APEX, N.C. — The owner of the Black Travel Movement has been ordered to pay nearly $1.7 million for failing to pay a yacht charter.
In a brief judgment signed in late-September, United States District Judge Terrence Boyle granted Annapolis-based Dream Yacht Charter a $1,655,351.00 judgement against Black Travel Movement and its owner Reggie Cummings. The Black Travel Movement calls itself a community of friends and family with an interest in cultivating new relationships through trips around the world.
Dream Yacht Charter alleged it was never paid a balance of $519,934 before Cummings embarked on a luxury sailing vacation along with nearly 250 guests in what was dubbed ‘Black Yacht Week’ in the British Virgin Islands.
Cummings’ Black Travel Movement company, based in Apex, North Carolina, organized the trip. Dream Yacht Charter was hired to supply boats, staff, alcohol and other provisions for the week-long excursion. Cummings paid a $60,000.00 deposit, court documents show. That's the only money Dream Yacht Charter received from Cummings.
Dream Yacht Charter sued Black Travel Movement for unjust enrichment, breach of contract and fraud.
“I’m going to fight this,” said Cummings in response to the judgement. "I am more than happy and willing to pay Dream Yacht Charter what they are fairly and reasonably entitled to. That number is not $1.7 million. That number is not $550,000.00."
With limited options, Cummings is hoping to negotiate a deal with Dream Yacht Charter. Neither Cummings nor a representative have reached out to begin conversations.
Judge Boyle’s judgement noted a series of missed deadlines that contributed to the default judgement.
“To date, neither defendant has retained new counsel, made initial disclosures, responded to discovery, conferred with plaintiffs about the proposed scheduling order, or designated… a witness,” said Boyle in his order.
Cummings' attorney withdrew from the case in May.
“Hopefully, I can get it worked out,” said Cummings who plans to appeal the decision.
Many travelers on Cummings’ Black Yacht Week trip were unaware of the financial dispute between Cummings and Dream Yacht Charter prior to or during the excursion. In a story we chronicled last September, attendees complained that many of the boats had mechanical issues, instead of fine cuisine expected, many ate hot dogs and hamburgers, and the experience fell short of the luxury vacation attendees paid for.
“It’s a year later and people have still not received restitution that was promised in follow-up emails but was never carried out,” said LaShonda Wilson who attended the trip.
Many of the vacationers were able to successfully file disputes with their credit card companies and receive a fraction of what they paid.
Cummings said he plans to repay the affected travelers. Noting his loss in federal court, Cummings, in a recent correspondence to travelers said, "My immediate priority is to resolve any outstanding refunds or complaints with the attendees of the event. In hindsight, the truth is that I should have made this the priority from the start. It was a bad business decision."
Representatives for Dream Yacht Charter did not comment on this story. In a prior statement to WUSA 9, Dream Yacht Charter said, “….most of the complaints by the members were regarding portions of the event planned solely by Black Travel Movement, including the lack of transportation to and from Scrub Island and event planning during the charters.”