The History of the San Jose“It was just sunset when I engaged the Admiral [San Jose], and in about an hour and a half, it being then quite dark, the Admiral blew up… She immediately sank with all her riches.”
Bevans Branham’s work to help find the San Jose treasure ship is important because of its value, which is enormous and unprecedented, and also for the historical significance of the ship. The San Jose sank on June 8th, 1708 on its way back to Spain to fund the government of Spain, hastening the Spanish Succession. Early that morning, English Commodore, Charles Wager, spotted the ship and engaged it in battle. The San Jose sank quickly before it could be boarded 16 miles off of the coast of present-day Colombia. The San Jose contained an estimated 11 million pesos (the equivalent of 344 tons of gold and silver) and 116 steel chests of gem quality emeralds. It now lies 800 feet below the surface of the aquamarine waters of the Caribbean Sea. Additionally, it is now believed, based on other discoveries, there is a missing shipment of 10 million gold coins aboard as well. Commodore Wager was actually later relieved of duty for having failed to successfully board the San Jose and secure its enormous treasure. There were literally mule trains criss-crossing Latin America for three years loading the treasures of the San Jose, which also included all the wealth of the Viceroy of Peru and the artifacts and associated treasure of many church officials.
The Colombian Government Comes in Line with World Court
Bevans Branham’s work in venture capital, which led to the discovery and, soon, the salvage of the San Jose treasure ship didn’t just end with them finding the ship. When Bevans and Sea Search Armada initiated the search, they structured the equivalent of an offshore oil lease with the Colombian government prioritizing the governments rights to all religious artifacts and a 50/50 split of the treasure. Once Sea Search Armada had successfully found and identified the ship, not surprisingly, the Colombian government sought to renegotiate the deal. Nonetheless, Sea Search Armada, feeling confident in their legal position, decided to move forward with the salvage in the mid 80’s, only to pause over new security concerns about getting the treasure up and safely to port with the rise of the new Medellin Drug Cartel. The treasure had been safe on the bottom of the ocean for 280 years, and SSA thought why not pause a couple of years for the cartel to disband and then re-initiate the salvage effort. However, the drug cartels became increasingly powerful, SSA and its affiliates ran out of capital and the partnerships were sold to wealthy Sun Valley investor, Jack Harbeston. Extremely well connected, Harbeston believed he could soon consummate a successful salvage of the boat. However, the cartels became more powerful and the Colombian government more uncooperative.
Subsequently, Harbeston has spent over 25 years struggling with Colombia, persevering through numerous changes in governmental leadership, finally obtaining a Colombian Supreme Court ruling, recently, confirming the validity of the original SSA agreement of a 50/50 split of the treasure. The six bodies of law in the World Court which govern the possession of the treasure validate this ruling. Significantly, the treasure is only in Colombia’s economic zone, not their territorial waters. Furthermore, the Colombian government, now an important strategic ally of America against Venezuela, looks to use the San Jose as a high profile, successful American investment to encourage other American business involvement in their country.
Movie & Entertainment Franchise
The story of The San Jose is clearly legend, as is Bevans’ involvement as a venture capitalist. However, the story of the San Jose, the effort of the team involved in finding it, and the legal battle with the Colombian government only deepen the rich history and legend of the treasure ship, coming together to tell a complex, beautiful and multi-layered story for the ages, the “holy grail” of treasure salvage ships. The San Jose is a timeless and timely story with many messages of both historical and contemporary relevance. Certainly, that’s what MGM and Michael Landon, both original investors, were seeing when they acquired the rights to the story years ago. Today, with the multiple bankruptcies of MGM and conflicts with the estate of Michael Landon, the rights became available again and are being secured by The Branham Companies (BCO), in association with Evans Entertainment Global, LTD (EEG). They are now moving forward with the screenplay and formation of a strategic production alliance with a distinguished group on the development of a multi-billion dollar motion picture & entertainment franchise. Many initially see it as “Romancing the Stone” meets “Indiana Jones” meets “The Social Network”.
Meet The Branham’s
The Branham Companies were formed by husband and wife duo Lorie and Bevans Branham soon after Bevans’ graduation from the University of Colorado in 1973. Since then, they’ve received top-notch training in many different areas of expertise such as marketing, advertising, public relations, and hospitality among other things. They have worked together on nationally recognized campaigns and have also been instrumental at building and establishing a unique array of businesses celebrated for success.
For over four decades, Lorie and Bevans Branham have spent their numerous gifts and talents mostly in terms of marketing, advertising, restaurants and clubs, venture capital, and humanitarian organizations. The couple currently lives in Palm Springs, California and are working on establishing the next boutique hotel group for couples (called XES Hotel Group and associated websphere).