Lynch begins first explains that the company EOHL (Excel Overseas Holdings Ltd) was placed into provisional liquidation on 26 March 2019, this a was put before the High Court of Justice of the British Virgin Islands (Commercial Division). He explains that the application has been brought by a company called Landcastle Holdings Ltd, which as it turns out is a majority shareholder of EOHL.
Lynch then report on the hearing of 13 May 2018 before the BVI Court in order to bring the application to a final hearing. At this hearing, Landcastle Holdings argued that the application should be dealt with in the same way as other similar applications. They were seeking the appointment of liquidators for the benefit of creditors and hoped that the final hearing would be held within 6 to 8 weeks.
This was opposed by another company called Landcastle Capital Ltd who are registered as minority shareholders of EOHL.
Although these two companies have similar names they are in fact separate entities independent of each other and separately owned and managed.
Landcastle Capital is owned by a gentleman in New York who is attempting to block the liquidations.Landcastle Holdings working on information they have available are of the view that this individual is primarily responsible for the issues facing EOHL. This also includes all the problems now facing those “Investors” of the ELPP.
So what do we deduce from this?
It looks like that this is a dispute between the shareholders of EHOL, this means that both parties should be required to lodge their pleadings in full detail on their respective positions of the dispute.
The BVI Court ordered that pleading did need to be filed in the application so they may determine the claim.
Landcastle Holdings filed and served their statement of the claim on 21 June 2019, Landcastle Capitol has until 19 July (tomorrow) to file and serve their defence.
With the BVI Court’s decision the application will not be a speedy one as was initially hoped, it is believed that the application is not going to be heard until late 2020 or even early in 2021.
The Joint Provisional Liquidators have now taken control of companies which are below EOHL within the corporate group, they are believed to be taking steps to protect and maintain the value of all the assets. Lynch states that the JPL’s“are working diligently to ensure the best possible outcome for EOHL creditors, principally being the ELPP Investment investors”.
Apparently, Landcastle Holdings is continuing to seek the appointment of liquidators to EOHL.
If any of the assets of EHOL be realised then any money collected from those assets will be held in the estate of EHOL purely for the benefit of creditors and to cover any ongoing costs. This will also include costs for the provisional liquidation and any future liquidation. It is not yet know how the distribution to creditors will pan out.
Lynch ends his letter with “the JPL’s will continue to take all necessary steps to protect and maintain the value of EHOL assets. They will also continue to provide creditors with updates on any relevant developments”.
This along with all the other articles Inside Timeshare has published on the tangled web of companies of which Silverpoint is part of, is going to be a very long-running and complicated story. It is one that Inside Timeshare will be following very very closely, so watch this space.
Over the past few weeks Inside Timeshare has been running a series of articles regarding the troubles around Silverpoint and associated companies. We began with a series of articles in six parts on the truth behind Silverpoint this can be found in the link below. As a result, Inside Timeshare has been receiving many enquiries on this but also many many more from members who have been told their bookings will not be honoured.
Our readers have also been sending letters to Inside Timeshare from Excel Hotels & Resorts SA and also from Club Paradiso Ltd outlining their reasons behind all of this. We begin first with the letter one reader was given by Excel while actually on holiday.
The result is that any member who has booked through Signallia to stay at any of the resorts managed by Excel has after that date will not be honoured. They do however say that they did honour some of the bookings to “prevent disruption” being caused to members.
It also transpires that Signallia continued to market the products even after the termination of the agreement without the consent of Excel. Therefore none of these reservations will be honoured at any of the resorts.
The letter also goes on to say that Excel never received any payments collected by Excel and that they are not liable for any sums paid. Now considering that all these companies are interlinked via the parent company which was owned by the late Bob Trotta does make this look very suspicious indeed.
The letter which is unsigned but carries the Excel stamp ends with Excel informing clients that they are informing the relevant police authority, in other words, they are denouncing one of their own companies!
Several other readers have also sent us a letter amounting to 4 pages, with the last 2 being Frequently Asked Questions, from Club Paradiso Ltd another British Virgin Islands company and signed by Alex Lawson who we know is working on behalf of the Trotta family with his company Alvarez & Marsal to liquidate assets to save the Trotta family fortune. (See the link at the start)
The letter dated 12 July 2019 begins with advising members that on 14 May 2019 he was appointed as a director of the company, with the former sole director resigning with effect from 30 May 2019. This now makes Lawson the sole director of Club Paradiso Ltd.
He explains that since his appointment it has become apparent that Club Paradiso is facing a “number of significant issues”, we know and so do all the members who are contacting Inside Timeshare!
He goes on to complain that not all the company’s books, records and documents have been made available to him, it appears that he is unable to do his job because of this. Now the question is what actually is his job?
We know he has been appointed “administrator” of several other Trotta companies including Keys Concierge which we know has also closed down. He is also the administrator dealing with the liquidations of two BVI companies, Limora Investments Ltd the parent company to all the others and also Excel Overseas Holdings Ltd. We also know that a new company by the name of Excel Overseas Holdings is based in Dubai. So we can assume that his job is either to revamp the “Club” or “liquidate it”, we actually believe it is the latter given what his company does.
This letter also goes on to explain under previous management Club Paradiso failed to pay for the contractual agreements and arrangements with other service providers and resorts. Now we also know that all these “service Providers” and “resorts are all part of the same group of companies owned by the Trotta family under Limora Investments Ltd.
Again we see another tangled web of intrigue and dodgy dealings which is resulting in nothing but stress and anguish for the consumers who have paid considerable sums for these products. We know from our readers that they are all worried they are about to lose everything, not just the holidays not being honoured but now having to pay for new bookings after they have already paid their annual maintenance fees!
To Inside Timeshare, this does not seem to be fair, most of these members have initially paid thousands of pounds to purchase the product and also thousands in annual maintenance fees. Now it does not take a lot of working out, but these companies have made millions over the years and this is how they treat their clients. SHAME ON YOU!
Have you purchased any product from Silverpoint, Signallia Marketing or any other company and are worried about all that is going on, then use our contact page and let us know. We will explain what your legal options are and point you in the right direction to get the legal help you need.
Remember, the courts are finding in favour of the clients on all cases going to court, this may be the only way not to lose what you have “invested” in your holidays.
Over the past few years, Anfi has been in the news for many reasons, the main ones are the number of cases they have been losing in the courts and the Tauro Beach Project. The project at Tauro beach has also recently been in the news with the former head of the Coastal Authority being sentenced to 3 years in jail. He was found guilty of falsifying documents giving permission for Anfi to carry out the work in establishing a man-made beach months before the permissions were signed. The Canarian Government is in the process of revoking the permissions and licenses allowing Anfi to develop Tauro Beach, this will be a devastating blow to their finances. As for the court cases, there seems to be no sign that these will be ending anytime soon.
All this must be having some effect on the Anfi cash flow, we know they are employing delaying tactics in paying clients what the courts have ordered. It is believed that in many cases it is transferring funds from one account to another, rather like Silverpoint. We also know the Canarian Government is in the process of revoking the permissions and licenses allowing Anfi to develop Tauro Beach, this will also be a devastating blow to their finances.
Is this an attempt to hide the money and not pay what they are legally obliged to pay claiming cash flow problems?
Or are they actually running out of money?
Where does this leave IFA as 50% shareholders, as they have no control over the board or the company?
Are IFA aware of what Anfi are doing?
The courts are taking a very dim view of Anfi tactics, they have already seen through them, a very good case in point is the one regarding a Norwegian client of Canarian Legal Alliance, Mr Hoyer. Due to the delays and arguments by Anfi on his case, he was awarded 100,000€ above the 31,000€ he originally paid giving him 131,000€. This was the court’s way of punishing Anfi for basically wasting the courts time.
Highlight and right click on link below for the full report
This was a very expensive case for Anfi, yet, they are still attempting to do the same thing with every case that goes before the courts. Obviously, the courts are not too pleased with this and investigations have been ordered by the Fiscal (State Prosecutor) into Anfi funds and bank accounts.
This is not the first time we have reported on “missing funds” we know that between 2012 and 2013 8 Million Euros had been diverted which was noticed by the Lyng family, then only last year in November we reported on a lawsuit between the Cazorla Brothers for unfair administration of funds, to the value of 718,000€ the result of the case has still yet to be issued. (see links below).
The delaying tactics Anfi are employing are constant appeals to the High Court and lodging appeals with the Supreme Court, this is due only to a lack of liquidity or cash flow even taking into account the fines and interest they will accrue. It is also very frustrating to the clients with cases already won in the Courts of First Instance, it is also being used as a ploy by Anfi to put people off taking legal action.
Another method which Anfi are employing to ward off future lawsuits from disgruntled members is the attempt to change contracts, they have so far tried twice to convince members to change, but this has resulted in a very poor response. What we do know is that with all the legal problems members are very concerned with the future of Anfi.
We now look at IFA as 50% shareholders, they do not have the “golden share” so they have no control over the board or the company, we know that IFA has set aside millions for a full takeover of Anfi, but are they actually aware of what is going on. It is more than likely that Anfi has not even disclosed this matter with IFA. IFA is a public company and is therefore responsible to have this disclosed to its shareholders, the question is if they are aware, have their shareholders been notified?
Inside Timeshare has spoken to an IFA shareholder and in the last quarterly report, there was no mention of the possible millions in losses. So it would seem that IFA shareholders are also being kept in the dark.
Are the IFA shareholders aware that there are around 50 million euros in claims pending against Anfi?
How is this going to affect IFA if they do eventually take full control, will they continue in the same way or will they settle the claims in the quickest way possible?
All we know at the moment is Anfi are moving funds around the different bank accounts, to us it looks like what is happening with Silverpoint, using the transfer of funds to other parts of the company to hide the money and eventually seek liquidation due to “cash flow” problems.
Unfortunately, there are more questions than answers, answers that Inside Timeshare will be looking for and publishing on these pages.
If you have purchased any Anfi product and want to know if your contract contravenes Spanish timeshare law giving you a valid case and you would like to secure your “investment”, then use our contact page. Inside Timeshare will help you find out your legal position and point you in the right direction.
Welcome to another edition of The Tuesday Slot, This week Irene Parker looks at the Bass Pro Shops and Bluegreen who are both locked in a legal dispute not only with each other but also their own clients. It would look like there is no end to the deceptions, misleading and bad practices that the timeshare industry thrives by. This brings us to ask yet again, when will the industry change its ways and sell a fair and useful product without the bad practices that we see on these pages day after day week after week? Somehow I don’t think we will get an answer any time soon.
Bass Pro Shops v Bluegreen $40 million Settlement
A Separate Lawsuit of Nearly Three Dozen Bluegreen Member Plaintiffs
As reported by The Palm Beach Post June 14, 2019
Boca Raton-based Bluegreen Vacations will pay Bass Pro more than $40 million to continue operating sales kiosks in its stores.
In a separate lawsuit filed this year, nearly three dozen timeshare buyers from around the country sued Bluegreen and Bass Pro Shops. The consumers said they were lured into high-pressure sales pitches, then sold expensive shares in units that they claimed were overpriced or in poor repair.
Excerpts from the Civil Action complaint (my comments highlighted in blue)
In the U. S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Knoxville, a third amended complaint was filed April 8, 2019 against defendant Bluegreen Vacation Unlimited, Inc. in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and BPS Direct, LLC dba Bass Pro Shops (BPS), seeking contract rescission and damages on behalf of 16 co-plaintiffs (as of the April 8 filing) for alleged illegal, deceptive and misleading business and sales practices, statutory violations and fraudulent conduct.
Such practices as described pertain to the Bluegreen Vacations Mountain Loft, Ascend Resort Collection Resort at Gatlinburg. Relevant to this lawsuit, Bass Pro Shop, partially in conjunction with Bluegreen, operated its retail business at its Tennessee-based facilities in Kodak and Nashville, along with 67 other locations across the United States.
According to the lawsuit, Defendant Bass Pro Shops were involved in the offering of a promotion for attending a timeshare presentation, which was solicited through representations made from within Bass Pro Shops, through BPS agents, or at least individuals who appeared to consumers to be acting as agents of BPS, and thus, such actions are attributable to Defendant BPS. The lawsuit Bass Pro Shops filed against Bluegreen seemed to focus on commissions not being paid on any “sampler package” and the “clawing back” of commissions not paid when a member defaulted or cancelled years after the sale.
The lawsuit alleges Plaintiffs were induced to purchase a timeshare interest from Bluegreen by fraud, without knowing the true nature of the presentation, because material information was either intentionally or negligently concealed. Defendants did not disclose material facts concerning the use of points and availability caused by overselling interests, and the right to the Public Offering Statement disclosures, which included rescission rights.
First Basis: Concealment of Rescission Rights and Public Offering Statement
The lawsuit alleges POS disclosures were avoided and/or intentionally hid, including material information about the rescission period. Despite Bluegreen’s legal duty to provide a copy of its POS, not one Plaintiff recalls receiving a copy of such a document. The lawsuit further alleges Bluegreen representatives had a strong incentive to conceal Plaintiffs’ rescission rights and limit access to the information contained in the Public Offering Statement. Plaintiffs were not aware they had a right of rescission or that they were entitled to review the POS before entering the contract.
Violations of the Tennessee Timeshare Act of 1981 include:
Public Offering Statement disclosure – The POS must be provided to purchasers “before the transfer of the timeshare and no later than the date of any sales contract,” and that the contract is voidable until the purchaser has received the POS.
Since late 2016, Inside Timeshare has heard from 890 timeshare members reporting unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices, including 113 veterans and active duty service members. Only in the last six months have I started asking the members about the Public Offering Statement to which the members reply, “A what?” Digging through past paperwork, they find it to exclaim, “It says,” READ THIS DISCLOSURE STATEMENT BEFORE SIGNING ANYTHING!” The timeshare customer service representative, also a fine print detective, responds to the member with their initials agreeing that they read and reviewed the document. If the closing is recorded, the presentation of the POS should be recorded.
According to the lawsuit, after often five to eight hours of mentally and physically wearing the consumer down, there is a rapid signing of many documents that lasts only about ten to fifteen minutes. The Closer or Quality Assurance Specialist controls the entire process. Consumers are not permitted to read the contract, leave the room, discuss the contract alone, are not permitted to review the contract with an attorney.
Consumers are not permitted to take the contract and come back the next day.
The lawsuit alleges this constitutes unlawful practice of law, overlaid with fraud and deceit with no meaningful disclosure of contract terms.
If you think this is unfair, sign the Petition to Reform Timeshare, which seeks a 24-hour “cooling-off” period before signing a contract. This proposed 24 hour cooling off period was hotly contested by timeshare industry lobbyists during the 2019 legislative sessions.
Of note is mention of Unauthorized Practice of Law (UPL) in that consumers are told about how they can plan their Estate with the new “asset” to leave a “legacy” to their child or children using a Will while fraudulently concealing a known “successor” clause that forces obligations upon future generations who are all jointly and severally liable for ever-rising debt.
Inside Timeshare has received numerous complaints from consumers falsely told they must convert a deeded timeshare to a point-based timeshare or their heirs will be liable. It is also my belief this constitutes the unauthorized practice of law.
I asked timeshare attorney Mike Finn about this, as I understand it, rarely is an heir forced to assume a timeshare liability. According to Mike, “Although I haven’t studied the so-called “successor clause” I am of the firm belief that unless the children were listed on the original sales contract as co-owners and signed the contract as same (assuming of course that they were of the age of majority on the date the contract was executed), that they cannot be bound by any third-party, to the contract, including their parents. Again, in my opinion, I believe this would be a violation of the “due process rights” of the children.”
How Can I Eliminate my Timeshare Liability for my Heirs?
Bluegreen is the sole owner of a subsidiary corporation housed within its corporate headquarters in Boca Raton, Florida called “Pinnacle” and the lawsuit alleges Pinnacle is devoted to exclusively keeping Bluegreen owners trapped in the resale market void.
Second Basis: Intentional Misrepresentation: Buy-Back Program
Bluegreen has never operated a program that buys back unwanted VOIs. Pinnacle sells services to VOI owners which purports to help owners sell unwanted VOIs when in actuality there is no viable resale market.
“Owners Meetings” or “Owner Classes” air to sell existing owners additional timeshare interests. Owners are told such meetings are mandatory to teach Bluegreen members how to navigate Bluegreen’s reservation system. In reality, such meetings are an attempt to sell existing Bluegreen members more points. Reported disappointments with the product can be resolved by buying additional points, but the lawsuit alleges promised benefits are rarely if ever, realized.
Plaintiffs’ Common Factual Allegations
Promised 90-minute presentations lasted typically four to eight hours. Some presentations are timed with the presentation beginning only after completion of a known driving tour that lasts at least three hours, and for two Plaintiffs, the drive lasted eight or nine hours.
After long sales sessions, only 10 to 15 minutes was spent, on average, for the entire contract signing process, which harboured unknown obligations and lacked the use rights, amenities and features that were promised.
Plaintiffs allege they were told:
(a) Bluegreen timeshares are good investments and will always go up in value.
(b) Bluegreen timeshare is a long-term asset that can be resold at a profit.
(c) Maintenance fees do not exist, do not go up, or only go up very little.
(d) Bluegreen timeshares are a valuable asset and “a legacy” to pass on to children.
(d-f) Plaintiffs did not know that, despite any possible future contract to make a Will or Codicil, contracts executed that day would bind all children as “successors’ that are jointly and severally liable for the inter-generational debt.
(g) Plaintiffs have anytime, anywhere “easy booking.”
(h) Rental income can pay the mortgage, fees and sometimes earn a profit. Rental is impossible as represented.
(i) Promises that an “Upgrade” will resolve deficiencies, but were never fixed.
All Plaintiffs have a strong correlation regarding these four rescission-based commonalities:
(a) Plaintiffs did not receive Public Offering Statement prior to signing.
(b) Plaintiffs did not receive proper Statutory Rescission notice.
(c) Plaintiffs were deceived about a Will Asset (vs Successor Liability).
(d) Plaintiffs spend up to $21,000 for a one-week vacation, representing over 1000% of the timeshare’s online market value, accompanied by rising fees.
Third Basis: Intentional Misrepresentation: Points Value Representation
No Plaintiff had access to Bluegreen’s inventory system until after they were contractually-bound as Bluegreen owners for life. Upon access, they discovered availability constraints, insufficient point values, or other cost prohibitions they were not made aware of.
This is another source of a multitude of complaints. Members complain of having been sold too few points to book their desired locations, but they were not allowed access to the booking site until the next year.
In spite of this lawsuit and so many others, the timeshare developers and their lobbyists insist all is well and we are just a disgruntled few. In addition to member complaints, former timeshare sales agents have joined efforts to expose unfair and deceptive sales practices. Our Friday, July 5 article describes former Hyatt Sales Executive Candace Czarny v Hyatt wrongful termination/whistleblower lawsuit and our February 2019 article about a Wyndham Florida Whistleblower lawsuit:
It is in everyone’s interest to drain the swamp of perpetrators.
Join one of the self-help groups, organize, and get involved:
We seek to provide timeshare members a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market; and to educate prospective buyers.
Welcome to the start of another week at Inside Timeshare, over the past few weeks we have been publishing many articles on Silverpoint, especially the move by the parent company Limora Investments Ltd (BVI) filing for liquidation. We have also published the news that The Paramount – Club Paradiso has closed their doors with many members unable to book, the website is down and no one seems to be answering the phones. We also reported on Keys Concierge having also gone into liquidation with all the staff losing their jobs, as we know the administrator dealing with the liquidation is Alex Lawson of Alvarez and Marsal working on behalf of the Trotta family.
So as you can imagine, Inside Timeshare has been inundated with emails enquiring about the legality of all the products sold by Silverpoint. The most prolific of these products and having by far the highest costs are the “Company Participation Scheme”, with purchases from 40,000€ all the way to 150,000€ plus. Just on the enquiries Inside Timeshare has received we are looking at purchases of well over one million euros, this certainly is a very big money making scheme, the question is where has it all Gone?
Now for some news from the courts around Spain.
Last Friday the leading law firm in timeshare litigation Canarian Legal Alliance, announced their results for the week, with 26 victories in various courts around Spain.
At the Court of First Instance in Maspalomas Gran Canaria, there were 11 cases found against Anfi, with 2 cases at the High Court of Las Palmas being found in favour of the clients after Anfi appealed.
At the same Court of First Instance, a sentence was issued against Palm Oasis.
In the Court of First Instance of Arona, Tenerife, Silverpoint was on the receiving end of the judges, with 11 rulings against them in favour of the CLA clients.
The last was against Club la Costa in Fuengirola, where the judge again found in favour of the client.
As usual, all contracts were declared null and void with the courts ordering a total of 1,226,260.15€ A very expensive week for the timeshare industry indeed. But at the end of the day, had they sold their products in accordance with the law, then they would not be finding themselves in this position.
If you have purchased any timeshare product in Spain and would like to know if you have a valid and viable claim or would just like to know your legal position and your options, then use our contact page. We will get back to you and point you in the right direction.
Welcome to the start of another week at Inside Timeshare, over the past few weeks we have been publishing the story of Silverpoint and associated companies being liquidated to spirit money away for the Trotta family fortune. Today we look at a company employed by the RDO (Resorts Development Organisation) who endorsed Silverpoint who at the time were major members of the RDO. In light of what we now know, this endorsement is definitely suspect.
The company is Kwikchex who we have published about on several occasions, the company is owned by Chris Emmins who as a director does not have what could be called a very good track record resigning from 4 companies, held 17 appointments at 17 dissolved companies with “alleged” debts to creditors of around £500,000. See link below for the original article.
Kwikchex is tasked with protecting the RDO and its members from so-called “unscrupulous” companies which threaten the industry claiming they “provide investigation and verification services that deliver accurate online information about businesses”. This is done through their website Timeshare Business Check.
According to their website they “reach out” to businesses for information on the company etc, many companies do not respond as they have no legal requirement to do so. But when this happens the entry on timeshare business check for that particular company is not what you would call positive, bringing in links to other dubious websites funded by the RDO which discredit the company concerned.
Yet while doing this to companies which are not paying the RDO to be members, Kwikchex was endorsing Silverpoint a major RDO member and financial contributor at the time, using youtube videos of Club Paradiso members via “testimonials”. Fine, we will admit the resort and accommodation is excellent but what they have not shown is the tactics Silverpoint used to sell their products.
As we know Silverpoint sold various packages of timeshare, from packages of weeks sold as “investments” with the intention of rental income and resale at a profit in the future to the Company Participation Scheme. This particular product is a variation on the original product, the difference being the apartments are registered as companies in their own right.
These are all subject to many legal actions in the courts with Silverpoint losing at every stage, yet do we see Kwikchex publish anything about them on any of their websites? The answer is no, even though Silverpoint is no longer an RDO member.
So what do we have, a company funded by the industry endorsing a company that has for years been making millions from consumers with false promises and very dodgy products, while on the other hand attempting to discredit any other company that is not an RDO member yet is there to help consumers?
Can you the reader believe any information from Kwikchex or Timeshare Business Check in the light of this?
Somehow I don’t think so, the whole point of Kwikchex, Timeshare Business Check and the “Timeshare Task Force” is to protect the industry while all the time allowing the industry to continue with the same practises which have resulted in so many court cases with contracts being declared null and void and the consumer receiving back their money.
It must also be pointed out that none of these organisations has published any information on silverpoint liquidations or the fact that Club Paradiso is closed and no one knows when it will be or even if it will be reopened to members.
One thing is certain, these companies and the industry is very adept at convincing you the consumer that only they are telling the truth while placing doubt about any other company that is not associated with them. The upshot is you the consumer has nowhere to turn, the advice you will get is industry propaganda and weighed in their favour rather than yours.
Links to Kwikchex published testimonials authenticated by Kwikchex.
If you have purchased any Silverpoint product and want to know where you stand legally with your contract, use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will point you in the right direction.
Welcome to The Tuesday Slot with Part III of our series on the abuse of Veterans and the elderly with Irene Parker and Eddie Rodriguez. This article is just another in the series Inside Timeshare has dubbed “Nightmare on Timeshare Street”, which at the last count numbered 111 complaints from veterans alone. All we can ask is when will the industry take notice and stop these predatory practices by sales agents which are destroying lives.
Inside Timeshare has been informed of the following post by this company:
At ITT EXIT, we know that when you purchased your Timeshare, it seemed like a great idea at …. these stories, Inside Timeshare has received around 111 complaints from Veterans and how … The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.
Inside Timeshare does not endorse this company, we are however happy for them to publish links to our articles. Inside Timeshare will not endorse or recommend any Exit company as we have in place a tried and tested formula for US owners/members to self-advocate.
Irene reached out to ITT Exit. They said it was not their intention to mislead and they would have their IT person change the description. We always appreciate a good line of communication with any exit company or developer.
Now for this weeks article.
How to Reform Timeshare to Protect Veterans
By Irene Parker and Eddie Rodriguez
June 25, 2019
Part I Theresa Taylor Provides Insights into Timeshare Defaults
Part III Why the Center of Excellence on Elder Abuse & Neglect Suggestions Offer Little Help
Army veteran Eddie Rodriguez called me after reading veteran Ron Tzinski’s article and the timeshare complaint disabled Marine veteran Richard Valdez provided. Eddie wanted to reach out to these veterans and also explain to me why the suggestions offered by the Center Of Excellence on Elder Abuse & Neglect in all likelihood won’t work for veterans or our non-military readers harmed by timeshare.
For veterans, Eddie suggests time would be better spent working directly with veteran organizations like the DAV, VA, and VFW. Eddied managed U S Post Offices and is a former lobbyist. He was vice president of the Postal Union NAPS, Branch 164. The following disabled veteran’s complaint infuriated Eddie and me.
Given the service Richard Valdez gave to his country, the extent of his injuries, and the report the VA provided, as to the reasons why this veteran should be released from his timeshare loan, we question the timeshare lobby ARDA’s assertion that timeshare members don’t need to contact an attorney or a timeshare exit provider. ARDA and industry executives insist their companies have hardship departments. We identify Richard, but not the timeshare company, because when we sent the report to the company, we heard back that they had assigned someone to investigate. We are grateful, despite being a bit late.
I spoke with Richard by phone. He lives in Honolulu. Richard retired from the Marine Corps as a Corporal IE 4. He earned a Purple Heart. During combat, Richard encountered explosive rounds in contact with his platoon. They had to shoot flares to see the enemy because there was no light. The 60 mortar rounds backfired. Fighting mountain to mountain, he was exposed to Agent Orange. He had a golf ball size growth in his head, maybe a little smaller. It took him a long time to get to reality. Richard says is often confused. He can’t comprehend when reading, so he just signed the timeshare contract.
Richard is the 6th Agent Orange exposed Vietnam veteran to contact us. Inside Timeshare has heard reports of unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices from 111 veterans/active duty service members, and a total of 864 families. This report, by Richard’s son, explains our outrage. Richard is 100% disabled. This is how he was treated by his timeshare company.
I am writing this on behalf of my father. He sustained significant brain trauma due to intense fighting in the Vietnam War and is not capable of understanding difficult concepts or following complicated instructions so I am doing this for him. He purchased a timeshare for $23,800 in 2016. My father obviously does not have the capacity to understand what was happening or the details of the contract. After he used it the first time in Las Vegas and realized what it was we sent a letter from the VA outlining my father’s condition as the reason for him misunderstanding the product, but it has been ignored. I think it is disgusting that my father is being treated this way after serving our country at such a cost to his own life. My father is 100% disabled and incapable of understanding complex concepts.
The company has now passed him to a collections company who are harassing and stressing him out with threats to his possessions. Please look into this and help in any way you can. If you can talk to him, you will see he was taken advantage of badly.
Four out of the six organizations the Center Of Excellence on Elder Abuse & Neglect suggested have not helped any our readers resolve timeshare disputes. We had provided the link to this resource in Ron Tzinski’s article. Two of the organizations mentioned I had not heard of. We’ll try them next.
2) Task Force on Market Integrity and Consumer Fraud is to be explored.
On July 11, 2018, President Trump signedExecutive Order 13844, establishing the Task Force on Market Integrity and Consumer Fraud and identifying the Deputy Attorney General as its chair. The Task Force is part of a government-wide initiative to combat fraud against consumers – particularly the elderly, service members, and veterans – and corporate fraud that victimizes the general public and the government.https://www.justice.gov/fraudtaskforce
3) Consumer Federation of America is to be explored.
All of our readers are directed to file complaints with the Federal Trade Commission. While a spokesperson for the organization expressed sympathy and passed along information to FTC attorneys before leaving the FTC, we are not aware of any action taken by the FTC to reduce timeshare fraud. It can take thousands of complaints to get a lawmaker, law enforcement, or a federal regulator to act, so we encourage our readers to file. It’s hard to even find the timeshare tab on the FTC complaint site. Instructions are in this article.
Two of our readers, out of 864, reported being helped by the BBB. The BBB evaluates how efficient a company is in responding to complaints. Given timeshare companies are quick to respond, “You signed a contract” and “We are not responsible for what our sales agents say,” some have high ratings. It is important to file because bad timeshare companies have over 1,000 complaints or more on file over a three year period, while better timeshare companies only have a few hundred complaints.
6) AARP We learned AARP had been linking an article suggesting timeshare members contact a listing service to sell timeshares. This company not only stole our keywords, using search words “Inside Timeshare Sales and Rentals,” they routinely accept timeshare listings, charging timeshare members $1,500 to $1,700 to list timeshares known to be worthless. We were able to convince AARP to stop linking the article that would cause timeshare members to throw good money after bad. It is helpful AARP suggests members file with the FTC and BBB.
I had a difficult time talking to Richard because he sounded just like Leo Gomez. Leo passed away last year from pancreatic cancer. Leo was 100% disabled, Agent Orange exposed. I link Leo’s article every chance I get, because Leo’s last words to me were, “I want my story told.”
One of the first 100% Agent Orange veterans to contact us incurred a $170,000 1099c tax liability for a timeshare loan cancellation. We directed him to an expert who could help dispute the tax bill as he certainly gained nothing in exchange for the cancelled loan. This veteran was one of 20 complaints against the same Las Vegas sales agent.
Eddie Rodriguez is a veteran himself. A native New Yorker from Brooklyn, Eddie had the basic ability to fight for the rights of post office employees as a union representative. A Westgate and High Point timeshare owner, unable to dispose of the timeshares, Eddie has taken up our cause, lobbying to provide more disclosure to veterans buying timeshares. In the primary housing market, this is already required.
Our volunteer Supporters at Timeshare Accountability Group™ (TAG) feel both ends of the timeshare sale need some reform. The Change.org petition has already received over 1,300 signatures. Sign our petition today to show lawmakers and the Timeshare Industry at large that there is a need for change.
Inside Timeshare supports John Collick for Congress, (VA-3). John is a friend of mine who understands our concerns. I’ve read comments from members who say Republicans are not interested in consumers. At the Florida legislative workshop I attended in Tallahassee March 12 of this year, it was Republican representatives who spoke up for the consumer. Florida Representative Newton shared how he had to file for bankruptcy in the 90s to get out of his timeshare.
Let’s hope level heads on both sides of the aisle recognize the need for change. We owe that to our veterans and to our active duty service members. Too many families have been harmed.
We seek to provide timeshare members with a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market, and to educate prospective buyers.
Thank you to Irene, Eddie and all the other contributors to this three-part series, these are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg, Inside Timeshare receives a what can only be described as a never-ending stream of emails looking for help. It is a story that unfortunately will not be going away until the industry changes its ways.
Anfi Tauro Beach Project
The story of the Anfi Tauro Beach Project which we have been following over the past few years has now seen the ex-head of the Coastal Authority José Maria Hernández de León finally found guilty of falsification in an official document and administrative prevarication.
As we already know he allowed the work on the beach by Anfi to go ahead even before all the licenses and official documentation was in place, then signed the documents months after the work started.
The court has sentenced him to 3 years in prison, nine years of disqualification from public office and a fine of 3,900€. This sentence is not final as the parties may appeal in the Civil and Criminal Chamber of the Superior Court of Justice of the Canary islands.
Welcome to the start of another week at Inside Timeshare, we begin with Part Six of The Truth Behind Silverpoint Exposed, which we have been publishing for the past few weeks. This is a story of epic proportions, worthy of a Hollywood Blockbuster movie, it is full of behind the scenes financial manipulation and the moving of millions of euros from one account to another in order to hide and save the Trotta family fortune. It is a story of a family at war with itself wracked with greed, with the wife Ragni Trotta being left out of the will. All this at the expense of the hundreds of consumers who have purchased into their products and are now set to lose everything.
Over the years Silverpoint and before them Resort Properties duped consumers into purchasing “packs” of weeks as investments, with the promise of rental income and a resale program after two years with a substantial profit to be made on these resales. But as we already know, there was no resale program, just more lies to get the unsuspecting consumer to upgrade and purchase even more to secure the “investments” they have already paid for.
We have seen this progress to the “Company Participation Scheme”, which is exactly the same as the original “investment weeks” apart from the fact the “apartments” are now registered as Spanish SL or limited companies. The promise is the same, an annual income from rentals and then the prospect of selling the “shares” at a later date.
We already know that no one has been paid any rental for last year, we also know that there is no money to pay out these rental dividends. What has been paid out has come from new “investors” purchasing into the scheme, a classic take from Peter to pay Paul, or it could be called a “Ponzi” scheme.
As we have already seen from the previous articles, vast amounts of money have been moved around the numerous companies set up by Bob Trotta and Kwang Boon Sim in the guise of “intercompany loans”, tax evasion and then spirited away into the Trotta family fortune. All at the expense of you the consumer.
It is a very interesting fact that most of the local staff that worked in various companies around the world were not even aware of how the group was structured, or even how the finances operated. It is also a fact that had the bank and the family done the right thing by their loyal team of workers and their customers most would have been quite happy. Clients would have had good products and resorts with Doug Campbell, his wife Jennifer Campbell, Ragni Trotta and Erin Trotta Westfall could have enjoyed a wonderful future.
The Bank could most of likely been able to close the trust, distributing the wealth to the family… What they have not bargained for was the ineptitude and bully tactics of Alex Lawson. It appears that Alex Lawson is so eager to prove himself to his Alvarez colleagues that he is marauding around the world using aggressive tactics against everyone in his path.
He has a complete lack of compassion and with a blinkered outlook on how his decisions affect circumstances elsewhere in the group, he is creating a trail of destruction and is now coming into full view of claims companies and legal teams all over the world.
It is now very likely the end result of the whole program will be Alvarez and Marsal earn a fortune in fees, the Trotta family end up with nothing with the prospect of ending up in jail, the bank losing their license with the possibility of seeing its team members facing charges and the hundreds of consumers losing everything they have purchased.
This is by no means the end of our little story, this is only series one, we have already heard from several readers who have travelled to Tenerife to take their holidays at The Paramount – Club Paradiso. They have told us of not being able to gain admittance to the resort, being moved to other locations and in some cases being charged to stay. On the subject of the staff, our readers have told us that they have seen them crying as they are unable to do anything to help and now know they are unlikely to get paid. The fall out of the “liquidation” plan being put into action by Alex Lawson is already taking its toll!
Have you purchased any product from Silverpoint, do you want to know where you stand legally?
Would you like to know if you have a legal case to take to court, have your contracts declared null and void and the return of your purchase price?
If you would like further information on these and any other questions, then use our contact page and let us know what when and where you purchased, Inside Timeshare will get back to you and point you in the right direction.
Welcome to another instalment of the Silverpoint Exposed saga, we are now coming very close to the conclusion of our little series or should we say our script for the next Hollywood Blockbuster!
It is a fact the immense funds that created the group of companies were primarily funded by the sales organisation of Silverpoint Vacations, formerly Resort Properties. For many years our friend Kwang Sim flew back and forth running the company as the shadow director on behalf of Bob Trotta, holding regular meetings with the legal team and accounts managers. Inside Timeshare has uncovered an enormous amount of evidence which shows that the local leaders had no idea what was happening all around them and were being used as puppets.
During the run-up to the “big escape” of Kwang Sim, he began to very carefully and meticulously disguised his involvement, moving others who were unsuspecting into the firing line. A sign of a true coward which was also in direct conflict with his “public persona” of a “caring and religious man”. Kwang is reportedly terrified that his “flock” of Mormons will discover his double life. In fact, his life would not be out of keeping with a West End musical, in the same way, the “Book of Mormon” has on both sides of the pond. Kwang Sim’s performance as a “man of the cloth” yet hiding his real dubious behaviour would definitely be worthy of a “Tony award” the theatre equivalent of an Oscar!
Now on to Alex Lawson, he appears to be taking Alvarez, The Limora Group and the Bank into a very dark chapter of potential conspiracy. He is slowly but surely working his way into all the companies and appointing himself as director. Although he is very careful to keep out of the Spanish companies where there are serious issues, he places himself and his co-liquidator Paul Pretlove into directorship roles where he creates his plan to instigate insolvencies, using this very fluid 42 million of debt.
This money was moved along and up the chain and has gone all around the houses to suit the group, now the same people are using the funds as justification to close companies and throw the hard-working teams within each one onto the streets.
Wherever possible, they are even attempting to avoid costly redundancy payments, all so the Trotta’s can keep even more money and ultimately, Alvarez can earn even more in fees!
It is often the case that it is the little people who will suffer and in this case, it is obviously no different. Local management is trying to fight for their rights, but this is a “David and Goliath” type of situation. All we can hope for is as in the fable, David is triumphant and the bullies are stopped. Well come on, I mean how many millions does one need to inherit in order to be Happy?
As for the Trotta family, they are extremely worried they will get caught out but hope the bank and Alvarez know what they are doing. We are not so sure!
Jennifer Trotta Campbell lives with husband Doug Campbell who as we stated previously was at one point the Groups CEO reporting directly to his father in law and Kwang Sim. He watched the creation of the complex web of companies that exists today.
He left the company in 2007, apparently no longer able to take the pressure of the group’s structure and the tyrannical leadership of Bob Trotta. He, his wife Jennifer and the sister Erin Westfall all live in Colorado, USA and enjoy fabulous wealth, all courtesy of Daddies money.
On top of that, they now intend to screw over hundreds of innocent people who helped their family create their enormous wealth. This type of greed, unfortunately, is all too common, but we do have it from very reliable sources that the authorities in Europe and the United States are watching very carefully along with legal teams building cases to strip the Trotta family of their wealth.
Ragni Trotta herself has homes in Norway and Italy, with the Trotta children owning millions in real estate in the United States. We also have it on good authority that these legal teams are dauntlessly building the cases against all of them and are extremely confident they will be stripped of this wealth in the coming period.
We will keep watching and ready to inform you the reader of any updates and developments in this story which really does read like a script for a Hollywood movie but in real life greed almost always has a way of catching up with you, ESPECIALLY when you try to screw over innocent people. As they say, “The bad guys never win in the end”!
Join us again on Monday for the sixth and final episode in this the first series of a remarkable and unbelievable story.
Are you a possible victim, do you want to know where you stand before it all goes?
Use our contact sheet and get in touch, Inside Timeshare will be happy to give you the best advice possible and point you in the right direction.
Welcome to The Tuesday Slot, this week we welcome another new contributor Theresa Taylor, with her experience of attending a presentation. As you will see from her story, it is one that is very familiar to every reader of these pages, high-pressure sales tactics with plenty of ways to get around a problem of affordability. One of the most disturbing facts of this story is the fact the sales agents found a way to get Theresa finance despite being in the middle of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. As we already know from other stories, sales agents will do and say anything to get the deal, yet the timeshare companies still allow this to continue.
Part I: I Explain to Wyndham CFO Michael Hug:
Why Wyndham’s Default Rate is higher than he would like
By Theresa Taylor
June 18, 2019
Timeshare Tussle, by Jason Garcia at Florida Trend
There was a cloud over the results, however. During the call, Wyndham also revealed that the number of owners defaulting on their timeshare mortgages climbed during the second quarter, extending what has become a multiyear increase in defaults. The company says the rate of increase in its provision for loan losses has slowed to “under 5%” in the second half of 2018, but in the earnings call Brown said defaults remain “higher than we would like,” seconded by CFO Michael Hug, who added that “loan loss remains a central area of focus.”
Of the company’s nearly 900,000 owners, only 200,000 have loans. However, the company expects to set aside 21% of its gross sales to cover losses in 2018 — meaning it expects not to collect $21 of every $100 it’s loaned.
Part II Friday: Timeshare Reinvents Subprime Mortgages by Ron
My friend Ron reached out to Wyndham’s hardship department. He was turned away. Wyndham’s reaction to my friend explains why timeshare members reach out to timeshare exit companies for help. Going through a foreclosure process is not something a timeshare member wants to go through alone.
If Ron doesn’t qualify for hardship, I don’t know who would. Ron is an 11-year veteran. His wife died two years ago after his timeshare was purchased in 2016. His annual income is less than $12,000. He is self-employed.
I decided to attend a Wyndham timeshare presentation. My experience will explain why so many are defaulting on timeshare loans. I don’t think Wyndham is the only company providing loans to buyers who should not be buying, lending through high-interest rate loans and even higher interest rate Barclay credit cards. Undeterred by my bankruptcy, Wyndham’s sales agents explained how they could list me as a foreigner to circumvent the obstacle.
Here’s what happened at Wyndham Grand Desert Resort in Las Vegas:
It was a family celebration for my son’s 21st birthday. After arriving late, I awoke the next morning to find a card slid under my door instructing me to see Amelia to receive a Welcome Packet. I proceeded to check-in to get my welcome package and before I knew it, I was informed that I had to attend a timeshare presentation the next morning.
Lauren informed me that I qualified for a “no-high-pressure card” to take with me to the presentation. I had to give them a $20.00 refundable fee to hold my spot. She then discussed income requirements. They required a minimum household income of $75,000. She assumed that my friend Ron was my partner. We explained that he was not, and even if we were together, Ron currently has no income. I told Lauren my income was only $60,000. Lauren kept insisting that Ron was part of my household income.
Once we finally convinced Lauren that Ron should not be involved, she decided I could proceed with $65,000 per year household income. She changed the form from $75,000 to $65,000. When I reiterated that I only made $60,000 Lauren stated that they can actually work with that. She offered me show tickets or a $100 American Express gift card as my reward after I completed the presentation. I elected the gift card.
Red Flag #1 Falsified Income
The next morning I got up to attend the presentation. Ron decided to go with me. They showed us a video of all the places you can stay if you join Wyndham Vacation Resorts. We learned Wyndham owns RCI which is why there are so many places to stay. There are fees involved to use RCI.
Our presenter Eddie did a breakdown of the cost to vacation, explaining the value in buying into Wyndham Vacation Resorts. After the video, Judy took us on a tour of the Grand Desert, showing me the presidential suite. Next, we went to a room where tables were set up with other salespeople talking to other potential customers about the cost to vacation.
Judy showed us a price sheet. After she went over the costs, I asked for a moment to think about it. Visions of beautiful resorts momentarily left my head. I talked to Ron because it dawned on me that I am currently in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. I shouldn’t be able to buy anything.
We flagged Judy down to explain that I forgot to mention I was in the midst of a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. She said she would go talk to her manager. To be honest, I thought my time there was done. Nope, Judy came back and stated that the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy wasn’t a problem and that they could get me into a program that did not require a credit check or my social security number. Judy indicated that it was their international/foreign (non-US resident) program.
Red Flag #2 Suitability
I told Judy thanks but no thanks. I thought it best to wait until I am through with the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. She said fine, gathered up all the paperwork and advised that someone would be over with my gift card.
After about 15 minutes a woman named Sophie came to the table. She stated that she was doing a survey of my experience. She asked me how I liked Judy, how was the presentation. She asked if this was a program that I would enjoy given different circumstances. Trying to be pleasant, I explained that I don’t think the program is right for me at this time given I am in the middle of a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. Undeterred, she flipped over some paperwork to show me another offer to buy into Wyndham Vacation Resorts.
Red Flag #3 High Pressure
I couldn’t believe it. Here I’m trying to get my financial head above water, and Sophie is convinced I need to buy a luxury item so that I can be driven deeper into debt. This go-round they offered me a “trial period” program which involved 400,000 points for use over two years at a cost of $3,548. She explained I could put down approximately $400 and make monthly payments.
At this point, I remembered my “no-high-pressure card” Lauren was supposed to give me, which seemed like ages ago. I said to Sophie, “Lauren said I was supposed to experience a no high-pressure presentation. She even said she would give me a “no-high-pressure card” (which Lauren forgot to give me), so I would not be pressured into buying something. Sophie said “A what”?
Red Flag #4 Unfair and Deceptive Sales Practice
There obviously is no such thing as a “no-high-pressure card” so this was unfair and deceptive. First, my income was falsified to qualify, I am in debt up to my ears, I told them no, they will not take no for an answer, and they want to add another layer of monthly payments on top of my bankruptcy payments. Maybe it’s just me, but I think this is high pressure. Note the 6th line down on the left indicating 120 payments at 17.99%. What a great way to start life after bankruptcy.
I brought up the “no-pressure card” again to Sophie and that Lauren had said I was entitled to a “no-pressure card” because I was somewhat related to the person who booked my stay with them. Sophie confirmed my suspicion that there is no such thing as a “no-high-pressure card” by saying she had no idea what I was talking about. I told Sophie (pretty sternly) that I WAS NOT INTERESTED. She asked if I felt I was being pressured.
This all occurred over 2 ½ hours and I think it ended only because I got stern with her and used the words “high pressure” hoping it would register.
On Friday Ron will explain why he feels the ARDA Code of Ethics doesn’t exist and Wyndham’s hardship department is fictional. I sent Wyndham a draft of this article for comment, but they did not respond. I can put them in touch with Ron if they would like to review his case.
I encourage those who feel they have experienced unfair and deceptive sales practices to join one of the self-help support groups listed below. There’s a new Wyndham Facebook page which is member/sponsored.
Thank you, Theresa, for your contribution, it is a story that I would think is familiar to all our readers and one that we at Inside Timeshare have highlighted on many occasions. Once again we see sales agents using practices which can only be described as despicable and underhand, yet what does senior management do? Allows them to continue.
That is all for today, join us tomorrow for Part Five of our continuing “saga” of Silverpoint exposed.