Battleship group cautions about solicitations
By CAROL COMEGNO
The battleship USS New Jersey churns white waves on a blue Arctic Ocean in a lithograph being sold by Maritime Memories for up to $750.
The company tells customers 10 percent of its proceeds will be donated to the ship restoration project in Camden.
But Maritime Memories has no contract with the Home Port Alliance, the Camden group awarded possession of the ship last month. Nor has it given any money to the state battleship foundation.
The Home Port Alliance has issued a caution to battleship supporters about possibly fraudulent solicitations on behalf of the ship.
"Organizations seeking to profit off of our collective efforts to bring the ship to the Camden Waterfront are surfacing and donors should carefully consider where the money is going," said Capt. David McGuigan, president of the Home Port Alliance.
McGuigan said his group has no contracts with any business or other organizations to raise money on behalf of the ship.
"If and when such fund raising occurs for us, it will only be sanctioned by the Alliance after careful scrutiny," he said.
McGuigan's group is formalizing a fundraising campaign, legal procedures for contracts and a copyright of its logo.
"In addition, we we will require that any such solicitation use our Home Port seal as evidence of our participation and assurance that contributions will be used for proper purposes,'' he said.
McGuigan said some groups have placed donation jars in stores with insufficient information about where the money is going.
Ray Martin of Franklinville, president of Maritime Memories, said his company is not affiliated with the Home Port Alliance but would like to be now that the ship is coming to Camden.
Martin said his firm is putting 10 percent of its gross profits into an account that, he said, will go to projects during the ship's renovation.
"We are not selling our lithographs to step on anyone's toes. This was a heartfelt project and we produce quality work," Martin said.
"Maybe we can even produce a print that can be sold in the future by the Alliance."