With the original "Star Trek" shuttlecraft prop Galileo just weeks away from being put up for auction, one major effort that included some big names in Star Trek to acquire and restore the shuttlecraft has fallen apart.
Galileo Restoration, a group led by Propworx chief executive officer Alec Peters, will have to regroup following the departure of some key members of its group. Just a day after the Gene Roddenberry-endorsed Star Trek fan club the International Federation of Trekkers left the project, former "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and "Battlestar Galactica" visual effects artist Doug Drexler and longtime Star Trek graphics creator Michael Okuda have departed the project.
These departures happen exactly when Galileo Restoration was beginning to raise money toward a $100,000 goal to purchase the actual Galileo shuttlecraft from an auction later this month, and restore it to its former glory.
"All I want is for the shuttle to finally get a fair shake," Drexler told Airlock Alpha soon after his departure, without going into details. "Mike and I are available to anyone who needs our help to make sure it gets done right."
One possibility could be the Trekkers fan group, better known as The Federation, whose leader told Airlock Alpha earlier Saturday that despite their departure from the Galileo Restoration team, they were still looking to try and raise funds on their own to acquire and restore the prop that was featured in such classic "Star Trek" episodes as "The Galileo Seven" and "Journey to Babel."
"The Federation made the decision to return to their own campaign to save and restore Galileo with the desire to more represent the fans themselves in the ownership of the [beloved] shuttlecraft," fan club leader Russ Haslage said in a statement. "We feel that Galileo is not only a collectible and an important part of Star Trek and sci-fi history, but as such should be an asset to all fans."
When asked about the departure of The Federation/IFT from the project, Peters first sidestepped the question, and compared Airlock Alpha to The National Enquirer because of the question. He later told Airlock Alpha that "since IFT has not told me they were withdrawing, and since our deal was they would build and host our website, which they have done and continue to do, and they are listed on our site as a sponsor and we have not been informed that they are otherwise, I guess I don't see how they have withdrawn as Russ has told you."
However, IFT supplied Airlock Alpha with an email from earlier that day indicating Peters' demand that the Galileo Restoration site be removed from that group's servers and transferred to his, which was done soon after, according to Haslage. Also, in earlier remarks to Airlock Alpha that Peters marked as "off the record," the Propworx boss readily confirmed that IFT had indeed left the group.
On the group's website, Galileo Restoration assured Star Trek fans it was asking to donate that the shuttlecraft prop would be held in a trust with Peters, Drexler, Okuda, Deloitte principal Adam Schneider and one other person would control. However, the site did not provide any details on what mechanisms would be in place to remove the shuttlecraft from the trust, who would receive proceeds if the shuttlecraft were sold, or provide any guarantees that anyone would not profit from the donations provided by the fans to acquire and restore the prop.
Since this story was posted, Peters told Airlock Alpha and others that he will no longer be raising funds from fans, and will use his own "war chest" of funds to acquire the Galileo. It was not clear how that would affect his plans to maintain a trust, or what would happen to the $400 or so that had already been donated to the campaign.
Airlock Alpha first reported on the fate of the Galileo on May 25 when Haslage and his fan club expressed interest in acquiring and restoring the prop from auction.
While the prop sold for about $3,000 in 1991, auctioneers suspect they can sell it for much more -- a number that Haslage, at the time, said was not very plausible.
"I don't know if $100,000 is realistic in her current state, and considering she's been sitting outside in the Ohio weather for some time, possibly causing dry rot to the external (original) shell," Haslage said at the time.
Whatever happens, any groups wanting a chance to acquire the Galileo will have to act quickly. The auction begins June 18, and lasts until June 28.
Peters has not responded to a request for comment about the departure of Drexler and Okuda from the project. A request for comment send to Schneider after hours also is pending return.
UPDATE: Following the publication of this story, Propworx's Alec Peters revised his public statement to say that "IFT volunteered to host our website and help us put it together, and we are grateful for that. If they wish to go strike out on their own, then we wish them the best. The attempt to acquire and then restore Galileo will take a very well-funded group. If IFT thinks they can come up with the $100,000 to start this project, then may the best group win."
Peters also answered a few other questions pertaining to the trust that would "own" the Galileo if he is part of the winning bid.
"The Galileo Restoration is being formed as a non-profit corporation," Peters said. "Adam Schneider, one of our directors, is a principle [sic] at Deloitte, one of the top consulting firms in the country, and has been tapping into his [firm's] resources to find the best way to organize this. Once we acquire Galileo, then we will have the attorneys draft the trust documents for it. No one will make any profit, and the intention is to donate Galileo, not sell it."
Peters, by the way, is listed as a trained attorney in his bio on the Propworx site. Many other questions were referred to other attorneys.
Story has also been updated to include new plans from Alec Peters to no longer raise money.
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