Capetonians Peter and Mark Wehrley are not on the best of terms, and it’s all because of a luxury yacht.
Don’t you hate it when a luxury yacht tears a family apart? It really is the pits.
Peter owns a boat manufacturing company, Matrix Yachts, and has done pretty well for himself, and his son Mark, who previously had a 10% share in the company, used one of the boats Matrix built in 2015 to operate charters and trips out of the V&A Waterfront.
The yacht, Mirage, is valued at R20 million, and is at the centre of what has been a years-long legal battle.
TimesLIVE unpacks that fallout below:
…a dispute over the expense of building the yacht, its control and the proceeds of the charter business strained the relationship between him and his parents.
Mark [below with his wife, Tara Sharbonda, back in 2017] sued Matrix in the Cape Town High Court in 2017 in a bid to confirm he was the “lawful holder of rights, title and interests in the yacht”. A litany of lawsuits followed.
The latest culminated in a judgment last month after liquidators of Matrix filed to sell the yacht. Mark, who is opposed to the sale, countersued for access to the company’s books, documents and records.
The judge in the lawsuit, Judge Lee Bozalek, dismissed both applications with costs, whilst appearing to grow tired with what is now “a long-running legal saga arising out of a bitter family dispute”.
‘Bitter’ being the key word, and Mark says that through the courts, Matrix Yachts has made it impossible for him to emigrate, and caused his family “stress and turmoil”:
Mark said there was no end in sight to the litigation, adding that he was not a “spoilt brat” fighting for the family silver, but someone who had been the Matrix technical director for about 16 years.
Out of the legal wrangling, there are a few winners – the attorneys and advocates that are banking their fees as the saga continues.
Peter Wehrley is well aware of this:
Wehrley said he was disappointed the relationship with his son had deteriorated.
“It’s pointless for me to talk about this greed that my son has got involved with. Basically, it’s lawyers just making huge amounts of money out of it. It is very sickening and disturbing and disappointing.”
For reference, here’s coverage of the father and son legal battle from back in 2017, again on TimesLIVE, that sheds further light on those allegations of greed.
Peter said then that the yacht construction went R4 million over budget, and alleged that Mark had contributed nothing towards those costs, and began operating the yacht as a charter against his wishes.
In response, Mark alleged that his father and stepmother had manipulated the company’s finances in order to avoid tax.
Almost four years later, and this one seems no closer to any form of amicable resolution.
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