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Old 12-17-2011
Caribbean2012 Caribbean2012 is offline
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And the hypocrisy continues......

I find it fascinating that companies can go belly up and screw folks out of $1.4 million in cash and goods and no one here says a word.

Then you had North screwing 200 employees out of $5.00 and firing them when they asked for it and no one says a word.

However, you have this rinky dink little sail loft and it has become the Great Satan.

One has to ask WHY?

What is the agenda here?


SailNet, an online shopping site for boating enthusiasts that expanded quickly during the dot-com boom, has declared bankruptcy and will be sold off.

The North Charleston-based company and its affiliates, all operating under the umbrella of MarineNet Inc., sought protection from creditors earlier this week in Columbia.

The once-high-flying company, which recently ceased operations, will not be reorganized. "Everything will be liquidated," said Ivan N. Nossokoff, the company's bankruptcy attorney.

SailNet listed nearly $1.4 million in debts and $211,000 in assets, mostly office equipment, inventory and unpaid invoices.

The decision to close and liquidate the business "was simply a matter of just not having enough money to continue to operate," Nossokoff said Wednesday. "It's just that plain and simple."

The bankruptcy filing shows that revenue at SailNet sank by $1.2 million last year, or 20 percent, to $4.7 million. Sales to date this year have totaled slightly more than $2 million.

The company listed its biggest creditor as Larry French, a Florida resident who sold his St. Petersburg-based sail-making business to SailNet about five years ago. He is owed about $420,000, according to a court filing.

Other major creditors include National Bank of South Carolina, which is owed $350,000, and the owners of SailNet's former and current corporate offices in Mount Pleasant and North Charleston, respectively. The landlords are owed a combined $131,809.

The company is scheduled to meet with creditors Aug. 24 at a hearing in Charleston.

SailNet sought bankruptcy protection several days after The Post and Courier reported the online retailer had stopped taking orders and that its Leeds Avenue offices had been closed for at least several weeks. Customers who said they have been overcharged or have not received their orders have been posting complaints about the company on Internet message boards.

Nossokoff said it's too early in the bankruptcy process to say how the court will handle any unfilled orders or overcharges. He also was not sure what will become of any personal information such as customers' credit card numbers that might be stored in SailNet's computer systems.

The liquidation plan spells the end of what had been a promising local technology business.

SailNet was launched in 1994 in Detroit by Sam and Cheryl Boyle, who moved the venture to the Charleston area in 1999. The next year, the couple sold a controlling stake for an undisclosed sum to IDG Ventures, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm.

Flush with cash, SailNet began to expand through acquisitions in 2000, when it bought Johnson Sales Inc., a Florida business that manufactured sails and other boat accessories. That same year it acquired Boston-based competitor Boatscape.com.

At the same time, SailNet hired a crew of programmers, sales staff and craftsmen. At its peak, the dot-com employed about 60 workers in the Lowcountry and another 140 or so in Florida.

The Boyles last week told The Post and Courier that they parted ways with the company's majority owners in December. The bankruptcy filing listed about 30 other businesses and individuals as shareholders, whose investments in the company are wiped out.

SailNet said in its bankruptcy filing that John Rublaitus, who was named president and chief executive officer in January, stepped down from those positions Monday and is now serving as a consultant to the company. Nossokoff said Rublaitus was traveling Wednesday and unavailable for comment.

John P. McDermott can be reached at 937-5572 or jmcdermott@postandcourier.com.
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