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Catching up on Some News.

Catching up with some of the news from last week, Canarian Legal Alliance look to be on a role, another four Supreme Court ruling have been announced. 2 November, they announce 3 rulings in one day, then on 11 November they announced another.

Again these ruling reaffirmed previous judgements from Spain’s Highest Court, contract over 50 years, Floating weeks and the taking of deposits during the cooling off period all ruled illegal, with the contracts being declared null and void. Just on these four alone a total of 95,570€ has been recovered.

CLA also announced the payout of 41,190€ by Anfi to their Finnish clients, the contract was also declared null and void. As the spokesperson for CLA confirmed, the courts are taking notice of the Supreme Court, sentences are coming through faster and the payments are also getting quicker.

It was also announced that Court No 5 of The First Instance in Tenerife, found for their British clients against Resort Properties / Silverpoint. In this judgement the court used the precedent of the contracts being over 50 years to make their ruling. The client will receive £17,476 plus legal interest, with the contract being declared null and void.

It certainly appears from the the way these judgements are coming in, the process is getting faster. With all the new cases this law firm has in various stages of the legal process, there will be many more being announced. At present, they seem to be announcing at least 3 rulings each week, sometimes more.

http://www.canarianlegalalliance.com/news/

On another note, it has been publicised that Tolemex Ltd (Bridgewell Consultants Ltd), owning company of the Timeshare Consumers Association and the forum timesharetalk has officially filed to be “struck off” the companies register. So the company is being dissolved, the question is why?

We know that this company is part of the Monster family, with Mark Rowe being the sole director, we also know there is a move by the law firm Athena Law to bring a case against them for liable. Could this be a method to avoid it?

To add to this it was also announced that Monster Travel and Sellmytimeshare.tv (Hollywood Marketing SL) have also had their membership terminated with the Direct Marketing Authority. This comes after an investigation by the Direct Marketing Commission, who found they had breached the codes of conduct laid down by the DMA.

So the next question is what will happen to the TCA if the owning company is dissolved?

Who or what company will take control?

Is it the end for the TCA?

These questions may be answered sometime in the future, but until then we will keep watching and report it when the news breaks.

Light Hearted end to the Week.

Over the past few weeks the articles published here on Inside Timeshare have been of a somewhat serious nature, so to end this first week of November Inside Timeshare is taking a light hearted view of the industry. Following are some of the timeshare and sales jokes you can find on the internet, some have been used in previous articles. Enjoy.

 

We start off with the usual beginning of any timeshare tour, you are picked up by the OPC (kid on the street with scratch cards),

'Excuse me, sir. Can I interest you in a timeshare property?'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

so you go to pick up your prizes and told it will only take 90 mins, but have you seen the sales reps after?

 

 

90mins

Then during the presentation you are told all the benefits of owning a timeshare,             5

Do you remember the finacial logic part of the pitch?

tj1      Somehow they actually made it look as though you would save loads of money.

 

But after a while you wanted to go, only time has flown by and you then realise how long you have been there!                                           tj04

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or have you been one of those with the in-house reps, you go on holiday using the timeshare you already own and you get the knock on the door the day after you arrive, how do you feel!

tj7

Or do you break down and get you credit card out?    tj6       tj02

But don´t feel sorry for the rep when you say I need to think about it, you will leave him waiting as a be-back!

2

 

Its when you get home you realise what you have done!

tj03

But don´t forget the sales force is very well trained, they know what they are doing,   tj8

Maybe this wasn´t the timeshare for you!

tj07

so just to finish here are a few more       timeshare-salesmen

And if you ever think about buying remember this,

tj01                               tj06

8

11                                Hope this has given you a little chuckle, remember you can´t be serious all the time. Have a great weekend.

More News from Across the Pond

With the US Presidential election now coming to a close over the next week, Irene Parker, who collaborates with Inside Timeshare on matters which affect timeshare on both side of the Great Lake (or Pond as our American friends call it), has sent in her most recent article.

It very much focuses on the political game that is affecting timeshare in the US, showing how it splits into Republican and Democrat, as she explained, the industry is very much pro Republican, the Trump camp, the Democrats seem to be supported by the timeshare owners. We should not be surprised by this.

Irene has very often commented on the documentary “The Queen Of Versailles”, the wife of the owner of Westgate, David Siegel. It shows the 90,000sq ft property they have been building as their home. It is quite staggering, with a walk in wardrobe (sorry closet), bigger that most homes in Europe. Irene has in many writings dubbed herself “The Peasant of Venice” in contrast to The Queen. Have to admit Irene does have a great sense of humour. Irene claims it’s not humour if one studies Polish and Russian history and the need for peasant uprisings.

Irene opens her article on the New York Manhattan Club, when the Democratic New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman halted trading of timeshare. As you will see from her article, it is a very murky world indeed, the lines between timeshare and politics are blurred to say the least. Enjoy her article it reveals a lot.

Timeshare Battles Split Down Political Party Lines

October 26, 2016

By Irene Parker submitted to Orlando Sentinel

Democratic New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman made headlines taking on presidential candidate Donald Trump and the Trump Foundation. Mr. Schneiderman claimed the Foundation did not meet certain administrative requirements necessary to receive donations in New York.

In addition to challenging Trump, Mr. Schneiderman has also taken on another developer and billionaire, Bruce Eichner, and Eichner’s Manhattan Club timeshare. Mr. Schneiderman halted timeshare sales at the Manhattan Club due to allegedly fraudulent sales practices involving a “bait and switch” scheme. Manhattan Club buyers learned there was a lack of availability for those who purchased memberships, while the general public could easily book online. A court battle that began in 2014 continues today.

The New York Post unleashed an onslaught of criticisms against Mr. Schneiderman accusing him of picking his fights based on political motives.

Republican Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi created her own headlines when she accepted a $25,000 donation from Donald Trump while considering whether to participate in a Trump University investigation. Her investigation was dropped after receiving the donation.

There is an eerie similarity between Trump U and timeshare sales, illustrated in an extraordinary CNN interview between Trump U salesperson James Harris and CNN investigative reporter Drew Griffin. Not all timeshare sales agents are predatory, but complaints about overly aggressive sales tactics abound.

In the CNN interview, Harris is accused of exploiting the elderly by selling them classes averaging $34,000 and then “up selling” them to attend more classes. In rogue timeshare presentations, an average timeshare week costs $25,000 and after the initial purchase, owners are barraged to purchase additional points or weeks.

Keep Reading

Mayor of Mogan Under Investigation into the Anfi Tauro Beach Project.

Continuing on from the article published on 7 October, regarding the first prosecution of the head of the coastal authority, Nueva Canarias Mogan issued another twist.

 

It now looks like the Mayor of Mogan, Onalia Bueno is now under investigation for granting a licence which apparently had expired. It now looks as if unlawful acts have been committed in the execution of the regeneration work at Tauro Beach. This work is being carried out for the Anfi Group, who have plans to build new hotels and a shopping mall as well as a marina with around 500 berths.

Onalia Bueno laying the first sand (right)

We know that the local residents have bore the brunt of the problems, with homes being flooded by the tides back in August. They have also lodged formal complaints with the Guardia Civil in respect of the damage caused.

 

This whole project to create a manmade beach, does appear to have been beset with what might be called irregular procedures, the granting of licences after the work had started and falsifying documents after the fact. It was the Guardia Civil Nature Protection Unit (SEPRONA), who originally instigated the investigation and made this public.

gc-seprona

It would seem that this is only the tip of the iceberg, with possibly more prosecutions to come as the investigation progresses. Inside Timeshare will keep you posted as this story develops.

 

https://www.facebook.com/Nueva-Canarias-Mog%C3%A1n-185892306754/?fref=nf

 

http://insidetimeshare.com/first-prosecution-tauro-beach-project-filed/

 

First Prosecution for Tauro Beach Project Filed.

News has just come in with regards to the Anfi Tauro Beach project, the first prosecution has been announced.

 

The Office of the Environment in Las Plamas has filed a complaint with the Court of San Bartolomé de Tirajana, against the former head of the Canarian Coastal Authority José Maria Hernandez. The charge is one of administrative malfeasance (wrongdoing in public office) and forgery of official documents.

 

Hernandez was dismissed from his post in July, after an investigation by the Guardia Civil into irregularities in the permissions and licences granted for the project to build a beach and other amenities.

 

The project to convert the area into a manmade beach was authorised initially by the Ministry of the Environment, but was subject to certain conditions. The prosecution state that the head of the Coastal Authority (Hernandez) did not consider these conditions and gave a verbal order to begin the works. The senior engineer had warned him (Hernandez) by email that significant and important documents were missing and the project did not meet with the Ministerial conditions.

 

The engineer then refused to sign the minutes for the commencement of the work, also documenting a series of violations in writing to the General Director of Sustainability of the Coast and the Sea.

 

The prosecutor Javier Ródenas considers that Hernandez verbally authorised the works despite warnings of serious breaches then committed an act of forgery by drafting a document which was then signed by him in April. This document gave the impression that it was written in February when the work actually commenced.

 

At the beach itself a wall has now been built to protect the people living there from the high tides that are common at this time of year. Rocks have also been placed at one end to stop the sea from flooding around the wall, the work on the footpath is still going on, obviously this is being done as to leave it, it would become a safety concern.

 

It now remains to be seen if Hernandez had accepted any form of inducement to allow this to happen, if so this story will get much bigger. As more news comes in it will be published here.

 

Link to the Spanish press which ran the story.

 

http://maspalomasahora.com/not/38772/la-fiscalia-se-querella-contra-el-exjefe-de-costas-que-autorizo-la-construccion-de-la-playa-anfi-tauro/

 

My Thoughts Today: End of September

The end of another month is upon us, it started with the announcement of a new company and website based in Scotland called Timeshare Solutions Group. This company was registered only in June, with the website registered in February, there was very little information as to who they are or which law firms they were working with. The service they provide is timeshare claims and disposal, citing the Spanish Supreme Court rulings which have made some contracts illegal. It is still not clear if they are linked to the Tenerife based Solutions Group, which have been around for several years.

 

Another story to hit the news this month once again involved the Anfi Group, it was announced the Lyng family had sold their 50% share of Anfi to the construction and hotel group Lopesan IFA. It was reported that Lopesan paid 41.3 million euros, which does seem to be a bit of a bargain. There again, with the woes that Anfi are going through, is it surprising? There is the investigation into irregularities in licences and permissions granted for the Tauro Beach project, which is being conducted by SEPRONA, a branch of the Guardia Civil. Then we have all the Supreme Court rulings which are costing Anfi a fortune in claims. These stories are not over yet and we wait for more to be revealed.

seprona

 

 

 

 

 

 

September has also been very much an American month, with articles by Irene Parker being published. These articles show what is happening across the great lake (or the pond as our American cousins call it), starting with the Letter from America: News From Across the Great Lake. In this article Irene sent an open letter to Stephen J Cloobeck of Diamond, it was her response to his letter to members on the Apollo acquisition.

 

This was then followed by the article on resale and transfer, it included an article from Tom Tubbs, who is on the advisory board of the National Timeshare Owners Association. It highlighted a subject which timeshare owners in Europe have also experienced, that of rogue resale and transfer companies. It also explained how this operates in the US, with a new company called Timeshare Transfer Registry, they keep a check on who and what companies the timeshares are being transferred to. But as he says the “scam” still goes on.

 

In More News From Across the Pond, we published a piece highlighting the Fox News programme The Property Man: Bob Massi. He is a Las Vegas attorney with a reputation as a determined advocate of consumer rights. This was followed by an article with an update to the real estate regulations in the US.

property-man

 

 

 

 

Then there was the visit of Irene Parker and her Husband, Inside Timeshare had the pleasure of playing host to their visit. For Irene it was her first time on the island and was very much a fact finding mission for her future articles. We spent much time comparing notes and learning from each other the problems that many owners have on both side of the Atlantic.

 

During her visit, Irene met the lawyers and staff of Canarian Legal Alliance, which she has followed from the US. While meeting with one of the lawyers Cristina Batista, she was able to get the history of the Supreme Court Rulings and how it is affecting timeshare in Spain. From there she then met with the staff at the admin office who look after the clients. As she said to Inside Timeshare it was an eye opener, stating that on her return she would share what she had learnt with other colleagues battling to help owners.

2016-09-23-15-57-03

It was was not all work, and we all enjoyed several evenings with good food and company. Her last day was a trip to El Faro de Maspalomas, for a little shopping and to see for herself the Lopesan hotels. This ended with a superb lunch at a beach side restaurant. We will be publishing her articles as they appear.

 

Other articles published this month included a warning of a text message to Diamond owners. This informed them of the Supreme Court rulings, but it is not clear where they originate from, the telephone number is an untraceable “burnt” phone, linked to a facebook page with no details.

 

There was also more news from the Supreme Court with an incredible sum being awarded to one UK client. In this judgement the court stated that fractional ownership did indeed come under the timeshare regulations, it awarded £235,542 against Puerto Calma Holiday Club Finland. More announcements followed with a ruling against Palm Oasis Tasolan SL and a ruling against Silverpoint in Tenerife.

 

After an enquiry about the RDO, we published the article The RDO: Does it Protect Consumers? This article laid out what the RDO is and who it actually serves, it is a subject that has been covered in previous articles. But it is always good to republish, especially in the light of recent events.

 

So that is September, we wait with baited breath for the events to unfold during October. With all that is going on it should be an interesting month.

 

If you require any information about any article published, contact Inside Timeshare and we will find you the answer. Have a good October.

Latest News: Massive Victory for CLA Clients.

It has just been announced the Supreme Court has made a significant ruling against Puerto Calma, Holiday Club Finland.

 

Clients of the law firm Canarian Legal Alliance have been awarded a staggering £235,542 plus interest and legal fees. The contract was also declared null and void.

 

According to CLA, their clients knew they were purchasing a timeshare, but Puerto Calma tried to disguise this by stating they were buying a share of the property. This is commonly known as Fractional ownership, which apparently comes under timeshare law not real estate. The contract was signed before a notary in order to improve credibility, but the Supreme Court has stated that this is timeshare and therefore comes under the timeshare laws as laid out in Spain.

 

This will have a significant impact on other timeshare companies who sell Fractional ownership. In fact the First National Trust Company, who are the trustees for the Club la Costa Fractional Property Owners Club, did state in 2012 that Fractional should not be sold as an investment, which would suggest that even they believe it comes under timeshare laws. This ruling would seem to verify that position. (see following links)

 

http://insidetimeshare.com/fractional-what-is-it/

 

http://clcmembers.blogspot.com.es/

 

It was also announces on 19 September, that CLA had a victory at the High Court No3 in Tenerife against Silverpoint / Resort Properties. Their client this time was awarded £16,722 plus legal interest with the contract being declared null and void.

 

In this case the court followed the rulings of earlier Supreme Court decisions that contracts in perpetuity are illegal. Again this show the significance of the influence the Supreme Court is having on the lower courts.

 

So it would seem that Canarian Legal Alliance is going from strength to strength, achieving victories on an almost daily basis. The tenacity of the lawyers is certainly paying off, So congratulations the legal team and their respective clients.

champagne

If you require any information regarding this or any timeshare matter, please contact Inside Timeshare and we will point you in the right direction.

CLA Supreme court success against Puerto Calma ( Holiday Club )

 

Lopesan Buys Lyngs Anfi Share Update.

Yesterday Inside Timeshare published the news that Ragnar Lyng had sold his 50% share of Anfi to Lopesan. Gran Canaria Info, an online news and information site also published the story, they also asked one question, why so cheap?

 

Thinking about this, 41 million euros is a rather low price for the Anfi resort, even if it is only a 50% share. One has to ask is it because Mr Lyng just wanted out due to all the problems he and Anfi are having?

 

You do have to wonder at this, after all it is one of the largest timeshare concerns in Spain, and definitely the largest in the Canaries. It consists of 1000 apartments, over 30,000 members, a marina, 2 golf courses and a huge commercial center. Then there are the plans for the new beach and marina at Tauro, which will also include a new shopping center and new hotels which will have around 5000 to 7000 beds.

 

We know the Cazorla side have the controlling share, with Santana Cazorla having control of the board of directors. Somehow I cannot see Lopesan putting up with that situation, there must be something else in the pipeline. We also know from other news reports that Santana Cazorla has “retired” to Morocco, all this under the cloud of the investigations into Tauro Beach, with a senior official being dismissed along with others who must now be fearful of the same as well as being under threat of prosecution.

 

It is also known there was no environmental study carried out on the project, which means we do not know what impact the 70,000 tonnes of untreated Saharan sand would have. The fact this beach project is also only 300 meters from a special area of conservation, should have been a major point of having full and detailed environmental reports. All this has come out because of the investigation instigated by the Guardia Civil into the project, for the Guardia to be involved it must be extremely serious.

 

Then we have the residents of Tauro Beach, it was only in August that many of the homes were flooded. These floods are a direct result of the man made beach, the natural protection from high tides was removed, thereby allowing the sea to just wash over the beach and cause mayhem. These residents have also made official complaints to the Guardia Civil, adding even more pressure on the beleaguered Anfi Group.

 

This is a story that will not be going away for some time, again the question must be asked, how is all this going to affect those 30,000 members of Anfi? After all even without the developments of the past month, Anfi have been severely battered in the courts, with 17 Supreme Court rulings made against them on behalf of clients represented by Canarian Legal Alliance. So we now wait for the next chapter in this story.

 

If you have any questions or concerns about this or any other timeshare matter, contact Inside Timeshare and we will try to answer them. If we don´t know we will find out for you.

 

http://www.gran-canaria-info.com/news/what-on-earth-is-going-on-at-anfi-del-mar

 

http://www.gran-canaria-info.com/news/what-on-earth-is-going-on-at-tauro-beach

 

http://insidetimeshare.com/irregularities-anfi-tauro-beach-project/

 

http://insidetimeshare.com/great-anfi-battle-partners/

 

More News From Across The Pond: Bob Massi The Property Man

Following on from some of the articles highlighting the problems timeshare owners have in the United States, Irene Parker sent Inside Timeshare the following link:

 

http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2016/06/09/tired-your-timeshare-heres-how-to-unload-it-without-losing-money/

 

Bob Massi is a Las Vegas attorney known as The Property Man hosting a show aired by Fox News, who is a very determined advocate of the rights of consumers. In one case Irene points out a couple he helped resolve the issue of their bankruptcy, it took them five years to attempt to buy a house, then they found that the bank had not foreclosed in the first place.

 

He has also highlighted the problems in the timeshare world and as you can see from the video, gives the consumer some sound advice. He points out that unlike real estate, timeshare does not appreciate in value, that many owners if they are able to sell, only recoup a fraction of their original investment.

fox-news

So this is not just a problem we have in Europe, it affects timeshare owners in the US. In his article, he points out how to sell the timeshare or how to just get out, in the interviews with licenced resale brokers they explain how to safeguard yourself from the “scam artists” that promise the earth and deliver nothing. He also explains how one particular scam works, this is where you have listed your timeshare for sale on a marketing website, the next thing you know, a bogus company is in contact with you saying they have a buyer. (Think of the corporate buyer pitch or even the Russian market one, we have many buyers waiting!). Now in order to conclude this “deal” a closing fee is required upfront, guess what? You never hear from them again.

 

According to the video, timeshare is in the top 10 of scams in the US, this is probably the same for Europe. He also interviews the Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, in this she states they worked with the timeshare industry to enact laws to curb this abuse. She points out that since the laws were put into place they have closed down numerous firms, around 41, in many cases they have also secured convictions.

 

In the US, as we have highlighted before timeshare is regulated by real estate laws, sales staff must be licensed, if not they can’t sell the product. For those in Europe who own timeshares across the pond, the problem of how to get out is even more difficult, mainly because of the differing state laws and the distance involved. There are some companies in Europe who can help to get out of the timeshare, but if you are looking to sell, this article will help. You could also contact The Licensed Timeshare Resale Broker Association, (see link at bottom of the page), it consists of 64 members and works completely within the legal framework, all members must adhere to regulations and the codes of conduct set out by the association. But remember, as stated in the video many timeshares sell for only 10% of the original purchase price, contrary to what you were told at the initial presentation.

ltrba

Irene and her husband have also recorded an interview with Bob Massi, it is hoped that this will be broadcast in the Autumn (fall in American), when it is we will publish the links here. We also look forward to more articles in The Street by Irene, including one she is working on now.

The following link is an article about Bob Massi, it gives a very good insight into the man himself, the type of work he engages in and what it means to him, Hope you enjoy it.

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/business/longtime-lawyer-sees-himself-advocate-underdogs

 

If you require any further information about this article, or any timeshare matter, contact Inside Timeshare. If we don´t know the answer we will find out for you.

My Thoughts for Today: End of August.

So here we are, the end of August and what a month it has been, we ended July with the breaking news about the Anfi Beach Project at Tauro. It was announced the Guardia Civil Nature Protection Service (SEPRONA) had begun an investigation into irregularities in the permissions that were granted.

Playa-Anfi-Tauro-Canarias-Ahora_EDIIMA20160716_0223_18

This resulted in the dismissal of the head of the Coastal Authority, it appears the investigation which is ongoing may result in more dismissals and may even end in charges being brought. Inside Timeshare has been following the case as more information came to light, on 1 August Ben Magec of Ecologists in Action called for “the immediate shutdown and sealing” of the project, pointing out that it was having a detrimental effect on the nearby Special Area of Conservation.

 

Then on 5 August, Inside Timeshare published the story about the floods that occurred the day before, posting a video made by one of the local residents. At the time the flooding occurred it was a high tide, this would not have been a problem when the beach was in its original state. The rocks and pebble beach which was much higher than the sand beach, created a natural defence, with the rocks breaking up the waves. Without this natural defence the sea just rolled over the beach, flooding several homes.

 

August 8th, we published further videos of the flooding and photographs of some of the damage caused to homes of the local residents. The Bomberos (fire brigade) spent considerable time helping to pump out the water from these homes, but damage to many appliances such as fridges and washing machines was considerable. The local population then made denuncias (official complaints) to the Guardia Civil, who are now investigating. One comment from a resident was who was going to pay for the damage, they also felt they were being ignored that they were “desperate, nobody pays attention to us”.

CLA Logo

On 9 August it was announced that Canarian Legal Alliance had just won their 18th Supreme Court Victory, this took the rulings by the Supreme Court against Anfi to an incredible 17. In this particular case the court awarded over 45,000€ plus interest and legal fees to the client. Again the court stated that contracts over 50 years, floating weeks and taking deposits within the 14 day cooling off period illegal. So another happy client of Canarian Legal Alliance.

 

Then on 15 August another win for a client of CLA, this time at the High Court in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. A staggering 66,907€ plus interest and legal fees were awarded to the client, also their contract was declared null & void. The High Court cited the Supreme Court rulings in making this judgement, showing that the judgements from Madrid are having a profound effect on how the lower courts rule.

 

The following day we published an article on the argument that is raging between TESS (Timeshare Exits & Support Services) and the Monster Travel Group. It highlighted two articles published on the TESS website on the same day, in this Tess pulled no punches in the accusations laid against Monster Travel. It also made a scathing attack on the sales staff, particularly what TESS called the “Taylor Twins”, again TESS pulled no punches.

eldiario

Then it was published in the Spanish press that the boss at Anfi (one of the part owners) Santana Cazorla was moving to Morocco for “retirement”. El Diario headlined it as Santana Cazorla se refugia en Marruecos” or Santana Cazorla takes refuge in Morocco. Inside Timeshare published this story on 17 August, in the article the questions asked are what had prompted this news. One only has to see the problems of Anfi with the court cases being brought by their members, then to cap it all the accusations and investigation into the Tauro Beach Project.

 

Just to move away from Anfi for once, Diamond Resorts announced that they had sold off their interests at the Garden Lago resort in Mallorca. The ONA Group now run Garden Lago, they also have interests at the  Cala de Mar and Cala Pi resorts, also in Mallorca. It also highlighted one member who bought because they loved it there, now Diamond have no interests there, the only way for them to use the points they own is to use them on exchange, or book direct with the resort. With this last option they would have to pay the going rate as their points would not be used.

 

19 August, CLA announced another victory at the High Court in Las Palmas, the British couple Mr & Mrs Hammond had their contract declared null & void. They were also awarded a full refund including interest and legal fees, it was not stated how much this was.

 

So in all, August has turned into quite an eventful month, it remains to be seen what September will bring.

 

If you have any questions relating to any of these articles please contact Inside Timeshare and we will do our best to answer them. It only remains for me to say have a great bank holiday weekend and I hope the weather is just as good for you to get the BBQ´s out.

bbq man