(via Big Fur Hat @ IOTW) An interesting thing happened on the way to US Customs for the well-heeled former head of the website Techcrunch, one Mr. Michael Arrington, when he went to take delivery of his new Coastal Craft yacht from Canada. Turns out, US Customs (a subsidiary of the Der Fatherland Security) are sticklers for paperwork. Long story short, A bill of sale and some importation document had a discrepancy between whether the boat was valued in US dollars or Canadian dollars.
Rich people problems. Am I right?
The Department Of Homeland Security Stole My Boat Today
I live a fairly simple life and that didn’t change much after I sold TechCrunch in 2010. I didn’t buy a new house or even a new car. The one thing I did splurge on was a boat.
Nothing too fancy or large. I live near Seattle and there’s a big boating culture up here. I found a small company that builds boats specifically for this area called Coastal Craft. I ordered it in 2011 and planned on writing about the experience after it was delivered.
Today was the day that Buddy was going to be delivered. That didn’t happen, because the Department of Homeland Security seized the boat.
These things happen. It’s why they make more than one copy of a government form and an entire industry of attorneys and documentation services support our pampered top percenters who make the money to buy the things the rest of us can’t. Not that I begrudge anyone this. They know how to manage multi-million dollar corporations and don’t necessarily know the intricacies of Customs law. It’s not a contest.
Regardless, what happened next becomes the issue rather than seizing of Mr. Arrington’s new toy. After subjectively complaining on his personal website about the allegedly giddy behavior of one of the DHS agents who literally took his keys from him at the port, someone claiming to be from DHS with intimate knowledge of his situation responded in his comment thread with the level arrogance many have grown accustomed to since this abortion of an agency’s inception:
The Department Of Homeland Security Is Now Bitching At Me On My Blog
Update to yesterday’s post. A day after Buddy was seized by DHS I now have my boat in my possession and at my slip.
This all happened while I was still trying to sort out a lawyer and had nothing to do with anything I did. Coastal Craft, the builder, took extraordinary steps (and expense) to get possession of Buddy from DHS.
I sat down to write this quick update just to let everyone know that things worked out.
But when I logged in to WordPress I saw a really curious comment from someone claiming to work for DHS in the same office that I dealt with. And the comment includes enough specific information that I’m inclined to believe him.
DHS’s level of customer service is outstanding. Monitoring people’s personal websites to ensure that their good names are not being sullied and offering all kind of helpful advice on how you should understand your place in the hierarchy of our once democratic society. The comment in question:
Okay all, the rest of the story(I was there). 1. The amount on both invoice and CBP form were in U.S dollars correctly completed on the form. 2. Just because someone has $$$ and posts something first on the web, doesn’t make them true. 3. The officer in question did not act gleefully, in fact SHE called back to the office and vessel manufacturer several times to verify the stated value. 4. The officer in question vilified by this rich individual now has to endure all the grief posted here and elsewhere by Mr rich guy and explain why she followed the LEGAL document value and wouldn’t cow to his brow beating. 5. Coastal Craft ended up paying for a broker to perform what should have been a personal importation and guess what The value on that entry was EXACTLY the same as on the CBP presented form. 6. Mr. Rich guy will probably post everywhere now that HE was right due to the fact that he has his boat and did not sign anything, but the fact is that the company took the high moral ground and due to ALL the false posting by Arrington, they paid for the paperwork to be processed. 7. We are all at the mercy of individuals who feel (right or wrong) that they can put out whatever they feel and get hundreds of all of you all worked up about the big bad government, fact is the is/was correct and all of us had to jump thru hoops due to arrington’s posts and written falsehoods. 8. I am proud to work with this office/officer and all of you should be ashamed for vilifying her/DHS without knowing the facts. 9. Most working folds have bosses and we are no exception sadly we had to answer many questions for correctly performing our sworn duties due to all the bad press put out by someone who feels entitled or above the public servant. Shame on you.
There is so much wrong with that statement that it is difficult to know where to start. Let’s begin:
1) Deciding to duke out the facts of Mr. Arrington’s situtation in a public setting instead of handling this like a professional behind the scenes. Defending the dignity of a governmental agency that grabs people’s crotches all day are we?
2) The alleged “public servant” referring to his customer as “Mr. Rich Guy”. That would tend to support Arrington’s theory about the attitude of the agent initially seizing his vessel. If only to inconvenience you Mr. Rich Guy. We’ll file this one under Unclear On The Concept of Public Service.
3) The alleged “public servant” complaining that they are all at the “mercy of individuals who feel that they can put out whatever they feel and get hundreds of all of you all worked up about the big bad government”. Your plans are ruined, they have your boat but DHS is at your mercy. Huh? What country are we in again? Bitching about the government and their agents is what we have done since the history of forever.
The idea that this “servant” feels that you should not have a right to state your version of events is a sad sign of our times under the current regime. Like the gun confisaction debate, you are allowed to exercise the First Amendment the way the Founding Fathers intended – on top of a soap box in a Free Speech Zone. They never intended for people to have assault Internets and High Capacity blog postings.
4) Wishing “Shame” on someone for impugning the integrity of the motives of an agency that is utterly shameless. After all, these are the people who tell you that your border is more secure now than ever, naked airport scanners and are setting up vans to look through your vehicle while you are traveling on the interstate with absolutely no regard to the 4th Amendment.
The only potentially redeeming thing about that comment is that it sounds like a male counterpart or supervisor was trying to defend a female colleague. You know, when sexism is acceptable.
At the end of the day, Mr. Arrington has his boat. The only issue remaining is whether he has learned his lesson about publicly filing his report about being mugged by reality within eyeview of the Department of Sees All, Respects None.
Now get out there and flag that boat in the Cayman Islands so you can avoid paying our many patriotic taxes. And for DHS, wonder no more about the villification of the boat owners and all of the people US yacht manufacturers used to employ who have been negatively impacted by the language of this failed President who demonizes all of the Arringtons in this country for trying to live the lifestyle of an Obama adminstration cabinet official.