Queen Mary Leaseholder Accused Of Mismanagement, Financial Misrepresentation
The company that holds the lease on the Queen Mary obscured financial information and failed to perform critical repairs as required by its lease, according to a city of Long Beach audit report released Wednesday and first reported by the Long Beach Press-Telegram.
The ship's recent history involves a number of similarly named companies that often share leadership, making it difficult to understand exactly who is responsible for the degraded condition of the historic ocean liner, which holds hotel rooms and a restaurant, the Telegram notes.
Los Angeles-based Urban Commons Queensway LLC took over a 66-year lease for the ship in 2016. At that time, the need for comprehensive repairs was already known, and the lease included requirements that certain essential and expensive repairs be taken up. The city of Long Beach contributed $23M toward those repairs, which by one estimate totaled roughly $290M, while Urban Commons Queensway was supposed to come up with funding for the rest of the work.
In early 2019, Urban Commons Queensway announced plans to dramatically revitalize the Queen Mary. That same year, reports by a city-hired inspector found numerous instances of inadequate maintenance on the ship and indicated that repairs that operators had received city funds for had been started but not finished, according to the Long Beach Post. An inspection in April found that there were more than $23M worth of repairs still left to do on the ship.
In the past, the company said it had done some improvements, but the city audit claims that invoices and information from vendors did not make clear how much they had been paid or when.
The leaseholder also owns a former operator of the 85-year-old ocean liner. That operator has been accused of fraud in bankruptcy case filings involving the leaseholder's parent company, according to the Telegram.
The Queen Mary has been a staple of the Long Beach waterfront since 1967. It is owned by the city of Long Beach, which, over the years, partnered with operators to transform the ship into a hotel with eateries and a museum. Urban Commons Queensway had once planned to redevelop the adjacent waterfront into a glitzy entertainment district.