it looks to me as if the NOs took this on thinking that it was more profitable than it really was and having realised that was not the case they cut and ran. A very poor way of dealing with the situation yes indeed and they should be condemned for their actions but I'm sticking with my theory that they simply realised the business model was unsustainable.
Given what happened to a couple of friends of mine who recently sold their businesses, I find this quite (albeit surprisingly) plausable. Both of my friends were selling their businesses because they felt the market for their services was tanking (one of the businesses was a local photo processing facility), and they wanted out before they went under. Both businesses were bought by seemingly intelligent people who did a great deal of research on stability, cash flow and market conditions. Both businesses failed within a year of the sale. I must admit, I just don't get it.
And let's not forget that whatever blind spot the NO had on the business end of things had to be magnified by the "boat" factor. Everything related to boating is by definition a "bad investment"; we stay involved because we love it, not because it is a cost-effective recreational activity. I would be surprised if the NO's analysis of the L&A business outlook wasn't significantly colored by his love of boating and cruising.
I don't know enough about what happened to assign blame here; in my experience, there's usually enough to go around for all. I do feel badly for Bob and Jody. I met Bob briefly at the Miami Boat Show one year, and thought he was a hoot. And as I mentioned before, I found the editorial content and thrust of the mag to be a breath of fresh air.
I hope that Bob and Jody bounce back.