Bureaucracy is running crazy with the discovery of LaSalle's flagship Griffon. The officials from the State of Michigan, which claims all rights to any shipwreck along its waters, have filed suit against the Great Lakes Exploration Group to provide the state the rights to all information that the salvor has regarding the location and critical scientific information regarding the Griffon. This request has been bantered throughout the Federal Courts all summer and has prevented Great Lakes Exploration Group from doing any diving nor additional research on their find, in order to conclusively prove that this is LaSalle's ship.
In the meantime, the admiralty lawyers in this case are making a fortune as both sides have dug their heels in on the issues. From Great Lakes perspective, they have spent over 28 years and countless millions of dollars on the discovery, exploration and research of this famed vessel and then the State of Michigan wants to come in and take all this information for free - as well as taking over all rights to the ship. The salvors are not looking for fortune and treasure here. They just want to discover this famous ship and preserve it for all generations to see. They are working with nautical archaeologists from Chicago's renown Field Museum therefore this site will never be plundered.
Most recently, the French government have entered the fray with documents claiming that this ship was an official French vessel, commissioned by their government to do French business and exploration in this region. LaSalle's trips "were not merely a personal initiative of an intrinsically private nature but required a king's decree," the official French government memo states emphatically. Normally Nautical Research Group does not endorse salvage operations without the appropriate archaeological sciences; however, in this case, Great Lakes is acting as a proxy for true professional, nautical archaeologists to do their job. From this standpoint, we truly commend Steve Libert and Great Lakes for all their study, research and discovery. Unfortunately, the State of Michigan has withheld their permits to dive the wreck and this has prevented Great Lakes from proving the ship is LaSalle's Griffon. With France coming into the picture, it appears that any leverage that Michigan is currently wielding may be moot. Overall, the biggest losers are the American public and its historical heritage.