Michael Arrington, founder of TechCrunch and a general partner at CrunchFund revealed a few days ago on his blog that after he sold TechCrunch in 2010, he didn’t splurge on anything except for a new boat that was built and shipped from Canada.
The problem? The boat was built in Canada and an agent of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) confiscated the boat due to the government form containing an error but ignored by the customs agent.
Arrington explained that he lives near Seattle where there’s a big boating culture up there. He ordered a boat, built by a small company that builds boats specifically for that area called Coastal Craft. He ordered it in 2011 had planned on writing about the experience after the boat was delivered.
He named the boat, Buddy and said, “It has state of the art electronics and a fairly new highly efficient propulsion system the TechCrunch audience would be interested in. Today was the day that Buddy was going to be delivered.”
“That didn’t happen, because the Department of Homeland Security seized the boat.”
Arrington explained, “DHS takes documents supplied by the builder and creates a government form that includes basic information about the boat, including the price. The primary form, prepared by the government, had an error. The price was copied from the invoice, but DHS changed the currency from Canadian to U.S. Dollars.”
“It has language at the bottom with serious sounding statements that the information is true and correct, and a signature block. I pointed out the error and suggested that we simply change the currency from US $ to CAD $ so that it was correct. Or instead, amend the amount so that it was correct in U.S. dollars. I thought this was important because I was signing it and swearing that the information, and specifically the price, was correct.”
Since the document had an error and would falsify his information, Arrington refused to sign it.
“The DHS agent didn’t care about the error and told me to sign the form anyway. “It’s just paperwork, it doesn’t matter,” she said. I declined,” Arrington said.