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Exclusive Breaking News: The Truth Behind Silverpoint Exposed (Part Four)

Welcome to Part Four of Silverpoint the Truth Exposed, the previous articles laid out the foundation and the history of the Bob Trotta Empire, the employment of Kwang Boon Sim and the myriad of companies he founded to whisk away millions for Trotta. We also looked at how with the death of Bob, his family began to split over the inheritance and also the introduction of Alex Lawson, who is charged with liquidating the companies to protect the Trotta fortune. Today we go into a little more detail and introduce the Limora Group, we do have even more detailed information on file which we are unable to publish at present.

So, here we go with another chapter in the Hollywood Blockbuster “The Rise and Fall of the Trotta Empire”.

Kwang Boon Sim

The Limora Group, the company at the head of all the other companies which are just what are known as “shell Companies”, the puròse of which is to distract the authorities making it very hard work to keep track of and trace the money.

The trust operates most of its companies in Panama and The British Virgin Islands as these are jurisdictions known for secrecy, for a long time it worked, however, like all people driven by greed, eventually one makes mistakes and a recent one was by Alex Lawson along with his team to put Excel Overseas Holdings into liquidation.

Based in Dubai, Excel Overseas Holdings had created the product ELPP (Excel Lodgings Participation Program), with hundreds of people purchasing these participations. In the first year, all seemed to be good with all those putting money in getting what they expected.

Excel Overseas Holdings used the money from other consumers to help keep the various group companies in business and in total around 10 million was taken by Excel Overseas Holdings. EOH, are part of the Limora Investment group of companies.

Alex Lawson, the children being represented by Doug Campbell a former CEO, Ragni Trotta and the Alvarez team decided they did not want to honour the promises made to innocent customers and applied to the court in the BVI to put the company into provisional liquidation, claiming that Excel could not meet their obligations and that somehow the management had done something wrong. In reality, the family, the bank that owned the trust and the Lawson team of executive “highwaymen” decided it would be a good idea to “rob” consumers of their hard earned money, all so they could use it to continue to fund their luxurious lifestyle in the mountains of Colorado and the rolling hills of Tuscany.

It must not be forgotten that Alvarez and Marsal are able to charge huge amounts of fees by acting in this way, so everyone is happy except that is for the hundreds of worried consumers who have paid with their hard earned cash and trusted the company!

In keeping with their “modus operandi” Alvarez and Marsal appointed themselves as liquidators, all so they could keep a very tight lid on what actually happened to the money and who the company was that Excel owed money to!

The fact the debts of Excel Overseas Holdings are, yes, you guessed it, a company owned by the same people and therefore cannot be used as a reason to close down the company, especially when in the process it hurts real people. This complete lack of morality seems to have been lost on the Trotta family, Kwang Sim and Alex Lawson. It is strange that Kwang Sim who was a director of Excel Overseas Holdings and one of the “masterminds” of the ELPP, seems to have been omitted from the letter which Alvarez has sent to pariticipants of the ELPP. Instead, they have set out a carefully crafted letter which was intended to imply the program was not set up properly, In fact, the agreements contained within the program were exclusive with “Limora related companies”!

Alex Lawson

Alex Lawson and his team are making a complete mockery of the corporate legal system and all with the sole intention of avoiding their consumer obligations, aiding and abetting the greedy Trotta family in their bid to keep a few more millions.

The Team at Inside Timeshare have it on very good authority that criminal and civil proceedings are being planned against the bank, Kwang Boon Sim and the team at Alvarez for their part in this well-orchestrated conspiracy.

What is a very big shame in this whole affair, is that some of the people who introduced consumers into the program in good faith are now being informed by Alvarez that they are not allowed to even talk to participants when they make contact about their worries. No doubt, this is so Alvarez, Kwang Sim and the Trotta family, watched very carefully by the bank, can control the information and attempt to contain the fallout!

Gran Cayman, home of Alex Lawson

Here at Inside Timeshare, we will do whatever it takes to expose the truth along with the legal teams who are working hard building strong evidence to put the instigators in jail. Kwang Sim is currently hiding out in his million-pound mansion in the UK, while, Alex Lawson enjoys his paradise lifestyle on the sun-kissed island of Grand Cayman, but for how long?

Justice is on its way Gentlemen!

Join us on Wednesday for Part Five of this unbelievable but true story. If you have purchased any product from any of the companies mentioned in these articles and would like to know where you stand legally, then use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will point you in the right direction.

Exclusive Breaking News: The Truth Behind Silverpoint Exposed (Part Three)

Welcome to Part Three of Silverpoint and the truth exposed, in the first two parts we explained the history of the Trotta family fortune adeptly handled by the financial fixer Kwang Boon Sim. This story certainly has all the hallmarks of a Hollywood Blockbuster movie on organised crime of epic proportions, in some respects if this went to a producer they would more than likely say that it was a pure work of fiction and could never happen in real life. Well, unfortunately, it is all too true!

In this episode, we now see that it is time for sheer greed to take over, with the Trotta children and a jealous wife who has been cut out of the will to begin their fight over the ill-gotten gains.

Kwang Boon Sim

After selling the hotel in Italy for 0ver 40 million euros to a wealthy Asian company, the true picture of the issues begin to emerge. Having extracted over 15 million for Bob and his family in the run-up to his death and the stripping of the cash flow from the company, Kwang Sim now found it difficult to replace the funds, along with the consumer promises to fulfill along with the various other obligations around the world, the trust and the family brought in Alvarez and Marsal of the Cayman Islands to see what could be saved. There was also another motive, they needed to see what options were open to them to avoid spending their inheritance.

What happened next is incredible and almost more deceitful than the 100 million that was extracted and moved around the group without the various local governments taking their rightful and lawful share.

It is a fact that no one likes having to pay tax, but Kwang Sim is a mastermind in this field and would put the people involved in the Panama Papers to shame. It is fair to say that Kwang Sim knew full well about how much trouble he was in with the arrival of Alvarez and Marsal, he began frantically covering his tracks and began the process of going into hiding.

Alvarez and Marsal is a large insolvency company, also known for asset stripping, which is the process of breaking down companies and stripping them of any value. In essence, they are just corporate debt collectors in thousand dollar lawsuits, earning millions in fees while breaking up companies with people losing their jobs!

They were employed by the bank and the Trotta family in order to create as much wealth for the family as possible, regardless of the consequences to people who had placed their hard earned money into the company and purchasing their products over the years.

The team at Alvarez is led by Alex Lawson, an Australian living in the Cayman Islands, this is another well-known haunt of many international tax avoiders as well as big-time criminals. The Cayman Islands is also a base for many small private banks and the Caymans is very widely regarded as a base for depositing billions in ill-gotten gains.

Alex Lawson

It is no surprise then that Alex Lawson chose to base himself there and set up the branch of Alvarez in early 2019. His position as managing Director now put him at the forefront of the process and the Trotta deal was his first big assignment. In order to make a name for himself, he sat with Kwang Sim and planned on how to break up the company with the sole purpose of saving the Trotta family fortune, regardless of who would suffer.

It was up to Kwang Sim to explain to Lawson how he and Bob Trotta had run the global finances. Bob Trotta’s empire by this time spanned the globe with businesses in Spain, Malta, Italy, Thailand, Singapore and the USA. It was employing hundreds of people around the world along with tens of thousands of owners and members. The plan created by Kwang Sim and Alex Lawson was truly a master plan of deceit and deception. Just like all illusionists, the plan was to create local “fall guys” while at the same time protecting those who put the plans together and executed them in painstaking detail. All the time trying to avoid obligations that existed with hundreds and thousands of innocent consumers.

This was a decision made by the bank who owns the trust along with the endorsement of the family which was then ruthlessly executed by Kwang Sim along with Alex Lawson and his team.

Kwang Sim made a deal with Alvarez and Marsal that he would not be dragged into any issues in return for helping Lawson to execute the plan. Having assessed the obligations which existed, Alex Lawson and Kwang Sim started the liquidation process, the means of which was the use of intercompany debts to justify the placing of the companies into liquidation, thus cheating consumers out of their rightful returns or the ability to use the products they had purchased with their hard earned cash.

Limora Investments was the first of the companies to be placed into liquidation. In a move that can only be described as incredible, money that had been sent “TAX-FREE” as a loan to the parent company and ultimately to the bank, was now being used as a “DEBT” in order to induce the liquidation process.

This is an obvious case of corporate manipulation being endorsed by what many would consider as a “reputable bank”. Inside Timeshare sources explain that the leaders of the bank are absolutely terrified that the truth will be exposed showing their complicity which could have the potential of them losing their banking license and the individuals who are running the trust being charged with very serious crimes.

The one thing that is certain is that they are desperately trying to cover their tracks and placing the blame on the people running the business of mismanagement.

As with all illusionists this fraud is using sleight of hand techniques and this is something that they are very adept at doing. The bank itself is no better than those people you see on the streets of London or any other city tricking the unsuspecting tourist into finding the ball under one of the cups!

A recent affidavit which is full of inaccuracies and downright false statements is an attempt to cover up what Kwang Sim, Alex Lawson and his team are doing have not taken into account the investigative journalists at Inside Timeshare to uncover the truth for their readers and expose their devious plan.

We mentioned earlier that we believe we have uncovered a recurring pattern of how Kwang Sim has moved money around the world, with much of that money being “loaned” from one company to another without any plans for repayment.

Unless these “loans” are repaid with market rate interest, the authorities will see these as dividends but Kwang Sim’s complex web of offshore companies have made them very difficult to track. In the end, this group of companies have around £50,000,000 yes that is correct 50 million pounds of intercompany debt and Alex Lawson with his team are working their way through a myriad and tangled web of companies, taking over directorships and then declaring them insolvent.

This means that Lawson and his team assess the company’s ability to repay its obligations of the loan and finds them unable to, however, the debt is just to themselves!

This means they are in control of the company that is owed the debt, but on the one hand, they call in the loan and on the other they claim they are unable to pay. Then we have the final piece of the jigsaw puzzle, Alvarez and Marsal appoint themselves as the liquidators in order to strip the companies of all assets while also avoiding any debts to anyone else that is not part of the “family!”

So that is the end of Part Three, a story that many will believe is a script for Hollywood, join us again on Monday for Part Four in this unbelievable tale of intrigue, manipulation, deceit and fraudulent money laundering.

If you have purchased any product from Silverpoint, be it standard timeshare, investment packs or the company participation scheme and want to know your legal rights in retrieving your money, then use our contact page and we will get back to you and show you what options are open to you. Now is the time to do this for tomorrow may be too late.

The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Tuesday Slot, once again Irene Parker highlights another complaint and explains how it should be written. This is just one in the hundreds that Inside Timeshare has been receiving, all have the same hallmarks, so it does make you wonder that if all these people are saying the same thing, yet none of them knows each other, something must be wrong. The Timeshare Industry needs to take note of these articles and ensure that their sales agents tell the truth. We can only live in hope.

How to Write a Clear and Concise Complaint

Lesson 39 from the Free at Last Timeshare Support Course

http://www.udprep.info/

All proceeds benefit the nonprofit Straight-A Guide

By Irene Parker

June 11, 2019

The first step in any complaint process is to prepare a clear and concise complaint. Complaints received by Inside Timeshare are almost always confusing, like someone describing a car accident they just witnessed. When a timeshare member contacts Inside Timeshare with a timeshare complaint, to understand the complaint, I frequently ask, “What do you mean by that?” or “Can you provide an example?”

I selected the complaint below as an example of a before and after complaint because the deception reported is brazen and easy to understand. The complaint is an actual complaint.

The member reported that they were told in order to be eligible for the company’s Voluntary Surrender program they would have to buy additional points. This was not true. Another member was told they would have to convert their deeded timeshare to points to be eligible. This was not true either.

A responsible exit program offered by the developer doesn’t help someone who learns they were duped just days or months after purchase.

Tina’s complaint is not resolved so we will not identify the member or the timeshare company. I have changed their names.

Tina said they were told they had to upgrade from one loyalty program to the next to be eligible for the company’s Voluntary Surrender program. They had been struggling to make the high interest rate loan payments. By selling them more points, the sales agent forced insolvency.

To prepare her complaint, I advised Tina not to use words like lie or scam. Put yourself in the reader’s perspective. Emotional words that cannot be proven will turn off your reader. Even if you were scammed, your mission is to write up what happened to explain why you feel you experienced unfair and deceptive sales practices. Highlighted in red are my suggestions and the reasons why I felt my suggestion would make the complaint more clear and concise.            

Tina and Tony’s complaint as prepared by Tina

Tina and Tony Smith

Our California address

Our Phone Number

June 5, 2019

To Customer Service, ARDA ROC, CEO, sales agent

Tina had started her complaint with “To whom it may concern.” Send your complaint to specific individuals or organizations. The timeshare PAC ARDA ROC does not mediate disputes but they have a code of ethics.

We are writing to demand that our last two contracts below be cancelled due to fraudulent and negligent misrepresentations that took place in Las Vegas.

Tina and Tony made four purchases. They were so angry they wanted all their contracts cancelled. It is unlikely a developer will cancel all contracts, especially those over a year old. However, if told the timeshare was like real estate and easy to sell, the member doesn’t know they were lied to until they try to sell the timeshare.   

We were deeded timeshare owners before we were falsely told we had to give up our deed and buy points. We were free and clear of any loans before buying points.

  1. In 2013 we purchased 15,000 points with sales agents N S in Las Vegas for $25,750.
  2. In 2014 we purchased 7,500 points for $24,630 in Las Vegas from Sales Agent J G.
  3. In 2016 (Contract #xxx) we purchased 7,500 points for $23,925 in Las Vegas for 7,500 points with the same Sales Agent J G.
  4. In 2018 (Contract #xxx) we purchased 8,500 points for $26,105 in Las Vegas from sales Agent R S and Manager M G (J. G’s brother.)

Our third purchase in 2016 was our second purchase from J G. The concierge said we had to attend a mandatory update meeting.

(They were not on a promotional trip. It was not mandatory to attend the meeting).

He told us if we declined the update they will be forced to have us pay for our stay even though we had booked our stay with points.

I suggested they delete “the meeting had lasted well over 1-hour” because all timeshare meetings are over one hour. Unless the meeting lasted five hours or more, it will have no bearing on a complaint.

We said that we were fine with what we had. We didn’t need any more points. J G said if we don’t upgrade now we will lose special pricing. We remembered he said the same thing in 2014, but the numbers he presented looked so good.  

We repeated ourselves and stated we are helping our daughter in college, and we don’t have extra cash. He said, “You can put the down payment on a credit card. This is a one-time deal. You will be losing thousands of dollars if you don’t accept today.”

We said over and over that we are not people who make that much money. I’m a stay at home mom who takes care of foster children and my own children. Our priority with our finances is to help our daughter with college. J G said our points will appreciate just like real estate and said that he uses the interest paid on the loan as a tax write-off.

Points do not appreciate and the interest cannot be written off. It was okay to say we are not people who make that much money in this context, but “I can’t afford it” is not a valid reason for release, any more than you can go to your home mortgage lender and say, “I can’t afford this.”

At our last Upgrade in 2018 in Las Vegas we purchased 8,500 points for $26,105 in from R S and manager M G. The accumulated loan balance is $80,117.99.

It’s best to isolate the numbers because when they get too mushed in a narration they lose meaning.

It was stated that if we pay in full over the course of the period our loan amount would increase to a total of $152,301.30. Our maintenance fees are $6,897.77. We pay our fees monthly with a credit card because it is too much for us.

The member here is referring, I think, to the total amount they would have to pay if the loan went to maturity. It’s not meaningful to mention this amount because the total amount of any loan with interest is staggering. In addition, it’s the buyer’s responsibility to read the purchase agreement. This information is clearly stated on that agreement.

I told them to delete mentioning maintenance fees.  Mentioning maintenance fees really has no bearing on anyone’s complaint unless it involves an allegation that the member was promised the maintenance fees would go down if they purchased additional points, but they went up.   

This upgrade was done with R S, and his supervisor M G. We again said we did not want to attend. We were on vacation and did not want to be bothered. Again, concierge told us we needed to attend or our stay will be charged.

R S proceeded to show us how much an upgrade would cost. I told him I wanted out of the timeshare. We had heard about and wanted to look into the company’s voluntary surrender program.

He told us that in order to be eligible for The Voluntary Surrender program we needed to upgrade to have enough points to be eligible.

This is real deceit. This voluntary surrender program does not require purchasing any additional points.

He showed us numbers on how much our timeshare company would pay us for our points if we become eligible for the Voluntary Surrender program. We asked why we needed to upgrade to be eligible. He said, “You have to be a Platinum member to be able to get out of our timeshare company.”

(In no way do you have to be a Platinum member to be eligible for this Voluntary Surrender program.)  

We stated we couldn’t afford this. We can barely afford to pay for our maintenance fees. He said “What’s another $300 more on your loan payment? That isn’t too much to upgrade in order to be able to get out.”

We repeatedly told the agents that we don’t even have the money for a down payment. He said we could look to see if there are credit cards available. I said, I don’t want to charge this, why do I have to put a down payment? He said, “We need a down payment because there is no other way to upgrade you guys without one.”  

He said once we upgraded, we would need to make a couple of payments before applying for the Voluntary Surrender program.

(The rescission period was dodged by telling them to wait a few months before applying.)

He came back and asked if we know anybody that has another timeshare we can put that on your file to become Platinum.

(This is in reference to a program that allows the member to include other timeshares. The points credited count towards Platinum status.)

I said my sister does. (Adding your sister’s timeshare does not qualify.) I asked him if this was normal. R said, yes of course and said to ask his manager M G. M G smiled and nodded when we asked as he was passing by, “Even if we don’t own the other timeshare?”

We made a few loan payments and then applied for the Voluntary Surrender program, per R’s instructions. We got denied because we had a loan. We were not informed the timeshare has to be paid in full to be eligible for the Voluntary Surrender program.

We called the company (on my advice) to ask why we are Platinum members if we only have 38,500 points. Platinum requires 50,000 timeshare points. The agents had said that we are Platinum because of adding my sister’s timeshare. They said it would be part of “Declared Inventory.” The company representative said that she never heard of this and would need to check into it. I was put on hold for so long, I hung up.

We thought and believed that we were signing a contract in good faith and that our agents were honest. They were not. We are a family of 6 with one income. We will no longer fight in silence and will do everything we can to help others in our situation by reaching out to the media and to Representative Katie Porter. I will be filing a complaint against R J G and M G with the Nevada real estate division, the Better Business Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission, the FBI, and others.

Please contact me if you wish to discuss our complaint,

Tina Smith

(The complaint should be signed by the family member best suited to deal with this mess)

Tina’s original complaint was one long paragraph. When you read published articles, paragraphs are usually short. When too many sentences run together you can lose your reader. I learned this from my editors at TheStreet, Jim Cramer’s investment news service. One editor often told me, “Don’t bury the lead!” meaning state up front what you want your reader to know. I still hear his voice in my ear when I have buried the lead.

I always suggest you have a friend or neighbor not familiar with your complaint read it to see if it makes sense. Only a handful of the 900 complaints I have read have made sense to me when I initially read them.

Thank you to Tina and Tony for sharing their timeshare financial disaster. We will follow along and let our readers’ know how this family fares.

Timeshare can be a great product for the right reasons and for the right family. When a timeshare member references a volume of online complaints, I tell the member that for every unhappy member, there are 100 who think the timeshare company is wonderful. They may not have been deceived. Just because there are honest agents, it doesn’t mean there are not dishonest agents that should be stopped. Those who have had a positive experience should not judge those who have experienced unfair and deceptive sales practices. There will always be those who blame the victim.  

Join one of the timeshare member support groups. If there are none suitable, consider starting one.

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.

https://www.facebook.com/timeshareadvocategroup/

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/consider-exchange-options/

Petition to reform timeshare

https://www.change.org/p/state-legislators-in-arizona-florida-and-nevada-demand-reform-of-the-timeshare-industry-s-unfair-and-deceptive-practices?fbclid=IwAR1n3m6kFW-xs6qtC4zKhHz1AC0gXWWDlBo2Ba6AWlXEPqlZsrIU2G-DU0A

Bluegreen Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180578055325962/

Wyndham Facebook

New: https://www.facebook.com/groups/376743609795740/  

Sapphire Starpoint New: https://www.facebook.com/login/?next=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fgroups%2F292083584642570%2F%3Fref%3Dshare

Diamond Resort Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DiamondResortsOwnersAdvocacy/

Gold Key Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639958046252175/

Related article: Complaint Instructions revised by a millennial member who resolved her timeshare dispute:

https://insidetimeshare.com/fridays-letter-from-america-39/

Thank you Irene, all we can hope for is that this dispute is resolved and that Tina and Tony can enjoy a stress free life outside of timeshare.

One thing we must point out, we are not anti-timeshare, we do believe that for many it could be a good product, it is the greed of the sales agents with the blatant use of untruths that is the problem. A problem that can only be solved by the timeshare companies themselves.

Exclusive Breaking News: The Truth Behind Silverpoint Exposed (Part Two)

Club Paradiso and Beverly Hills Club

Welcome to Inside Timeshare and the start of another week with Part Two of Silverpoint Exposed. In the last episode, we gave the background to the start of the Trotta Empire and introduced some of the main characters. Today we continue the story of an intricate web of companies the swift movement of funds and once again a Hollywood style family feud over the inheritance of the Trotta millions.

Kwang Sim was a master in subterfuge, he had set up such a complex network of companies and money trafficking routes a very detailed road map would be required to even get close to following it. Kwang himself continued with his own life happily giving his sermons to his Mormon congregation and ensuring his children went on the mandatory missions, all while carefully and deliberately planning to avoid Taxes at all costs.

With great care, he set up a structure using local law firms and employing local managers who had no actual control of the finances or of any financial activity. For Kwang, this would mean extensive travelling with monthly visits to Spain and then Asia where he was running the finance departments with an iron fist. He was, in essence, Bob Trotta’s “financial enforcer” making sure the funds were moved around the group of companies and ultimately ending up near a palm tree very close to a white sandy beach.

The Trust which is “owned” by a bank with Bob Trotta being the beneficiary used the bank which as recent strong evidence has shown, actively and willingly participated in assisting Kwang and Trotta in this complex web of lies and tax avoidance. It was Kwang who was the mastermind, but they were all complicit and knew exactly what was going on. All was running very smoothly until Bob’s death and the will would be read to the children and his wife Ragni.


Jennifer Trotta Campbell

Once again just like a scene from a Hollywood movie, the children, Jennifer Trotta Campbell, Erin Trotta Westfall gathered along with Douglas Campbell and Ragni Trotta at the plush Mayfair offices of Bob’s Lawyers. They were now going to hear about the 300 million they were about to inherit.


Erin Trotta Westfall

Listening to the legal advisors, they, the Trust and executors learned that Bob and Kwang had mismanaged the company funds and taking some very risky decisions prior to his death. This now puts the group of companies in a very precarious position.


Douglas Campbell

It also transpires at this meeting that Ragni learned she had been written out of the will, receiving only 10% of the estate! She was obviously furious. Although no one knows the details of the marriage from the outside it all seemed very rosy.

It has been rumoured by insiders that the marriage was in trouble, with a persistent rumour had for years been having a secret affair with her hunky Jamaican personal trainer. Just like something out of the hit TV show “Housewives of New York”, Ragni seems to have enjoyed a life of privilege with her wealthy older husband, while also enjoying some of the side benefits with her younger hunk. Sources have told us that Bob found out but did not want to be embarrassed publicly but would wait until he died to get his revenge. This has obviously caused huge rifts between her and the children.

Ragni Trotta

The unequal division of the spoils created a massive rift between the family and the trusted sidekick Kwang who was tasked with trying to keep the family together. Just like another TV show “The Sopranos”, the family looked to the deputy Kwang, to steady the ship, he then set about trying to organise the complex web which he had established.

This was not an easy task, even for Kwang, when you consider he had set up around 200 offshore companies in Panama and the British Virgin Islands. Panama and the BVI are considered fiscal paradises in Spain and the recent “Panama Papers” have only added to the challenges of keeping this structure going. To achieve the company’s goal of low taxes the local directors were not allowed any control of the bank accounts with only the London team of Kwang Sim and his later sidekicks of Ketan Patel and Colm Hayden were permitted to move any money.

Part Three will be published on Thursday 13 June.

Over the weekend Inside Timeshare has received further news on the problems of Club Paradiso members. As we explained on Friday, these members are being denied access to the Paramount – Club Paradiso. In another twist, we have since learned that although they are being moved to other resorts such as Hollywood Mirage and Beverly Hills Heights, they are being made to pay for the accommodation.

One client that has been in touch was told if he did not pay 900€ he would not be able to stay, this appears to be happening to others as well. It would seem that the paramount is only being closed to members of Club Paradiso.

The following is an extract from an email received by another of our readers when trying to book their own stay: “Unfortunately, as our inventory is under re-negotiations we unable to provide availability and confirm any new reservations at this time. We kindly advise that you contact us at the beginning of July when hopefully this has been resolved. We are sorry that we cannot be of more assistance at this time and apologise for any inconvenience”.

This does look like an escalation in the arguments between Excel and Silverpoint with the members being the one caught in the firing line.

Have you purchased any product from Silverpoint and want to know what your legal position is?

Then use our contact page and we will get back to you with the best information possible.

Friday’s Letter from America

Welcome to this week’s Letter from America, today’s article by Irene Parker explores the Whistleblowers of America Code of Ethics. A Code of Ethics is meant to be lived by. In timeshare, a Code of Ethics has been something to write and post on your website, but never seem to be followed. It doesn’t help that 200 or so of our readers who have reported violations in ARDA‘s Code of Ethics have been dismissed by the very executives that sit on their board. We take our hats are off to Whistleblowers of America for taking a Code of Ethics seriously. But then Whistleblowers are not in it for the money.

Hollywood Mirage Club

Inside Timeshare has been asked by an independent member of the committee at Hollywood Mirage Club for members to make contact with him as soon as possible. He and one other will be standing for election to the full committee at the AGM at the end of June. The unfortunate thing is that they have been told that there is “no mechanism” for them to contact other members with the Secretary stating he will not allow it under the GDPR (The EU General Data Protection Regulation). A move obviously designed to control the voting, but Article 47 of the GDPR “fully considers the right of members of groups (clubs) to communicate with each other”.

To make contact directly with this member who is standing please use our contact page and we will send you his contact details privately. It is in your interest to get together and have your say.

Now for Irene’s article.

Whistleblowers of America Code of Ethics

As Applied to Timeshare Support Mentors

Information about the 8th Annual WhistleBlower Summit and Film Festival to be held in Washington D.C. July 28 – August 1:

http://whistleblowersummit.com/

By Irene Parker

Friday, June 7

A Whistleblower is normally a person associated with a corporation or government agency that blows the whistle on wrongdoing as it pertains to waste, fraud and abuse, medical errors and wrongful death. You would not think an old lady crying from the rooftops of Florida about vacation plans would qualify, yet the harm done to veterans and active duty service members on the receiving end of a fraudulent timeshare sale has financially, emotionally, and physically, harmed many. Of the 841 families who have reached out to us, 106 are veterans and active duty.

We are asking for your signature on this petition for reform. You don’t have to be a timeshare member to sign.

https://www.change.org/p/state-legislators-in-arizona-florida-and-nevada-demand-reform-of-the-timeshare-industry-s-unfair-and-deceptive-practices

A grown daughter contacted me on behalf of her Bronze Star recipient father. She could not answer all my questions about the timeshare, so I told her to ask her father about it. He had a heart attack when they were discussing it, and at the ER, the doctor noted he had a heart attack two years prior when asked about his timeshare. Her parents are the kind of people who saved up and paid cash for cars, He and his wife had been upsold to the point he had to take out a reverse mortgage because he could not afford the timeshare loan payments. He said every time he walked in the front door, he felt like he was losing his home. A Navy veteran declared bankruptcy. He had been upsold to $2,700 a month in timeshare loan payments, living on his letter carrier’s pension, charging to a number of credit cards before his grown daughter found out.

Whistleblowers of America’s Code of Ethics spoke to me. I thought to myself, “Guilty as charged!” as I read through them.

It’s not easy to live in a state of constant anger, moved by the voices of those desperate and deceived. The only thing that keeps me going is hearing the voice turn from a desperate voice to an empowered voice.

From the Whistleblowers of America Code of Ethics:

  • Counter-balancing dysfunction responses to wrongdoing with informed advocacy and resilience, skill building is the cornerstone of interactions,
  • Understand legal processes and procedures, a guide in problem solving and decision making to overcome toxic tactics.

I employ skills I learned at CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) writing court reports for Family Court judges and interested parties to make a determination as to the best outcome for a child in state care.

I learned an important lesson from my husband Don, a pharmaceutical researcher. The first thing a pharmaceutical company will do if they don’t like a lab’s answers, that would allow the launch of a billion dollar a year drug, is to blame the lab. Don told me to fight with data, not words.

A mentor needs to know their boundaries.

I don’t know if I speak for all whistleblowers, but I think there is a tendency to become over-involved, breaking through necessary boundaries. I will share an example of how I overstepped mine, but in the heat of the battle, we bend rules.

A Harvard graduate and fellow Rotarian turned out to be a brute holding a Korean lady hostage. Thankfully, another fellow Rotarian was our chief of police. He helped me rescue the mom and their toddler. Major Ganot of the Salvation Army was also in my Rotary Club. She could be a Major in anyone’s army after spending a couple decades in Haiti.

Mom and child stayed with us before we returned them both back to Korea. Mom had been a manager of Duty Free shops in Korea before coming to America. Her parents were math teachers at a university. The first night at our house I heard the child screaming. I went to ask mom what the child wanted. Mom replied, “Irene,” the child grabbed my neck and clung. Dad also had child porn on his computer. The police chief found THC in the refrigerator which mom said he used to put on his pancakes. He had DTs and once dropped the child at a Rotary function.

The advice Major Ganot gave to me is the advice all mentees and mentors should heed. “You are less effective if you become part of the storm.” Doctors call this intellectualization, in that if they went into a tailspin every time they lost a patient, they would lose effectiveness. This doesn’t mean the doctor doesn’t care. It means he or she must put their role is perspective.    

In psychology, intellectualization is a defense mechanism by which reasoning is used to block confrontation with an unconscious conflict and its associated emotional stress – where thinking is used to avoid feeling.[1] It involves removing one’s self, emotionally, from a stressful event.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellectualization

Whistleblowers of America Code: Ethical Standard #2

Shared Experience Rapport

I appreciate more than ever the fidelity of “Semper fi” that exists among those battling a common enemy. Lifelong friendships have blossomed and grown. Once a timeshare dispute has been resolved, we encourage the person made whole, or as whole as possible, join our efforts to respond to others.

The moto of Whistleblowers of America is Speak Truth to Power. I would like to add to that the headline this reporter used in his investigative report about ALEC, a powerful lobby. The television reporter led with “Holding the powerful accountable” and I see “Holding the powerful accountable” as the next step after speaking truth to power.

Ethical Standard #5 Non-judgement A mentor needs to be reflective and inquisitive, but not judgmental. A mentor does not adjudicate. They facilitate problem solving rather than solve the problem.

An obstacle to resolving any dispute is getting your opponent to listen, as opposed to just hearing what the other person is attempting to communicate. Callous customer service representatives “hear” the complainant and respond, “You signed a contract.”

They don’t listen. Leadership coach Stephen R. Covey said it best:

11. Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”

https://www.inc.com/dave-kerpen/15-quotes-to-inspire-you-to-become-a-better-listener.html

My collaborator Michael Santos at Straight-A Guide, teaches how self-advocacy can overcome struggle. The outcome may not be what you expected. It may not be the outcome you wanted, but staying the course with determination, and making the most of available resources, is part and parcel of advocacy and self-advocacy. A Whistleblower needs both as they must advocate for their cause, and they must advocate for themselves.

Ethical Standard #11Self-care

The words “disengage when necessary” hit me like a dagger. I hear from one to five infuriated timeshare members a day, seven days a week. The unhappy emails outweigh the “we did it!” emails. Resiliency is a word often mentioned in whistleblowing. Hurtful potshots from our opponents can weigh us down or sharpen our sword. Author Carlos Castaneda, a student of Yaqui Indian Don Juan, described them as petty tyrants.

I have a friend in Sedona by the name of Pete Sanders, a Navy veteran. A technic I learned from Pete, during one of his Free Soul sessions, taught me how to find my brain’s Limbic Center and Joy Center. As I understood Pete’s lecture, you can shift your negative thoughts by employing Pete’s techniques.

The limbic center is somewhere behind the eyes and between the ears. It’s kind of a negative thought center. Think about a time you were so angry that you were acting out in front of your spouse and kids. All of a sudden the doorbell rings and you snap into normalcy. According to Pete, you have shifted negative thoughts from your Limbic Center, to somewhere in the frontal lobe of the cerebral cortex, the Joy Center, a compartment that holds positive thoughts. I took a class in head and neck anatomy and two semesters of A & P, but I’m getting out of my depth.  But trust me; even if I have botched the explanation, it works. I swear that I can feel the “half empty/half full” feeling before and after shifting the same thought.

Pete Sanders of Free Soul

Pete Sanders is an honors graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology with principle studies in BioMedical Chemistry and Brain Science. Accepted to Harvard Medical School, he chose instead to pursue independent mind/body potentials research. That quest led to a revolutionary discovery: how to directly stimulate the brain’s natural mood-elevation mechanisms.

This technique provides a natural alternative to using alcohol, nicotine, drugs, or overeating for coping with life’s challenges. It gives you a method to enhance your feeling of well-being without being dependent on achievement or relationship success.

I look forward to this year’s Whistleblower Summit. I didn’t attend the Whistleblower Summit last year because I thought I was a whistleblower. I attended on behalf of the veterans and active duty service members harmed by timeshare. An active duty service member can lose his security clearance and his career over a mortgage foreclosure, so don’t think timeshare is a silly topic. One Marine lost his air unit command over a timeshare loan foreclosure.

There are laws protecting traditional whistleblowers, but not individuals. I’m alone. But an individual is alone only if they don’t reach out to other whistleblowers for help and support. Rosa Parks was one person who committed a courageous and dangerous act. She sat in the front of the bus. It was a small act, but possibly inspired by the actions and words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King was not so naïve as to think he was going to resolve racial divide once and for all. He knew this problem would not likely be solved in his lifetime. That did not deter his efforts.

One financial journalist called me a gadfly. “You’re nothing but a gadfly to this timeshare company,” he sneered. I looked up the definition.  

The original definition was an insect that stings cattle. Somewhere around the Middle Ages, in England, the meaning of gadfly morphed into “an annoying person who spurs others to action.”

I’m okay with being a gadfly. When I told my Free Soul Florida mate, attorney Mike Finn, that the journalist called me a gadfly, Mr Finn suggested an adjective, “How about the Green Gadfly?” “Like the Green Hornet?” I responded.

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to explain to the attorneys who deposed me for six hours why Mr. Finn calls me gg. The deposition serves as an example of retaliation. I enjoyed explaining to my interrogator lawyer why I am called gg. Gallows Humor, or Humour, as my British collaborator would spell, should be included as a defense mechanism to Ethical Sandard  #11 Self-care . Humor really can be our best medicine.

Thank you to Whistleblowers of America for your support because this is not easy. My twilight years are anything but relaxing.       

https://whistleblowersofamerica.org/

Statement of

Ms. Jacqueline Garrick, LCSW-C

Executive Director

Whistleblowers of America

Before the

Committees on Veterans’ Affairs

U.S. Senate

U.S. House of Representatives

March 14, 2018

Excerpt from report:

Fraud and Scams Against Veterans:

Although WoA recognizes that it is not inherent within the VA mission to protect veterans from fraud and scams that could cost them their benefits, it suggests that it could be assistive in educating veterans against these unscrupulous tactics. For example, WoA has had multiple complaints from veterans related to timeshare deceit and bait and switch tactics, which are defined by the FBI as fraud for profit.  Often elderly veterans are mentioned as being targeted by the Timeshare Advocacy Group, TM which fights for active duty and retired military who fear losing their security clearance, career, homes or other assets.  Foreclosures and financial distress because of these misrepresented investments are happening every day to elderly disabled veterans and their families. In the past, VA has cooperated with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) over mortgage and other loan scams that caused financial hardships for veterans.  Home loans and timeshare loans are identical as both are reported as foreclosures. WoA asks that Congress consider a role for the VBA Employment and Economic Initiative (EEI) could play in cooperation with CFPB to educate and protect veterans from unscrupulous financial predators and fraudulent practices.

Thank you, Irene, for all your hard work in getting these articles ready, along with all the work you do helping those with problems, you are a thorn in the side of the timeshare industry, as well as a Green Gadfly, but you are our thorn and our Green Gadfly!

Paramount – Club Paradiso Tenerife

Information has been received by Inside Timeshare that the resort known as Paramount – Club Paradiso has closed. Those with bookings have been refused entry on arrival and moved to other resorts such as Hollywood Mirage and Beverly Hills Heights.

The telephone is on constant voicemail and the website is no longer working

Telephone: +34 922 787 650

https://www.clubparadiso.com

If you have purchased any product such as standard timeshare, investment packs, company participations or Keys Concierge use our contact page and get in touch. Inside Timeshare will explain your options and point you in the right direction.

That is all for this week, join us again on Monday for Part Two of Exclusive Breaking News: The Truth Behind Silverpoint Exposed.

Have a great weekend.

Wise old dog

Exclusive Breaking News: The Truth Behind Silverpoint Exposed (Part One)

Hollywood Mirage and Beverley Hills Heights

Over the next few weeks Inside Timeshare will be publishing exclusive information on the complex setup of one of the largest timeshare empires in Europe, we all know it as Silverpoint. Behind it was the late Bob Trotta, who as you will see in each article along with his cronies was very adept at moving his enormous wealth around. Today we start with a little background and introduce the major character in this very elaborate financial game.

In the early 1980s, Bob Trotta founded the company Resort Properties based in Tenerife, the first stage in establishing one of the largest timeshare companies in Europe. He was very much seen as one of the founding fathers of the timeshare industry in Europe and built 4 resorts in Tenerife, selling around 200 Million Pounds worth of timeshare, becoming a millionaire in the process.

Bob Trotta married for a second time to Ragni a Norwegian lady who was a former Timeshare Marketing person living in Tenerife. On leaving Tenerife they relocated to London where they enjoyed Non-Domicile Tax Status.

Ragni and Bob Trotta

Setting up his Global HQ in the UK with offices in the exclusive area of Mayfair, Bob and Ragni certainly enjoyed the high life, living in their multi-million-pound townhouse in Chelsea and driving the very best Aston Martins.

We now introduce into the picture one person who was to become one of the most important and influential people in the Trotta Empire, Kwang Boon Sim.

Kwang was hired with only one purpose in mind, NOT TO PAY ANY TAX. As you will see, he was the mastermind behind the huge and complex web of offshore companies which exist today, using a very clever offshore trust.

The trust which is owned by a bank with Bob Trotta and his wife Ragni being the sole beneficiaries and controllers of the trust until his death in December 2017.

Kwang Sim is well known in the timeshare industry and is affectionately known as “The Chinaman” or “El Chino”. Kwang gives the impression of being a very religious man, with ties to the Mormon Church where he works as a Mormon Bishop. It looks like a script from a James Bond movie, when a “clever American Tycoon” brings in another equally clever man masquerading as a religious leader (Licence to Kill comes to mind), who very quietly and stealthily creates a very complex web of offshore havens with the sole intent on depriving many local economies and countries of their rightful and lawful tax.

It has certainly done the job, over the years Kwang managed to avoid paying any tax and moved 10’s of millions of pounds from one lot of companies through the web of others into tax havens disguised as intercompany loans. The local managers of these companies had no control over the money or what happened to it. It was Kwang who controlled and ran the financial department from his Mayfair HQ with what can only be described as an “Iron Fist”.

Kwang Boon Sim “The Chinaman or El Chino”

In order to avoid the ever-prying eyes of the US tax authorities who have a policy and reputation for worldwide taxation of their citizens, Bob Trotta gave up his US citizenship. He took up Italian citizenship (again this could be the setting for another movie) living like a true Italian mobster in a huge mansion set in the estate of his hotel the Luxurious Castello Del Nero.

Bob and Ragni were living like a king and queen in their estate reputedly worth around 10 million pounds. The estate was set in 700 acres of rolling Tuscan countryside, all within the grounds of their Hotel worth 50 Million Euros. All the while Kwang kept the funds flowing into Panama and the British Virgin Islands

Bob along with his two daughters Jennifer and Erin Trotta spent the long summers in Italy with their respective families. One of the husbands (Jennifer’s) Douglas Campbell was for a while the groups CEO making sure the family fortunes were protected, all under the watchful eye of his mentor “El Chino”

That brings us to the end of this opening chapter and part one of our story, join us again on Monday 10 June for part two, where we find that all was not as cosy with the family as many were led to believe, greed plays its part.

Did you purchase a timeshare from Resort Properties then Silverpoint, did you get involved with the “investment packs” or the later incarnation “company participations” and “Excel Overseas Lodging Participation Programme“?

If you can answer yes, then get in touch with Inside Timeshare through our contact page, we will explain where you legally stand and point you in the right direction to claim back your money and have your contracts declared null and void.

Now is the time to act.

The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to this weeks Tuesday Slot, today we have an article by an Industry Observer, who we have kept anonymous as per their wishes, the question posed is How is a Timeshare Point Valued? Our writer begins with the question “Why does Spain not allow points-based perpetual contracts?” As you read the article the answer to that question does become very apparent.

So on with this weeks article.

How is a Timeshare Point Valued?

June 4, 2019

I created a Spreadsheet after we bought points back in 2004 to see if I was getting my money’s worth. I added in maintenance fees. Not sure if I’m right but the bottom line was the only value the points have is if you use them. I went to numerous free weekends. I figured I should count those. Our bottom line average is around $95 a night. Usually, we could get through painful sales pitches quickly but our last visit to Vegas turned into abduction. I figure they are getting desperate. If you bought thinking these points had value beyond their sales pitch you were sadly mistaken. If the timeshare industry wants to survive and thrive they better create a secondary market and quickly. The competition is fierce. Websites like VRBO provide lots of options for less than your annual maintenance fee. Quality will be all over the map. Tim Dugan’s Facebook post

By an Industry Observer

Why does Spain not allow points-based perpetual timeshare contracts? In America, we think we have a lot going for us. After all, “we” invented the internet after inventing the computer. “We” invented baseball, Mickey Mouse, and McDonald’s. And “we” blessed the world with Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Harrison Ford, and Clint Eastwood….

Do “we” have the best of everything? No way… We have bad highways. Some of our bridges are crumbling. Our national debt is ballooning. We can’t agree on immigration.  Our politicians constantly bicker.

“We the people” are supposed to have government agencies that protect us from threats inside and outside our borders – like the FAA (air travel), the FBI (crime), FDA (food and drug), DEA (drug enforcement), and CIA (foreign threats), to name a few.  

Do “we” have a Vacations and Timeshare (VAT) agency to protect timeshare buyers? No, we don’t. Timeshare and vacation companies are regulated by individual states. There has been no action on the part of the Federal Trade Commission to step in. It is “buyers beware” on that venue.   

There are some ominous and problematic indicators. Timeshare companies, at least two, are reporting loan loss provisions greater than 20%. If we calculated the actual dollar amount of foreclosed timeshare loans, given enormous revenue streams, the dollar amount would be staggering. This is just an accounting line item to the industry players, but the loan loss number includes a multitude of seniors and veteran families financially devastated after being up-sold into high-interest rate loans and higher interest rate credit cards. For those who maintained high lifelong credit scores, the foreclosure process is demeaning and degrading. Many have reported unfair and deceptive sales practices.  

Wyndham has increased its loan loss provision to 21%, as reported by Jason Garcia at The Florida Trend:

Timeshare Companies and Exit Companies are Blaming Each Other for Rising Default Rates

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 loaned.

https://www.tetli-institute.com/scrapping-timeshare-usa-26102018

Diamond Resorts International Inc. has been downgraded to CCC+ on very high anticipated leverage. Their outlook is negative, as reported by AC INVEST.

https://www.ademcetinkaya.com/2019/04/diamond-resorts-international-inc.html?fbclid=IwAR1gO6Z6cI-emaClmHkccP4_8XWyOpJYRgJsN40Pd0ydbr1e7DifJW76PZE

Timeshare CEOs don’t seem very worried about rising defaults touting increased sales and an increase in first-time buyers. A circle of sell, up-sell, foreclose and sell the same points again and again ensues. And points don’t depreciate like a car. It’s a cash cow.

Timeshare operators have been adept at capitalizing on the limited protections afforded their prospects. They’ve adopted:

  1. The same day sale, after a gruelling sales session,
  2. Electronic signing, difficult for even the most technically savvy to read,
  3. Perpetual contracts, accompanied by rising maintenance fees,
  4. No secondary market,
  5. Pitfalls, like availability, that can’t be determined by reading the contract,  
  6. Ways to dodge the rescission period by not allowing access to the booking site until after the rescission period has ended,
  7. Recording the closing, but not allowing the recording of the sales session,
  8. Sales agents that coach buyers on how to “pass” QA,
  9. Over-reliance on the verbal representations clause,
  10. Point “members” stripped of all beneficial rights of real estate ownership,
  11. False scare tactics about heirs inheriting the timeshare if deeded.                                                                                                      

What’s right with timeshare points?

Point contracts do offer the flexibility of being able to stay for more or less than the typical week. They allow for incremental purchases.

What’s wrong with timeshare points?

Refer to Figure A and B below. A look at the original timeshare model shows that developers sold a week or weeks guaranteeing the customer that they would always be able to stay a particular week at a particular location. A common complaint comes from deeded week owners who complain they could not get access to the unit, and sometimes not even the resort they had stayed at for years after they gave up their deed. This is especially true at prime locations, like Virginia Beach during summer months.

On the old real estate system, due to location and seasons, each resort had a quantity of valuable weeks, and also “dog” weeks.  July 4th in Hilton Head would be a valuable week.  So would Christmas in Aspen, Colorado. But winter in Cape Cod would be dog weeks.  Customers knew this and usually didn’t buy into “dog” weeks. In a “weeks” model, a graphic representation of anyone resort might look like Figure A.  The very best weeks would be in the centre of the graph, with value declining until you reach the very outside of the circle. If your resort was in a great location, with great weather year round, like Hawaii, you would be in the bullseye year round.


Figure A

Imagine now, a complete resort system converted into points as illustrated in Figure B.  Instead of red, blue and white weeks, you are now sold loyalty levels. There are no more ‘best red weeks’ in the system. The buyer has lost control. The developer now controls who gets to vacation when and where. Add to this scenario the developer’s ability to rent out inventory and you have an unfair advantage of developer over point buyer.


Figure B

But wait – what is the area outside the second line from the bullseye showing the “good and best” points? That is where the developer can sell points, but the chances of taking a great vacation may not be possible. A fixed week buyer knew they were buying Branson in January, maybe hoping to exchange it. The buyer that buys 2,500 points compared to the Platinum member’s 50,000 points dictates less availability. Certainty is gone.  The “point” to remember is that in a points-based system, the “dog” weeks become part of inventory just like “best” weeks. This puts a load on the “best weeks” inventory. When it comes to booking, somebody won’t get what they want.

In a pure points system, the developer is NOT selling a vacation. The developer is selling the “opportunity” to vacation SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY.  Two factors determine the success of timeshare owners in a pure points system:

  1. Having enough points to meet your vacation needs, and
  2. Booking at the earliest possible date.

The complaint sites are littered with people, some even highest loyalty members,   complaining about availability. Say a buyer bought 5,000 points because that is what they could afford on a monthly basis. Those 5,000 points might get them a week in Myrtle Beach – in the winter but only two days at Myrtle Beach in the summer, if you’re lucky.  The sales agent can promise anything, “Any place you want to stay, any time you want.”

The first time buyer is scheduled for an orientation in which they are told, “I can’t believe that sales agent sold you so few points! You can’t stay anywhere with 5,000 points!” The member is sadly informed of his dilemma.  BUT, the new and improved sales agent “corrects” the mistake created by the first agent. Buy more points!

As an inducement to upgrade, some systems have early bookings for highest loyalty level members, then advance booking for one tier down, and finally open booking for everyone else. Consider this day and age of the instant internet. Booking vacations over a year out seems antiquated.

Granted, if you have a fluid vacation schedule, as many retired do – and can travel slightly offseason, you might find a pure points system to be of value.  But don’t go to a sales meeting unprepared, facing a tag team of three against two. Be an informed timeshare buyer. Read what existing members have to say on Tug2.net, Redweek and member sponsored Facebooks. The point system can be unfair and have drawbacks, but they can be resources for those who know how to maximize their use.

The informed consumer is the best consumer. Don’t fall for a pipe dream vacation.

Comments by Irene

Thank you Industry Observer. Your article prompted me to search back to 2017 to revisit our “Is This Timeshare Proposal merely Monopoly Money?” https://insidetimeshare.com/timeshare-proposal-merely-monopoly-money/

Self-help groups we feel are not industry influenced including TUG, which consists of a balanced group of members for and against timeshare.

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.

https://www.facebook.com/timeshareadvocategroup/

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/consider-exchange-options/

Bluegreen Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180578055325962/

Wyndham Facebook

New: https://www.facebook.com/groups/376743609795740/  

Sapphire Starpoint New: https://www.facebook.com/login/?next=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fgroups%2F292083584642570%2F%3Fref%3Dshare

Diamond Resort Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DiamondResortsOwnersAdvocacy/

Gold Key Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639958046252175/

We began with the question Why Spain does not allow points or perpetuity contracts, the simple reason is availability, with a fixed week system your are guaranteed the holiday time you purchased, you basically own that particular week. With points you own nothing, just a right to use subject to availability, you are a member of a vacation club not an owner. According to the ruling from the Spanish Supreme Court, points and floating week systems lack any substance, you are paying for a promise, or to put it simply you are buying fresh air.

For example we have a resort with 180 apartments, with fixed weeks they can only sell 51 weeks in each, that gives you a total number of weeks available at 9,180, that means you may only have that number of owners, great they all get their weeks. Now let us change this to a points based system, let’s say the vacation club only doubles its membership, we now have 18,360 members. Hang on we only have 9,180 weeks available, that means 9,180 members will not get their holiday at that resort this year.

Along with that, yes, you guessed it, the timeshare company has now also doubled their income in management fees!

They make more money but at the expense of the members who cannot get the holidays they want.

Spain also outlawed the perpetuity contract, this particular law came into force on 5 January 1999, the duration for any contract was to be a minimum of 3 years and a maximum of 50 years and was ignored by the industry. It was also envisaged that the age of the purchaser should also be taken into consideration, for example a couple aged 55, would not really require the maximum of 50 years, so why not sell them 25 years. The law makers also believed that perpetuity was inherently unfair to the children of purchasers, as timeshare was always sold with the idea it was property or real estate and therefore would be inherited. Their motive was why should the children be liable for the ongoing liability of maintenance on a contract they did not instigate.

These points are now the subject of many legal actions going through the Spanish courts and it is costing the industry millions in repayments along with all contracts being declared null and void. Spain is at the forefront of protection for consumers regarding timeshare and how it is sold, it is only a matter of time before others do the same.

Start the Week

So here we are at the start of another week, today we start with the news from the courts at the end of last week, we also republish the link to a TVE 1 news report about timeshare law in Spain and an interview with Eva Gutiérrez from Canarian Legal Alliance. We also highlight a new “claims” company that has just come to our attention.

At the end of last week after publishing out Letter from America, Canarian Legal Alliance published their results for the week. Once again it was a busy week for the courts and the lawyers with no less than 15 new victories on behalf of their clients.

In frame with the most rulings against them was once again Anfi Del Mar, with 10 cases heard by the Court of First Instance of San Bartolomé de Tirajana in Maspalomas. In the High Court of Las Palmas Gran Canaria, Anfi del Mar had 4 appeals rejected and sent back to the lower courts for the execution of sentence.

In Tenerife at the High Court in Santa Cruz, Silverpoint also lost an appeal, with the case being sent back to the Court of First Instance, again for the execution of sentence.

The total amount being returned to clients is a massive 517,056.50€ this amount doe not include legal fees or legal interest that is calculated separately. Contracts were also declared null and void. The infringements of the timeshare laws ranged from contracts over 50 years in duration, floating weeks and points systems plus the taking of payments within the 14 days cooling off period.

Considering the Supreme Court rulings of which there are 129, and the number of cases being found against the timeshare companies at the lower courts, it does make you wonder why the timeshare companies insist on prolonging the process and taking the lost cases to appeal. All we can surmise is that they are trying to delay making any payments as they still believe the courts have interpreted the law incorrectly.

In response to that belief, Inside Timeshare republishes a link to the National Spanish TV Station TVE1, in this news item they look at the Supreme Court rulings and explain why the timeshare companies are being taken to court. In the item, they also interview one of the Senior Lawyers at Canarian Legal Alliance Eva Gutiérez. This clip will put you the reader in doubt as to who is telling the truth.

Another new name in the “claims” business has just come to our attention, Refund My Claim with the website:

http://www.refundmyclaim.co.uk

It was registered on 9 February 2019 with the actual owner and registrar being hidden, the website has been regestered for one year only and is set to expire on 2 February 2020, these are never good signs.

The website itself gives very little information, with no company registration details only the company address, telephone number and email:

53 Fountain Street, Manchester, M2 2AN. Once again this is rented office space with postal and telephone answering service run by Regus, one of the biggest suppliers of serviced and rental office space on long term or daily basis.

The telephone number given is 0161 826 49 62

With the email [email protected]

On their Home Page, they state, “We are a free advice service that identifies the best Lawyers, Solicitors or Claims management company that best suits you for your claim.” They also explain the “Claims management” is big business in the UK and then go to list all the types of claims they work with including timeshare.

Now considering the age of the website, the lack of company information, no Company House registration and no mention of any lawyers or regulated claims managment company names, makes this is look like a very dodgy set up.

If you are contacted by any company with offers of getting you your money back for any timeshare or holiday club, do your homework before engaging with them. Make sure they are genuine, if you need help or advice on this, then use our contact page and we will be happy to help.

Tomorrow in our Tuesday Slot we publish an article titled How is a Timeshare Point Valued, this has been written by an Industry Insider and we have kept them anonymous as per their wishes. So join us tomorrow for more information and news on the world of timeshare.

The Tuesday Slot

Welcome to this weeks Tuesday Slot article by Irene Parker, who introduces us to Michael Santos, but first, Monday, May 27 was a major holiday in America. Memorial Day honours veterans & soldiers who work to defend even those who may seek to do them harm. Yesterday Inside Timeshare heard from veteran/active duty service member #105 asking about unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices. Many of the veterans who have reached out to Inside Timeshare are disabled, five from Agent Orange. We hope other members of the military will reach out to us because when buying a primary residence greater disclosure is required. We are reaching out to provide the same for veterans applying for a timeshare loan. Too many have been financially ruined because they believed false promises made by timeshare sales agents. The Free at Last Timeshare Member Support Manual is another tool in our arsenal to fight timeshare corruption.

The Free at Last Timeshare Member Support Manual

http://timesharedisputeresolution.mykajabi.com/

Offered by the Straight-A Guide Foundation

https://michaelsantos.org/about/
https://michaelsantos.org/about/

By Irene Parker

May 28, 2019

Meet Michael Santos, no stranger to struggle. Rather than succumb to despair, as many would, Michael faced his challenges head-on. Struggle is struggle. His admitted bad decisions led him to serve 25 years of a 45-year prison sentence. While incarcerated, Michael earned an undergraduate degree in Human Resources Management and a master’s degree. Now he works to serve others in struggle through education, contribution to society, and a support network of people who believe in you.  

Michael’s story: 9,135 Days in Prison TEDXConstitutionDrive 2013

I need help. I’m struggling, overwhelmed, with unending calls from infuriated timeshare members, many financially devastated because timeshare sales agents got away with unfair and deceptive sales practices. While top liars earned $1 million or more annually until eventually terminated, family after family described to me how they were lied to. Particularly painful to me are the stories of veterans and active duty service members harmed by timeshare. A timeshare foreclosure can result in the loss of security clearances.

How can I leverage my time and our team’s limited resources?

Enter Michael Santos of Prison Professors, Straight-A Guide Foundation

Continues with Aspiration, Action, Accountability, Awareness of Opportunities, Achievement, and Appreciation of Resources

In addition to offering a sophisticated platform that has been helping the incarcerated work towards release and reentry back into society, Michael teaches adversity skills. The Straight-A Guide Foundation helps 100,000 people every year, teaching people in struggle how to prepare for success.

Employing these same adversity skills, Michael Santos and I developed a timeshare self-help manual to leverage our timeshare team’s efforts, and the efforts of others experienced in the field of timeshare.

Our Free at Last Timeshare Member Support Manual also offers webinars and podcasts.  http://timesharedisputeresolution.mykajabi.com/


From left, my husband Don, me and Michael Santos

Unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices don’t just harm timeshare members. Honest timeshare sales agents, managers, and even an executive or two have expressed their frustration over spotty and inadequate state regulation and a Pollyanna attitude on the part of timeshare lobbyists and developers insisting all is well in timeshare.

Dr Amy Gregory, PhD in Hospitality Management from the University of Central Florida and Masters in International Business Administration from the Thunderbird School of Global Management was a presenter at a 2017 timeshare ARDA World convention. She describes statistics that tell a different timeshare tale, as reported by RedWeek’s chief correspondent, Jeff Weir:

Here are some of Dr Gregory’s findings:

  • The average rescission rate is 15 per cent (which is identical, ironically, to the daily average percentage of people who buy a timeshare after a sales presentation).
  • A whopping 85 per cent of all buyers regret their purchase (for money, fear, confusion, intimidation, distrust and other reasons).
  • Forty-one per cent of buyers never thought they would regret their purchase, but they did;
  • 30 per cent were neutral prior to buying but then regretted it.

https://www.redweek.com/resources/ask-redweek/arda-world-timeshare-owners

Wondering if there is something wrong with me, I contacted timeshare law firms and timeshare exit service providers across the country and learned that they are also frustrated with this “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” media spin strategy on the part of the industry.

Two of the exit companies I contacted reported that they received 3,000 to 3,500 calls a month from people seeking timeshare relief. Both companies said they only accept as clients, less than 200 callers, as the timeshare member must meet their timeshare deceit criteria.

What happens to the 2,800 or so turned away? Even if your only option is to foreclose, thanks to the orchestrated lack of a secondary market, these members need support. As if someone broke into your home, you feel violated, alone.  Most begin their call to me with, “I feel so stupid.” I respond that I have heard from a detective who works economic crimes undercover, two counter-terrorism experts, two private detectives, a professor with a PhD in criminology, an ICE agent with an M.S. in Criminal Justice, all describing how they were duped by timeshare sales agents.

If you take the time to listen to the entire 20 minutes of Michael’s Top Ten Surrender Tips before Surrendering to Federal Prison, it’s easy to see how prison adversity skills carry over to timeshare adversity:

https://prisonprofessors.com/top-ten-surrender-tips-surrendering-federal-prison/

https://prisonprofessors.com/top-ten-surrender-tips-surrendering-federal-prison/

Michael’s Ten Tips

  1. Expect Challenges!
  2. Understand your Finances
  3. Develop a Reading Plan
  4. Journal, Write and Publish – Writing is Therapeutic!
  5. Personal Belongings – One Navy veteran charged $2,700 a month in timeshare loan payments to credit cards. He lived in fear of losing his home and had to seek advice from a bankruptcy attorney.
  6. Prepare for Communication
  7. Set Your Values and Goals and Create Timelines
  8. Create an Accountability Metric Adhering to Timelines
  9. Quadrant Adjustments Reflecting New Opportunities and Opportunity Costs Visualize/Plan/Prioritize/Execute
  10. Release Plan – Think about your day of release!

Hoping to leverage what I and others have learned, I support the Free at Last Timeshare Support Manual lending what I’ve learned to others. All proceeds from our manual are to be donated to the Straight-A Guide Foundation.  Together we will work alongside those in prison or formerly incarcerated to become Free at Last. I’m pretty sure Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. would support our borrowing his prayer.

I think it was Ella Fitzgerald who said her momma told her, “Go out and make something happen. If you’re not going to make something happen – stay out of the way!” Morgan Freeman said it another way:

These self-help groups were launched and subscribed to by doers seeking:

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.

https://www.facebook.com/timeshareadvocategroup/

https://tug2.com/Home.aspx

https://everythingabouttimeshares.com/consider-exchange-options/

Bluegreen Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180578055325962/

Wyndham Facebook

New: https://www.facebook.com/groups/376743609795740/  

Sapphire Starpoint New: https://www.facebook.com/login/?next=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fgroups%2F292083584642570%2F%3Fref%3Dshare

Diamond Resort Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DiamondResortsOwnersAdvocacy/

Gold Key Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1639958046252175/

Thank you, Irene, and also a big thank you to Michael, we are sure that you will get plenty of support from our readers.

Late on Friday, Canarian Legal Alliance published the following results of cases over the past two weeks, these were against Anfi Del Mar, Silverpoint, Club La Costa and Holiday Club Finland. In total there were 24 sentences as follows:

  • 15 in the Courts of First Instance against Anfi Del Mar
  • 3 High Court against Anfi Del Mar
  • 2 Court of First Instance against Silverpoint
  • 2 High Court against Silverpoint
  • 1 Court of First Instance against Club La Costa
  • 1 High Court against Holiday Club Finland

All contracts were declared null and void and in most cases, clients received back their legal fees plus legal interest.

The total being returned to clients is a staggering 787,664.00€

Obviously some very happy clients but some very unhappy and embarrassed timeshare companies. Well, they only have themselves to blame!

Do you have any questions about your timeshare purchase, want to know if you have a claim or want to just get out, have you been contacted by a company offering you a service and want to know if they are genuine?

Then use our contact page and get in touch, we will point you in the right direction with the best advice available.

Start the Week: Trouble with the Silverpoint Rental Program Agreement

For sometime Inside Timeshare has been reporting on the “Company Participations and Rental Agreement” sold by Silverpoint. As we already know this product was rolled out to replace the discredited “Investment Weeks” product sold originally By Resort Properties then under the Silverpoint banner, again this product is subject to many court cases which are being found in favour of the clients.

It now appears that Excel Resorts and Hotels SA are distancing themselves from Silverpoint at an alarming rate, we already know that Excel has informed clients of the “Company Participations” that they are no longer working with Silverpoint and this is causing alarm among those who have purchased in this expensive and elaborate product.

The latest news has been coming in over the weekend from many regular readers of Inside Timeshare who have purchased this product, it comes in the form of an email from Excel Resorts and Hotels SA, the company which manages the resorts. Under the agreement entered into with Silverpoint Vacations SL, Excel undertook to operate the assets of the “Company Participations” guaranteeing a return of 4.5% of the corporate income until “apartments” are converted to accommodation units.

So far this year it seems that no one has received any of this income, according to the letter Excel state that “owing to the economic and financial situation” Silverpoint has been unable to honour the agreements during 2018.

In their email, Excel Resorts have stated that they will be calling for an AGM to allow “shareholders” to vote on new contracts and conditions.

Within days they announced a date for the “Shareholders’ Ordinary General Meeting” being held on 12 June 2019 at 9:40 am at the registered office of the company.

The Agenda:

  1. To review and approve, as appropriate, the Company’s Financial Statements relating to the year ended 31 December 2018.
  2. To decide upon the application of the results for the year ended 31 December 2018.
  3. To approve the management of the Company for the year ended 31 December 2018.
  4. The Rental Program Agreement entered into with “Silverpoint Vacations SL” and decisions to be taken on this. Analysis of proposals and contractual alternatives for the holiday rental and decisions to be taken on this. To authorise, where appropriate, the sole director to enter into, on behalf of the Company, the contractual proposal which may ultimately be approved, even if impinging upon the figure of self-contracting, double or multiple representation.

Well, not sure about you but it doesn’t look very promising for those who purchased into this scheme.

For those who are unable to attend excel have also sent forms to sign to allow a proxy to vote on your behalf. Very kind of them, but the named persons are actually employees of the company, so we just wonder who the vote will go in favour of, certainly not the “shareholders”?

It would also appear that assets and funds are being tranferred to many offshore companies and accounts, is this an attempt to hide everything because of the number of court cases, we can reveal that moves are already being made to identify all companies, accounts, persons with significant interest and control.

This has already shown the links to all the companies, which one ownes which, who ownes what and who is ultimately the main character of interest. As they say there is always a paper trail which can be followed.

It has also been revealed that Limora Investments Ltd, a British Virgin Islands-based resort owner on Friday asked a New York bankruptcy court to give Chapter 15 protection to its U.S. assets while it investigates what it called “misconduct” by members of its management team.

From enquiries made it would also appear that this company is very much linked to Excel Resorts and Silverpoint.

The company began insolvency proceedings in the British Virgin Islands in February after discovering “unusual” cash flow problems with the subsidiaries that manage its flagship Spanish properties. Limora has more than 100 subsidiaries with interests in resorts, timeshares, hotels and other businesses in the United Arab Emirates, Spain, the U.K., Singapore, Thailand and the U.S.

The company also stated that its primary source of income is resorts and timeshare in Spain and that in the mid-2018 their Spanish subsidiary had been requesting emergency funding. So along with what we already know about Silverpoint and Excel with Excel Overseas Holdings filing for liquidation, our enquires are just being confirmed.

With what we already know but are unable to publish yet, time is of the essence, especially with the upcoming AGM, we very much doubt that any decision will be infavour of you the clients.

So if you have purchased any product from Silverpoint especially the Company Participations Scheme, or the Excel Overseas Lodging Rental Program and you would like to know how you can get back your “investment” along with having the contract declared null and void, use our contact page and get in touch.