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Malloy Threatens Amistad Funding If Schooner Skips Sailfest

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A ship modeled after the famous slave-trading vessel La Amistad -- on which 53 African slaves revolted in 1839 -- enters the harbor of Havana on March 25, 2010. The replica of the schooner Amistad arrived in the Cuban capital as part of a tour of ports linked to the history of slaving, organized to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its construction. The mutineers aboard the original Amistad -- the subject of a Hollywood film -- were eventually recaptured in the United States, became a cause celebre for abolitionists and won their freedom following a landmark Supreme Court case ruling.  (ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images)

A ship modeled after the famous slave-trading vessel La Amistad — on which 53 African slaves revolted in 1839 — enters the harbor of Havana on March 25, 2010. The replica of the schooner Amistad arrived in the Cuban capital as part of a tour of ports linked to the history of slaving, organized to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its construction. The mutineers aboard the original Amistad — the subject of a Hollywood film — were eventually recaptured in the United States, became a cause celebre for abolitionists and won their freedom following a landmark Supreme Court case ruling. (ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images)

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Gov. Dannel P. Malloy threatened Thursday to “reconsider” supporting additional state funding for the replica Amistad slave ship if the schooner follows through with plans to skip this weekend’s Sailfest in New London.

In a letter to Hanifa Washington, executive director of Amistad America Inc., Malloy said the schooner should be made available to Connecticut residents and the public. The state contributes about $400,000 annually to the ship, dubbed the Freedom Schooner Amistad. Amistad America works to raise awareness about racism and intolerance.

“Failure to bring the Amistad to New London would force me to reconsider support of additional state funding when negotiating future budgets with the Connecticut General Assembly,” Malloy said in his letter, dated Thursday.

A message left seeking comment with Amistad officials was not immediately returned. Earlier this week, Washington cited reasons for the decision to forgo Sailfest, including preparations for an upcoming Coast Guard inspection and what she described as hostile local newspaper coverage.

Malloy said it was “wholly unacceptable for Amistad America to break its commitment to a festival that brings hundreds of thousands of people to southeastern Connecticut” and that he doesn’t believe “any problems exist which could not have been raised in a more public manner months ago.”

On Wednesday, Washington said The Day of New London’s coverage of her organization’s financial problems has been hostile and inaccurate. She said given that coverage, she was unwilling to postpone crew training and rush inspection preparations to attend the festival. She said the schooner will be open this weekend at its dock in New Haven.

Tim Cotter, the managing editor of The Day, has said the newspaper’s stories have been accurate and he doesn’t see how the coverage is relevant to the decision to attend Sailfest.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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