Cohen at sea over surfboard
EMBATTLED NSW Greens MP Ian Cohen wants his surfboard back.
We’re not talking about any old surfboard, but the one he used to famously ride the bow of the USS Oldendorf into Sydney Harbour in 1986.
Never one to miss the opportunity to have a bit of fun with a difficult situation, Mr Cohen is attempting to raise $1 million to avoid bankruptcy following a successful defamation action by Byron Bay developer Jerry Bennette.
“I reckon it would be worth a bit today,” he said, confessing he was fast becoming the Woody Allen of fundraising.
“That photo was on the front page of the New York Times and still has currency.
“I was arrested twice on that day and was so excited that in all the confusion I let some guy take the board. He said he wanted to paddle out to the USS Missouri that was coming through the heads at the time. I never saw it again.
“It didn’t click at the time, but the guy had an American accent, and I’ve got a sneaking suspicion he was off one of the warships and looking for a souvenir.
“It’s probably hanging pride of place in the mess of one of those ships.
“I’ve quizzed many people I’ve known in the US Navy over the years and they’ve all refused to confirm or deny it.
“And I’m like, ‘hey guys, you won the war, can I just have my board back’,” he laughed.
“Seriously though, while I’m far from physically resolved on the issue, emotionally the support has been fantastic, heartening in fact.
“My detractors are there and willalways find fault, but as far as I’m concerned I was supporting my community. Perhaps I was acting with misjudgement, but I’m prepared to do the heavy lifting on this.”
Mr Cohen is planning a series of fundraisers over Christmas, including a ‘return to the scene of the crime at Suffolk Park Hall’. His only criteria so far is they must be fun.
Contrary to reports in the Saturday papers, Mr Cohen hasn’t sold his Tamarama property in Sydney yet.
“All that free advertising and they got it wrong,” he laughed.
“Though I am open to offers.”