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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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. It involves removing one’s self, emotionally, from a stressful event.
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-judgementA 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.”
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.
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!
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
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.
Further to our previous articles on the Silverpoint Participations and Nordic Consulting Canary Islands SL, today we publish the experiences of one reader from Scandinavia, taken from the many enquiries received in the past two days. It explains how he was sold the these “participations” and has since been contacted by Ali Farhoud from Nordic Consulting. We have slightly changed certain details to keep the identity of our reader private.
Back in 2017, our reader attended a meeting with Silverpoint Vacations, the representative was Alex Farhoud, another brother of Ali. The scheme was explained to him and he was led to believe that he was buying a specific apartment at Beverly Hills Heights, part of the agreement was that he would receive an income from the rental of the said apartment and eventually be able to sell.
After some time, he eventually signed the contract and parted with over 150,000€, along with the purchase contract was a rental contract with Silverpoint Vacations, the client left in the belief that he had a good deal.
Then in 2018, Alex Farhoud made contact, our reader was informed that the rental contract had been cancelled and new less favourable conditions had been presented. In order to fix this Alex Farhouddemanded a further 10,000€ fee. Our reader fearing the loss of his “investment” duly paid. The new rental contract was with Excel Hotels and Resorts. He received an outline of the new rental contract, which to some extent the original conditions that they had initially agreed to.
Nearly a year later he was once again contacted by Alex Farhoud, this time it was stated that the purchase contract they our reader had signed was not valid. The reason being he could not get a title for a product that was essentially made up of timeshares!
Enter Nordic Consulting and Ali Farhoud, Alex Farhoud referred our reader to this company with the proposal that Nordic Consulting would instigate legal proceedings to have the contract with Silverpoint nullified, plus claiming back what they had initially paid, but in double. Obviously there was going to be a fee for this, that was estimated at over 30,000€. Our reader has had repeated calls from both brother to pay and get the process initiated. But our reader has not done so, one reason is that he has received no explanations or clarification in writing.
Our reader has also received a letter from Silverpoint informing him that the process of obtaining title was moving on and that all units had been cleared of timeshare owners. Apparently a “certificate” confirming that all 52 weeks in the unit purchased were clear. Our reader would then be called to Tenerife to sign the title.
Our reader is now so confused, can he believe or trust Silverpoint?
Can he trust Nordic Consulting, his brothers company, especially as it was Alex Farhoud who sold him the product in the first place?
This is why our reader turned to Inside Timeshare, he had nowhere else to turn, he didn’t know who to trust. After lengthy discussions we made a recommendation and our reader is now discussing his options with a leading law firm in this field. It will be sometime before we will be able to give you an outcome, but we are sure that his problem will be resolved to his satisfaction.
Have you had dealings with Silverpoint, either the “investment weeks” or the “company participation scheme”, have you been contacted by Nordic Consulting regarding these?