'Purely disgusting': How luxury yacht vacation for black travelers allegedly went adrift
A North Carolina man touting himself as one of the captains in the burgeoning black travel community is being accused by a group of vacationers of failing to deliver on promises of a dream voyage on 'super premium' yachts, asserting the reality was a bit of a 'disgusting' nightmare
Reginald Cummings, the owner of Black Travel Movement, was also hit with a federal lawsuit late last month for allegedly skirting a $550,000 bill owed to the Maryland-based yacht company that provided the more than two dozen vessels that were used on the week-long Caribbean sojourn.
Cummings argued in a motion to vacate a confession of judgment that he had previously signed for the $550,000 bill that the yacht company left him high and dry -- providing him with"inadequately provisioned" yachts resulting in"mediocre meals," captains that said they couldn't accommodate his itinerary and complaints about"rude" staff members and"poor" conditions of the boats. He claims that he was forced into signing the judgment.
'Vacation of a lifetime'In July 2018, Cummings advertised"2019 Black Yacht Week" in the British Virgin Islands for a price tag of $2,950 for a"premium crewed yacht" or $3,350 for a"super premium crewed yacht," according to court documents and the Black Yacht Week website.
"BTM marketed the Black Yacht Week experience as including all meals, snacks, and beverages, free wireless internet, double staterooms with en suite lavatory and shower, freshwater showers, housekeeping services, flat screen TVs, air conditioning, snorkeling equipment, fishing gear, and other water activities, as well as a yacht damage waiver," according to the breach of contract lawsuit.
Cummings, 58, founded Black Travel Movement (BTM) in 2016 and portrayed the company as the"largest and fastest growing online black travel community," according to his website, which also offers excursions to Dubai, Greece and Egypt among other destinations.
Pearson said she had a decidedly different experience with BTM when her five friends and six others who joined them on the"Black Yacht Week" excursion paid for a"Super Premium Crewed Yacht."
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Even though Cummings hadn't paid, the yacht company allowed the boats to leave. Cummings was on one of them.
Adams, of Brooklyn, said the gourmet meals they were promised were reduced to hot dogs and the kitchen was unsanitary.
Another passenger, Crystal Dickerson, who also filed a complaint with the North Carolina attorney general's office, said her first clue that things were askew was when the itinerary changed a week before the trip.
"Thank goodness the yacht company felt pity for us and let us go still...We gave our captain and chef a tip still because it wasn't their fault, they were put in a bad position and did their best," she added. The boat crew and chefs were provided by the yacht company.
"Local police were alerted that Mr. Cummings failed to pay the remaining balance," said Meagan Borgerson, the attorney for Dream Yacht America."Mr. Cummings signed a confession of judgement admitting he owed our clients over $550,000 and that document was filed in Anne Arundel County, Maryland."
"It's infuriating because so many of us laid the foundation to make sure we are legitimized in an industry that does not pay attention to us," Robinson said."We shatter the stereotypes that are against us and to hear about this, it's infuriating."
"This is not a fast money industry, it doesn't work like that," Robinson said upon hearing about the allegations against Cummings."This is a service and people industry...you have to do right by these people, don't get it twisted."
"Had there been a group like this one, none of us would of traveled with Black Travel Movement," said Pearson, a project manager for a financial institution."When people use the hashtag saying #BlackTravelMovement it looks like it's his trip or group when really it's not," she added.
"Not all travels groups are perfect. Things happened. But, you'll never want to see a situation when someone is manipulated or there's a pattern of behavior and no one knows about it. Your reputation is everything," said Robinson.
Cummings' Maryland-based attorney Robert Smith Jr. is looking to vacate the $550,000 judgment against his client. In the motion, Smith Jr. claimed Cummings was coerced into signing the document and the complaints from the customers were not his fault, but the yacht company's.Read more: Yahoo News
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