Back in January, Inside Timeshare published Irene Parker’s article “Attorneys General and Timeshare under Trump”, This was at the time of the now President Trump’s inauguration. In the introduction, we broke the news to our US readers of the plans Mr Trump had going through planning in Scotland, for a second golf course and the increase in the number of timeshare apartments.
This apparently came as a big surprise to our American readers, it would seem they had no idea that he was also involved in “timeshare”.
Below are three links to two major UK daily newspapers, the last link is around 9 months old, but shows the opposition that Mr, now President Trump faced from local people. In this particular article is the story of a quarryman who refused to sell his home to Trump, who described him as a “disgrace” for not wanting to sell him his “pigsty of a home”. I don’t know about you, but in the UK and especially in Scotland that type of remark about someone’s home is a total insult.
Now to Irene’s article.
What is ARDA-ROC Doing Today? An Analysis
By Irene Parker – March 24, 2017
After reading the March article “What is ARDA-ROC doing today?”
It seems a good time to revisit my $7 “voluntary” donation to ARDA-ROC. The word voluntary has a nice ring to it so for years when paying our maintenance fees, if I was asked if I would like to make the voluntary donation to ARDA-ROC, I said, “Sure.” Since then I have learned too much to ever answer in the affirmative again, unless proven wrong.
According to Lisa Ann Schreier, the ARDA board only lists one timeshare owner. Of the 23 board members, included are Frank Goeckel, Diamond Resorts, recently departed with a $2 million handshake and Franz Hanning, departed after the Trish Williams $20 million Wyndham Whistleblower verdict with a $3.4 million handshake.
Of the $816,068 ARDA made in political contributions, 74% went to Republicans and 26% to democrats. This breakdown was also provided by Lisa Ann Schreier:
Like it or not, timeshare is all about politics. President Trump, or his family, is going into the timeshare business. Pictured to the left of President Elect Trump is long-standing friend David Siegel, owner of Westgate timeshare. Given the current political climate it would not surprise me if the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau halted their investigation of Westgate. The CFPB was spearheaded by Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. That’s the organization that helped the Wells Fargo victims.
As Charles Thomas of Inside Timeshare previously reported,
“Well it is actually quite simple for those in Scotland, back in 2008 there were some very heated debates over Mr Trump’s plan to build an 18 hole golf course and resort in Balmedie Aberdeenshire. This met with considerable resistance from the local people, but eventually Trump won through.
The original plan was to build a 450-room hotel, a second golf course, 500 luxury homes and 900 timeshare apartments along with a second 18 hole golf course. In a recent article in The Guardian newspaper these plans now intend to double the number of homes and timeshare apartments”
Whether you are or were for or against now President Trump, it is clear he is on the side of the timeshare developer which has become a battlefield pitting owners against developers.
Now to our main attraction:
What is ARD-ROC doing today?
A breakdown for soundbite reading and request for more information:
In a perfect world the only thing ARDA-ROC would be doing today would be writing checks, sitting back and relaxing. But, it’s not a perfect world and so a typical day for Chairman Ken McKelvey goes something like this:
It is a Thursday and McKelvey started his day discussing a new wrinkle in the South Carolina transfer legislation that ARDA-ROC has been proposing.
I believe this is South Carolina House Bill 3647 tightening the language of timeshare transfers. In our last article we reported how the nature of the perpetual contract, rising maintenance fees and little or no secondary market spells a disaster for aging original owners if denied a voluntary surrender.
That was followed by a conference call regarding the proposed United States Virgin Islands timeshare fee.
This does sound like a benefit for owners because an extra $300 slapped onto an exchange seems exorbitant.
The day before was loaded with details regarding a Saint Maarten Parliament Timeshare Ordinance and its potential impact on consumers.I know nothing about the Saint Maarteen Parliament Timeshare Ordinance but it sounds ominous.
Along with a final draft of legislature in Florida regarding the sunset clause to help legacy properties gain reasonable voting requirements to extend into the timeshare agreements into the future. Whew.
This is Florida House Bill 818 concerning a reset to continue beyond the sunset provision.
And he’s just a volunteer who is happy it is not Monday.
The ongoing operations of ARDA-ROC is both reactive and proactive; on one hand they react to any proposed legislature, dealing with real estate or tourism proposed laws that have any tentacles that could possibly affect timeshare and on the other hand they write and lobby for legislature that could help timeshare owners.
This lobby effort sparked outrage among owner advocates. Did my $7 go to this effort?
“The bills (House Bill 453 and Senate Bill 932) have been sponsored by two politicians from Central Florida — deep in the heart of time-share country: Rep. Eric Eisnaugle, R-Orlando, and Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland.
Both politicians have received money from time-share interests — an industry that showers cash on Florida politicians and committees, including $300,000 to the Republican Party of Florida and $150,000 to the Democrats,” reported Scott Maxwell for the Orlando Sentinel.
Throughout the year, ARDA-ROC has lobbyists on retainer in up to 25 states, and territories, and who according to McKelvey “we HOPE the only thing we ever hear from them is an invoice.”
These lobbyists monitor and pick through every piece of proposed legislature with a fine tooth comb, seeking things that are rarely specifically spelled out to say timeshare, but could be interpreted to have grand impact on it.
This from Advocate Michael Kosor:
The “fine tune comb” can be seen in the Nevada State Bill 195 that would have allowed an Association Board to terminate its management contract (the most important and costly agreement a board oversees), issued to them by the developer, without obtaining a majority owner vote – an impossible effort. ARDA-ROC identified the change and successfully lobbied to have it removed. This was clearly an owner friendly provision the industry did not support. Lobbyists (of ARDA and ARDA ROC, they use the terms loosely and interchangeably) suggested (vaguely and without discussion despite being an absurd assertion) the original language was “intended to protect timeshare owners” and should not be changed.