Browse Month

March 2021

Cazorla Group Declared Bankrupt by Court

This article was published briefly on Monday but had to be withdrawn to verify some details, last week news was published that Hermanos Santana Cazorla, (HSC) which is part of the Cazorla Group, has been declared bankrupt. This news comes as no surprise as Inside Timeshare has published on many occasions the precarious state of their finances. But now it is official, what does this mean for Anfi?

The news was made public last Thursday and follows a court order from the Mercantile Court of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on 22 March.

The court has deemed it a “necessary bankruptcy” after responding to a request presented by one of their creditors Isla Marina SL. The judge also agreed that the current administrative body of Hermanos Santana Cazorla “is suspended in its powers of administration and disposition of its assets, being replaced in the exercise of those by the bankruptcy administration.”

The Mercantile (Commercial) Court of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

The judge has suspended the following companies which are all part of the Cazorla Group:

The judgement will be published shortly in the Official State Gazette with it also being recorded in the Mercantile Registry.

There is a right of appeal against the decision and may be brought before the Provincial Court, but it is unlikely that the suspensions will be lifted, also the costs of the proceedings have been imposed on Hermanos Santana Cazorla.

The judge’s twenty-page report, detailed the precarious financial situation of Hermanos Santana Cazorla. It also points out that the company has a “negative working capital” of more than 78 million euros, “making it impossible for HSC to meet all its short-term obligations”.

Good or Bad News for Anfi Owners?

The controlling company and shareholder of Anfi is in fact Grupo Santana Cazorla SL, this company has a 10% ownership of Hermanos Santana Cazorla SL which does not have any relationship with Anfi. They are in essence two different companies.

Therefore the liquidation of Hermanos Santana Cazorla SL and the other companies involved has no impact on the Anfi Group.

How this will affect Grupo Santana Cazorla in the future is not known but it does look as though IFA Lopesan is in a much stronger position to take total control of Anfi, which in some respects may be a much better option for the resort. The only question now is whether IFA Lopesan will continue with the timeshare model. They have always stated that they have no real interest in this type of business and have always concentrated on high-end hotels.

For those with the floating weeks and points systems, this may just be the beginning of them losing their membership. After all, they do not own anything other than the right to use subject to availability, they are members of a vacation club despite what they may have been told by the sales staff when they purchased. So it would be quite easy for any new majority shareholder or complete owner to just close down the vacation club if it does not meet with their own commercial model.

Things may just be a little bit different for those who still own fixed weeks and apartments, as this is a totally different system. Those weeks and apartments should be registered with the land registry, not as many are led to believe as “property”, but as a safeguard to the selling of the same week and apartments to multiple owners, (as in points and floating weeks). With this system, which is the original timeshare model, the “owner” is guaranteed their week and apartment. How IFA Lopesan views this particular model and how they would treat these owners is at present unclear.

This news and the continuous cases that Anfi are losing in all the courts along with the Provincial State Prosecutors Office investigation into the illegal movement of funds among other things, certainly does make Cazorla’s ownership and control of the board of Anfi untenable.

At present this does not affect any claims against Anfi, these are against separate companies only 50% owned and controlled by the Cazorla’s.

Canarias7 article

https://www.canarias7.es/economia/empresas/juzgado-declara-concurso-20210325163321-nt.html?fbclid=IwAR36RgEmRi38E6DS6LJBSIUqpY5sIYaaevIxonsjlAl8D2xFPE-ZL0zQQiM

English Translation

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=es&tl=en&u=https://www.canarias7.es/economia/empresas/juzgado-declara-concurso-20210325163321-nt.html?fbclid%3DIwAR36RgEmRi38E6DS6LJBSIUqpY5sIYaaevIxonsjlAl8D2xFPE-ZL0zQQiM

Danish Translation

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=es&tl=da&u=https://www.canarias7.es/economia/empresas/juzgado-declara-concurso-20210325163321-nt.html?fbclid%3DIwAR36RgEmRi38E6DS6LJBSIUqpY5sIYaaevIxonsjlAl8D2xFPE-ZL0zQQiM

Dutch

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Finnish

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German

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Norwegian

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Swedish

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If you are an Anfi member and would like to know your legal rights and options to have your contract legally declared null and void along with the return of your full purchase price, please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.

The Tuesday Slot: Marriott and the Spanish Courts

Welcome to this edition of Inside Timeshare, today we have a look at Marriott and the continued litigation they are facing over their sale of illegal contracts under Spanish Timeshare Law. These cases have appeared on our pages over the past couple of years with Marriott losing in every one of them. The latest being published on 16 March, this case was also one in which not only Marriott appealed to the High Court but also the lawyers on behalf of the clients.

Back in 2018, Marriott admitted they were losing in the Spanish Courts, this was made public in a report published by Market Exclusive, (see links below). As a public company, Marriott has a legal obligation to publish and inform their shareholders of information regarding the company, its profit and losses and any risks that they foresee in the future.

One of these risks is of course all the court cases which they are being subjected to in the Spanish Courts. Like all the other timeshare developers, Marriott continued to sell their timeshare product as they did before the new laws to protect consumers came into force in January 1999. A move that all the timeshare companies are now having to address in the courts.

In the latest report to shareholders, Marriott has once again addressed this point, under the heading of Risk Factors and the heading:

“Spanish court rulings invalidating timeshare contracts have increased our exposure to litigation and such litigation may materially adversely affect our business and financial condition.”

It goes on to say:

“These rulings have invalidated timeshare contracts entered into after January 1999 related to certain resorts in Spain if the timeshare structure of those resorts did not meet the requirements prescribed by Spanish timeshare laws enacted in 1998”.

Although they acknowledge the fact, they still believe that the laws as being interpreted and ruled on by the Spanish Supreme Court are wrong. The next part of the above states:

“Even if the structure was lawful prior to 1998 and adapted to the 1998 laws pursuant to mechanisms specified in the 1998 laws”.

For those of you who are confused by this, it is actually very simple, when the new laws on the sale of timeshare and the protection of consumers came into force, it was for all timeshare contracts sold after 5 January 1999, not those sold before. There was what was known as a “deed of adaptation”, this basically meant that contracts sold before this date were lawful and legal. After all, you cannot legislate and prosecute for something which was done before a law came into force.

The problem with the “deed of adaptation” and Marriott was not the only developer to do this, they all believed that it also covered all timeshare contracts as the resorts were built and running before the law changed. This they believed would allow for the same contracts to be sold and since then they have been. Unfortunately for them, the tide has turned, as a result of cases being brought to court and especially those cases taken to the Supreme Court by Canarian Legal Alliance, that loophole has been closed.

Securities Exchange Commission Headquarters

Returning to the Marriott report which has also been submitted as required by law and published by the Securities Exchange Commission, It is clear that Marriott still disagrees with the law in Spain. They acknowledge that there has been a significant increase in the number of lawsuits being brought by members of these Spanish timeshares, they have also inferred that it may have a detrimental effect on their business:

“If additional owners at our resorts in Spain file similar lawsuits, this may result in the invalidation of those owners’ timeshare contracts entered into after January 1999; cause us to incur material litigation and other costs, including judgement or settling of payments; and materially adversely affect the results of operation of our Vacation Ownership segment, as well as our business and financial condition”.

In other words, they know it is going to cost them dearly and they must acknowledge this fact to the shareholders. After all, it is their “profit” that is at stake!

The report also goes to say that it is affecting other timeshare developers as well, pointing out that this may also lead to the reduction of the number of timeshare resorts located in Spain which also means less inventory for companies such as Interval International.

They finish this segment of the report with a very telling statement, publicly announcing that they and other developers disagree with the laws enacted in Spain. They go on to say:

“Participants in the vacation ownership industry disagree with these rulings and are seeking to introduce legislation that will implement a more balanced approach”.

A more balanced approach, hang on a minute, have they not had over 20 years to conform to the law, yet continued to act as before believing they were untouchable and above the law?

The one true point they did state after that sentence was:

“However, this new legislation may not be enacted”.

Now considering the history of timeshare sales in Spain, very few believe that the timeshare industry will have any sway on changing the legislation to be in their favour.

Spanish Supreme Court, 130 Rulings on Timeshare Law

They conclude this segment of the report with:

“The timeshare laws, regulations and policies in Spain may continue to change or be subject to different interpretations in the future, including in ways that could negatively impact our business”.

Well, I very much doubt if the 130 rulings of the Supreme Court on timeshare, thereby setting the law in place are going to change in their favour. At least they have acknowledged the fact to their shareholders that it is likely to have a negative impact on their business in Spain.

It should also be pointed out that although Marriott has admitted losing in the Spanish Courts, they do appear to be denying the fact that they are losing in every single case, including appeals to the High Court.

The last case we highlighted was on 16 March, in this case, a German Client of Canarian Legal Alliance won his case in the Court of First Instance, this contract contained the “floating weeks” system. Marriott decided they would appeal the ruling from the Court of First Instance to challenge the illegality of floating weeks.

Canarian Legal Alliance immediately launched their own counter appeal, this was a result of the judge in the original trial not acknowledging the illegal taking of deposits within the statutory cooling-off period. Any amount taken within this period is to be paid back in double, the court, in this case, failed to do so.

These points have been consistently ruled upon by the Supreme Court making this system along with points illegal in timeshare contracts and the repayment in double of any illegally taken payment.

The High Court dismissed the appeal from Marriott and confirmed that floating weeks are illegal under Spanish Timeshare Law and in accordance with the rulings of the Supreme Court. The High Court did however find in favour of the Canarian Legal Alliance appeal and ordered the repayment of the deposit taken in double.

The CLA Team who conducted the Marriot Case

It is also very interesting that although Marriott lodged the appeal with the High Court, they did however voluntarily pay over 48,000€ into the court as ordered by the Court of First Instance. So we do have to ask the question: If they paid the court-ordered amount as instructed, why did they go through with the appeal, especially as all other appeals have been dismissed and the original sentences confirmed?

Your guess is as good as mine, we really do not have an answer to this.

If you would like further information on your timeshare contract and if it is illegal under Law 42/98, please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.

The original article from July 2018 and the Market Exclusive report

https://insidetimeshare.com/marriott-admit-losing-in-spanish-courts

https://marketexclusive.com/marriott-vacations-worldwide-corporation-nysevac-files-an-8-k-other-events-4/2018/07/amp/

In the latest report, under Risk factors, you will find the report from Marriott to the SEC

Marriott Vacations Worldwide ( Ticker VAC ) 2020 Annual Report 10-K filing to the SEC

https://sec.report/Document/0001524358-21-000016/#id1da7f0ca32846b8a5982ab97cfc05df_19

The full report from Marriott, the relevant section is on page 28.

Extract from page 28.

Translations

Danish

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Dutch

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Finnish

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German

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Norwegian

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Swedish

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Start the Week: MacDonald Resorts Makes an Offer and News from the Courts

Welcome to the start of another week with Inside Timeshare, the original article which was published this morning on the “Bankruptcy” of the Cazorla Group, has had to be removed temporarily, the reason is we have received some information that needs to be added along with some points which need to be clarified. This article will be published in full in due course.

Last Friday, the BBC Radio 4 program You and Yours were supposed to broadcast the story of our reader and their problems with MacDonald Resorts. At the last minute, our reader was contacted by MacDonalds who made an offer. So the BBC decided not to broadcast the item.

Our reader has since been in contact with Inside Timeshare and we are pleased to report that the offer made was satisfactory, he is very pleased with the outcome and has now come to an agreement. The case is now concluded and closed.

We do hope that MacDonald Resorts take a very long hard look at their policies and how they treat their members, it would save MacDonalds a great deal of adverse publicity and improve their credibility. Times have changed, members are no longer going to put up with how timeshare companies treat them, they need to change and change quickly.

Last week was a rather difficult week in the courts for the timeshare industry, with yet another Club la Costa case being found in favour of the client. Again CLC tried to appeal the decision of the court to accept the case, citing the contract was subject to UK law and UK jurisdiction.

This move was rejected and the Court of First Instance of Fuengirola found against CLC, declaring the contract null and void with the return of over 45,000€ plus legal interest and legal costs.

In the High Court Number 5 of Las Palmas, Anfi had yet another appeal dismissed with the original sentence of the Court of First Instance being confirmed.

The High Court also confirmed the counter appeal by lawyers representing the client that the Court of First Instance did not take into account the illegal taking of deposits within the statutory cooling-off period. The High Court duly applied the double payment of these deposits increasing the original award by over 20,000€ bringing the total to around 48,000€ Plus legal interest and legal costs. The contract was also declared null and void.

Then on Friday afternoon, another case against Anfi was announced by the Court of First Instance of San Bartelóme de Tirajana. The client’s contract was declared null and void with the court awarding a massive 185,241€ plus legal Interest and legal costs. No doubt Anfi will launch yet another appeal to the High Court, just to be awkward and cause the client as much stress as possible.

Again the clients were represented by the lawyers of Canarian Legal Alliance, who will continue to represent them throughout all stages of the case including any appeals they make.

That is all for today, if you have any questions or comments, please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.