Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton has slammed the last-ditch bid by Kiwi rich-lister Mark Dunphy to keep the next America's Cup on home waters as "devious" and a "massive waste of time".
In a strongly-worded statement on Wednesday, Dalton confirmed he had ceased all correspondence with Dunphy after he refused to answer questions the syndicate put to him regarding his campaign for the 37th America's Cup to be hosted in New Zealand.
According to Dalton, Dunphy was involved in trying to get the New York Yacht Club to effectively "attack" the Royal Squadron in the New York Supreme court and have them disqualified to then bring the New York Yacht club in as a new challenger of record and insist it was held in Auckland.
Speaking on the Mike Hosking Breakfast this morning, Dalton said the ordeal had been a "massive" waste of time.
"It would probably destroy the club and the team as well so it was completely devious," he said.
"The opposition offshore will be looking and hearing and just laughing at the time we've had to spend dealing with this. We've got three credible bids. Can I say that this is the end of Mark Dunphy but it's not the end of Auckland. It never will be the end of Auckland until it is, effectively. All we are wanting to do is put up a team and a defence that can win the Cup. My sole purpose in life is to retain the Cup in New Zealand, even if that means it must be sailed outside New Zealand to do it."
Dunphy, chairman of Greymouth Petroleum, on Tuesday, denied claims Swiss billionaire and Alinghi boss Ernesto Bertarelli was involved with the possible New York Supreme Court action and Dunphy's proposed home defence.
Team NZ claims to be in possession of a "damning" email - allegedly sent to the Commodore of the New York Yacht Club (NYCC) by Dr Hamish Ross on August 26 - with Dunphy copied in.
Ross previously worked as legal counsel with Alinghi during their 2003, 2007 and 2010 campaigns.
"Ultimately we gave them the opportunity to say what he was doing but had to call him out," Dalton said of the email.
A spokesperson for Dunphy said he stands by his earlier statement.
"Mr Dunphy did speak to NYYC as part of his due diligence about whether they would participate in the defence if it was held in Auckland. Hamish Ross has not represented Mr Dunphy on the matter referred to in the statement.
"We remain surprised at the hostility and vitriol from Team New Zealand against a well-motivated attempt to fund a defence of the America's Cup in Auckland in 2024.
"Claims have been made by Grant Dalton about Kiwi Home Defence and our proposal and motives in offering financial backing and support to keep the America's Cup defence in 2024 in Auckland. These claims are false.
"The Kiwi Home Defence team and Mark Dunphy are not working with, or on behalf of, any offshore interests. The Squadron and Team New Zealand are aware of this. Any assertion to the contrary is completely untrue."
Dalton has previously claimed that to put on a credible defence of the Cup it needed to be held overseas, last week delaying announcing the venue for 2024 with Cork (Ireland), Barcelona (Spain) and Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) in the mix.
He said they were moving as fast as they could to have the host confirmed.
"We are quite aware we have obligations to challengers to tell them when it is," he said. "If you look at history, Bermuda took over a year, Valencia took over a year and we're just six months in which three months was an exclusive period with the New Zealand government so we are moving as fast as we can."