Today’s Tuesday Slot is from Chantal Desjardins with the introduction and editing by Irene Parker, looks at the recent elections at Embarc (Club Intrawest) HOA board of directors. As you will see from this article it does not appear to be very fair. This is something we have seen in various elections at timeshare resorts in Europe over the years, so it is nothing new. In fact back in 2016 Inside Timeshare published the following article “Manipulation of votes by resorts and resort owners”. (see link below)
Now for Chantals article.
Embarc (Intrawest) Diamond Resorts 2018 Election of Directors
Five times more members voting for me than closest rival –
Gives me a third place finish!
James Orr (incumbent) 421
Robert Reyes 361
Chantal Desjardines 2293
And the winner is…..! James Orr and Robert Reyes?
By Chantal Desjardins
June 26, 2018
Introduction by Irene Parker
Diamond Embarc members (formerly Intrawest) had the deck stacked against them in the recent Embarc HOA board elections, due to weighted votes in favor of the developer. Diamond didn’t set it up that way though – Intrawest did in 1994 when they set up Club Intrawest incorporated in Delaware. Weighted voting provides a stranglehold on the club’s management & governance despite retaining less than 4% of the points.
If you check master declaration and bylaws for timeshares, often the cards are stacked in favor of the corporations retaining control of their boards through weighted voting on declarant points, all while pretending the individual members can influence an election by casting their “vote” in board elections.
When Intrawest researched timeshare governance and operating structure dating back to the early 90s, their governance structure was modeled after Disney Vacation Club, including the weighted votes for the declarant. Many points-based timeshares, especially large corporate ones, operate with very similar rules. Many members don’t realize this. Many pay no attention or don’t care. The member sponsored Club Intrawest Facebook has over 4,000 members. Voter turnout and support for Chantal was extraordinary as the numbers show, but she finished third.
This is legal – yes, but fair, ethical and moral – no, in the opinion of many timeshare members.
Chantal Desjardins’ comments about the election
Five times more members voting for me than closest rival gives me a third place finish!
How is that fair, you may ask? Well, it isn’t! This election was once again only “window-dressing” on the part of Diamond Resorts to make it appear that members have a say in the running of their clubs.
Nonetheless, Club Intrawest Owners Group members – THANK YOU!
Although I did not get a position on the Embarc Board in this election, the result, given the unfairness of the “weighted” votes, is excellent! Thank you for voting as a block, for not splitting your votes! Because of this, it is readily evident to anyone looking at the results that the candidate who obtained by far and away the most member votes, came in third.
Over 5 times more members voted for me than for the closest “incumbent”, James Orr. Over 6 times more members voted for me than for the second “incumbent” Robert Reyes. Over 3 times more members voted for me than for both incumbents together. In fact, 25% more members voted for me than all 7 other candidates added together.
And yet – James Orr and Robert Reyes are once again Embarc board members for another 3 years!
Although it is said nowhere in the run-up to the election, the declarant, the entity that “holds” DRI points as a member, has 15 times the voting power per point than that of individual members. They are very careful not to state this fact in the emails sent concerning the election – both before AND after. They are very careful to make it appear that members, who have the vast majority of the points, will have a chance to get their candidate onto the board. This is one of the most misunderstood aspects of Embarc membership. Even as they vote, are engaged, most members don’t understand that when the Declarant (DRI) votes, our member votes are made virtually worthless.
When one breaks down the numbers given in the pre-election emails as well as the results, the chart of the “count/weight” looks like this:
Once we all understand how this all “works”, it becomes evident and imperative that members must join forces to oblige DRI to give us what is our due – the number of board members that correspond to our points owned.
We need to increase our voting power so that it is at least half that of the Declarant (DRI).
Why do we only need half + 1?
Because when the board has elections for incumbent positions, we can cast all our votes (2 positions = double the votes) for 1 person, while they must put half of their total entitlement on each.
How do we do this?
- By each of us doing our part by recruiting members into our group each time we go to a club
- By pushing back against the unfair governance of our clubs by email, FB posts and raising awareness of the issues
- By voting as a block each time we are called upon to vote
- By demanding that elections information be posted on the Embarc member site, on the Embarc member Facebook pages, at the Clubs! DRI suppresses votes by only sending the information by email or nondescript postcard. It is a proven fact that emails from organisations have an “open rate” of less than 30% on average. Using only emails (and the undistinguished postal card) to announce elections, effectively allows DRI to suppress the vote while claiming to have done their duty.
- By joining the new not-for-profit Embarc Owners Association when it is launched and consolidating our power.
- By growing our numbers in the coming years, we can beat DRI at the election polls – and once we’ve done it the first time, we can do it again the following year – meaning that we CAN have 3 members on the Embarc board representing member interests.
What is the cost involved? Almost nothing! With a tangible result that doesn’t involve court costs and years of litigation!
That’s why I’m not disappointed in this year’s election results
I’m thrilled with our member engagement.
We WILL overcome – time and determination will allow us to achieve our goals.
Thank you all!
Embarc election results are posted at the end of the article.
An update on Diamond’s Flamingo Beach Resort elections in St. Maarten
Diamond owns 72% of all the weeks at the Flamingo Resort and only one seat from the outside (that is not a Diamond employee) is elected each year. So the incumbent endorsed by the board won easily. There was discussion about adding a second seat and the board took this under consideration for future discussion.
Deeded owner Greg Guisti ran for the Flamingo Beach Resort board election held April 19, 2018 in St. Maarten. To paraphrase Greg’s explanation as to why a board should consist of member representations, “Timeshare members and owners have an expectation of what a good timeshare should be. Members are entitled to good communication and feedback, and that communication should include the voice of an actual owner or member.”
With the internet flooded with complaints directed against some timeshare companies, more than ever timeshare members need a more member friendly board to serve as a pipeline for communication.
Embarc 2018 Election Results
Thank you Chantal and Irene, it does make you wonder how the voting works, to get that number of votes and only come in third!
Had that been an election for government there would have been a very loud cry of “FIX” from the press and media. So the question is what happened?
I guess we can only read into it what we want because somehow I don’t think we are going to get any straight answers from the industry.
If you have any comments or questions on this subject or have had a similar experience either in the US or Europe, then use our contact page and let us know. Inside Timeshare is committed to informing all timeshare owners and vacation club members of what is actually going on, it may not please the developers or the industry, but who actually cares if they get upset!