On Friday, May 24th, United District Court Judge Patricia Seitz, who is presiding over the pollution case pending against Princess Cruises, ordered all members of the Carnival Corporation & plc Executive Committee of the Board of Directors to appear at a hearing scheduled for June 3, 2019 at the federal courthouse in Miami.
The hearing will involve the Court’s consideration of a proposed joint resolution of the pending motion to revoke Carnival’s probation. The U.S. government filed the motion after the Court Appointed Monitor (CAM) prepared reports indicating that certain Carnival related cruise lines have continued to engage in illegal discharges from Carnival-owned cruise ships in violation of pollution laws and the terms and conditions of probation.
The parties have apparently reached a proposed “comprehensive resolution” of the issues related to the U.S. government’s motion to revoke Carnival’s probation. The parties will be seeking the Court’s approval of the proffered resolution proposal at the upcoming hearing.
At the hearing on June 3rd, Judge Seitz will review the proposed agreement (which has not been filed in the public record and the details of which are not currently known to the public) and will confer with the Court Appointed Monitor (CAM), the Third Party Auditor (TPA), and the Office of Probation about the proposed resolution. The Court also ruled that:
“all members of the Carnival Corporation & plc Executive Committee of the Board of Directors shall appear in person at the June 3, 2019 hearing to discuss the proposed joint resolution of the specifications in the Superseding Petition. This includes Mickey (sic) Arison, Arnold Donald, and Stuart Subotnick.”
Micky Arison, of course, is Carnival Corporation’s Chairman of the Board of the cruise company his father founded, and Carnival’s largest shareholder with a net worth of over $8,500,000,000. He stepped down as Carnival’s CEO after 30 years in 2013 following the Costa Concordia disaster. He was replaced as the CEO by Arnold Donald who had served on Carnival Corporation’s Board of Directors for over a decade. Mr. Subotnick, the third member of the executive committee, is the President and CEO of Metromedia Company. He has been a director of Carnival Corporation since 1987, and a director of Carnival plc since 2003.
In April, Judge Seitz expressed her displeasure over Carnival’s continued pollution. She reprimanded Carnival Corp.’s chairman, Micky Arison, and its president Arnold Donald, neither of whom were present at the hearing, stating that she regretted not being able to send the executives to a few days in detention. She stated that “the people at the top are treating this as a gnat. . . ”
Judge Seitz stated previously that she will rule whether Carnival Corp.’s behavior warrants additional fines and/or other punishment. She characterized her previous sanction of $40,000,000 as a “drop in the bucket.” She also threatened to block the company from docking its one hundred cruise ships at U.S. ports.
In an informal poll a month ago, two-thirds of those responding chose sanctions of $250,000,000 or more, or jail time for the executives, or both, to punish Carnival Corp. for its ongoing pollution and violation of its terms of probation. Carnival Corp. collected over $3,200,000,000 tax-free in 2018.
It remains to be seen what type of proposed resolution the U.S. government has agreed to with this recidivist criminal corporation. (At the last hearing, Judge Seitz stated “The defendant is a criminal. It is a recidivist criminal”).
After all, the government originally agreed to just a $40 million dollar fine, which was hardly sufficient to send a message to Carnival. The fine was a pittance given Carnival’s enormous wealth and considering the egregious nature of Princess Cruises’ widespread and lengthy pollution and it’s intentional cover-up, obstruction of justice and ongoing deceptive conduct.
It is difficult to imagine Carnival agreeing to any type of significant financial penalty despite the seriousness of its ongoing pollution.
The hearing is set for June 3, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. in Courtroom 12-4, 400 North Miami Avenue in Miami.
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You can read the Court Appointed Monitor’s reports below:
- First Annual Report of the Court Appointed Monitor (2017-2018) – covering the first year of operations after Carnival was place on probation.
- QUARTERLY REPORT OF THE COURT APPOINTED MONITOR (SEPTEMBER 2018) – DE 114.
- QUARTERLY REPORT OF THE COURT APPOINTED MONITOR (DECEMBER 2018) – DE 115.
- QUARTERLY REPORT OF THE COURT APPOINTED MONITOR (APRIL 2019) – DE 116.
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