was reduced by over $100,000.
In addition, Mr. Conconi was promised that a team of PAE employees would be waiting at the dock to complete Aurora and permit Mr. Conconi to accept delivery. In reality, the entire delivery team left Aurora for the airport on arrival, and another team never came.
The morning of arrival, Aurora developed a serious leak that involved a defective system eroding through the vessel’s sea chests. With the assistance of tape and pumps, the Aurora was sailed to Seattle to make emergency repairs. During this time, PAE promised to finish Aurora to its completed state. However, 4 months later, after Mr. Conconi insisted on her return from the Seattle docks, no remaining work had been performed and the Aurora was still in the same condition she was in when taken for emergency repairs.
Dan Streech inspected Aurora on her departure from Delta Marine in Seattle for the first time, four months after Aurora arrived in Canada. It appeared that PAE simply planned a DUMP & RUN, falsely insisting Mr. Conconi had accepted delivery of Aurora and any defects were limited to the manufacturer’s individual warranties.
All inspections were performed in the year that followed delivery and illustrated the same inspected condition as at purported delivery. The reality and performance speaks for itself. Mr. Conconi finished the Aurora without any assistance from PAE.
PAE would like to focus on debt collection and avoid any conversation as to whether they completed the Aurora. Mr. Conconi has no difficulty honoring and paying debts. Instead, this situation is entirely over whether the vessel was completed in accordance with the contract.
PAE went so far as to state Aurora was perfect and all of Mr. Conconi’s claims and inspections were fake. In reality, this case was not about a debt owed to PAE. Instead, it was about whether PAE finished and completed the Aurora in accordance with the Purchase Agreement.
Nordhavn Facts has concluded the Aurora was in an incomplete state and was simply abandoned in Vancouver. The fact is, PAE did not investigate further into the situation regarding the Aurora and failed to complete their obligations because they lacked the financial ability to complete the work. Furthermore, various pieces of documentation, such as third-party inspections by Steve D’Antonio and Barr Leonard, illustrate what was incomplete and later done by the purchaser after the vessel was abandoned.
The contract was specific and clear. The remaining 1.8 million was not owed by Mr. Conconi until all systems were demonstrated to a reasonable satisfaction level. As highlighted on the Nordhavn Facts website, various elements of the boat, such as the broken woodwork, for example, were never even attempted to be repaired by PAE.
Many mistruths were stated by PAE, such as the company denying the expert reports and photos. At the end of the day, no decision was made regarding the incomplete status of Aurora. The fact remains – PAE abandoned the vessel and refused to complete her construction.
There are always two sides in a story. Like anyone else, Mr. Conconi would like his side of the story to be heard and help prevent other customers from having similar experiences.