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It's Happy Hour at The GateHouse

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I'm watching you...Keeping an eye on the industry, The GateHouse is a timeshare blog powered by InsideTheGate.com, your best source for daily timeshare news and information.

Some Special Features from InsideTheGate.com you might want to check out this week:

  • CURRENT NEWS HEADLINES (stuff you might have missed last week)
  • SCOOP DU JOUR (published weekly, every Friday)
  • OFF TOPIC (Just for fun, from the goofy to the profound, published weekly, every Monday)
  • ON THE ROAD Timeshare Resort destinations and reviews, travel deals and more! (Published weekly, every Monday)

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EMAIL: gatekeeper@insidethegate.com


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Karl retires
After a 20-year run Karl belatedly realized that having no developer-sponsored retirement plan and no vested benefits left him out in the cold.

“I should at least have had some sort of ongoing residual income contract from all my sales efforts,” he muttered to himself. “That still generates a lot more money for the developer and exchange company year-in, year-out and long after I depart for new horizons.

“Especially considering they didn’t even give me a retirement party, an atta-boy or at the very least a 100% genuine imitation stainless steel wrist watch as a parting thanks for a job well done…”

 


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Leave your own caption in the
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It's Happy Hour at The GateHouse

So you’ve gotta kiss a lot of frogs before you find the right timeshare developer/company to work for? That’s what Scoop implies this week, and then he gets down and dirty into the numbers to give you an idea of what you should be looking for in a timeshare sales career.

Here are some of those numbers: $21,020; $22,350; $59,000; $73,000; $40,000; $311.58; $16,200… :D

So what’s the Scoop? Can you guess what those numbers are all about? And what do Handsome Homer and his lovely wife Elma have to do with the price of tea in China? Find out at Scoop du Jour: “Homer & Elma Nicefolks”


This news from Interval Leisure Group is kind of important. It has to do with its reorganized management reporting structure as a result of the acquisition of Hyatt Vacation Ownership (HVO).

ILG is now divided into two segments: Exchange and Rental and Vacation Ownership.

The Exchange and Rental operating segment consists of Interval International, the Hyatt Residence Club, and Trading Places International (TPI) operated exchange business, as well as Aston Hotels & Resorts, Inc. and Aqua Hospitality, LLC.

Vacation Ownership engages in the management of vacation ownership resorts; sales, marketing, and financing of vacation ownership interests; and related services to owners and associations. The Vacation Ownership operating segment consists of the management related lines of business of Vacation Resorts International (VRI), TPI, VRI Europe and HVO as well as the sales and financing of vacation ownership interests.

You can view the financial information for each segment here.


Marriott Vacations Worldwide has also reported its 4th Quarter and Full Year 2014 earnings. Some of the highlights include:

  • Company contract sales were $215 million and North America contract sales were $189 million.
  • North America volume per guest (VPG) increased 5 percent year-over-year to $3,255.
  • The company completed the sale of partially developed land, an operating golf course and related assets in Kauai, Hawaii and the sale of partially developed land, an operating golf course, spa and clubhouse and related facilities, in Abaco, Bahamas for aggregate gross cash proceeds of $50 million.
  • The company entered into commitments to purchase inventory at future dates in Miami, San Diego and the Big Island of Hawaii.
  • Subsequent to the end of the fourth quarter, the company entered into an asset light transaction with a third party which will develop the remaining units at the company’s resort on Marco Island, Florida, and sell the completed units to the company
  • Total company contract sales were $215 million, a $2 million, or 1 percent, increase from $213 million in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Of course there’s a lot more to it, and you can get all the details here.


TWEET OF THE WEEK:

Where are you going this year?

 

We are assembled here today to pay tribute to Leonard Nimoy, who lived long and prospered but finally passed away at the age of 83 on Feb. 27.

It seems only fitting somehow to share this clip of Mr. Spock’s death scene and funeral from Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan to see him on his way. In life he was so much more than Spock, yet there are worse things in life than to be associated with that memorable character.

He was, and will always be, our friend.

Leonard Nimoy's handprints

Beam him up, Scotty.


The Weekly Juke Box aims to feature good music/good fun regardless of era or genre. Send in your own favorite and if I can find a good version on YouTube I’ll post it for you! What would you like to see or hear?



It's Happy Hour at The GateHouse>> EASTERN USA TIMESHARE NEWS:

MARCO ISLAND: Marriott Vacation Ownership is FINALLY starting work on the long-awaited next phase of the Marriott’s Crystal Shores Resort, which was put on hold during the Great Recession (need I explain why?).

Phases II and III of this project, on Collier Blvd. where the old Radisson used to be, will consist of two additional buildings that will continue the cleaner, less cluttered, look and feel established in Phase I. According to Coleman Partners Architects, these Phases will consist of the main Lobby and Public Spaces for the Project as well as an additional 153 two-bedroom units in two new towers. The main Porte Cochere entrance will be constructed and the Pool and Deck will approximately double in size. Additionally, a new 380-car underground parking facility will be constructed for guests and there will be exterior and interior improvements to the existing tower building.

Additional proposed resort features and amenities upon build out include:

  • Two pools that cascade from an open-air lobby offering views of the Gulf of Mexico
  • Two whirlpool spas
  • Fully equipped fitness center with locker rooms and two treatment rooms
  • Owner’s lounge with large terrace and indoor/outdoor seating overlooking the pools and the Gulf

A lighted paved pathway and a showering facility with a boardwalk access to the beach will be built on the north side next to the Hilton Hotel to provide access to the beach for members of the public. Construction of the resort is currently slated for completion in 2017.

The current units at the Crystal Shores consist of 67 two-bedroom villas and three-bedroom penthouse suites in a 14-floor tower. It opened in March 2009.




“If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.” -Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Do you have tips or rumors you’d like to share (ANONYMOUSLY)? Something you’d like us to investigate or follow up on? CONTACT: gatekeeper@insidethegate.com

It's Happy Hour at The GateHouse >> EASTERN USA TIMESHARE NEWS:

NEWPORT NEWS: For those of you who have asked, here’s an update on the Keith Kosco timeshare transfer scandal, primarily as it applies to his Elite Equity Transfers and Resort Solutions companies.

You may remember that he has waived his right to a speedy trial due to the complexity of the case and demanded a jury trial, which was initially set for February 24, 2015. Since then a superseding indictment has been filed against him, which you can read here. and the charges are as follows (note that the letter “s” behind some of the charges refers to charges in the superseding indictment):

Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1349, 1341 and 1343 – Conspiracy to Commit Mail and Wire Fraud/Title 18, United States Code, Section 981(a)(1)(C) by Title 28, United States Code, Section 2461(c)- Forfeiture
(1)
Dismissed – Superseding Indictment Filed 2/10/15
Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1349,1341 and 1343 – Conspiracy to Commit Mail and Wire Fraud/Title 18, United States Code, Section 981(a)(1)(C) by Title 28, United States Code, Section 2461(c) and Title 18, United States Code, Section 982(a)(1) – Forfeiture
(1s)
Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1341 and 2 – Mail Fraud
(2-11)
Dismissed – Superseding Indictment Filed 2/10/15
Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1341 and 2 – Mail Fraud
(2s-11s)
Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1343 and 2 – Wire Fraud
(12-19)
Dismissed – Superseding Indictment Filed 2/10/15
Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1343 and 2 – Wire Fraud
(12s-19s)
Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1028A(a)(l) and (c) and 2 – Aggravated Identity Theft
(20-24)
Dismissed – Superseding Indictment Filed 2/10/15
Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1028A(a)( 1) and (c) and 2 – Aggravated Identity Theft
(20s-24s)
Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1956(a)(l)(A)(i) and 2 – Money Laundering to Promote Mail and Wire Fraud
(25s-29s)
Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1957 and 2 – Engaging in Monetary Transactions in Property Derived from Specified Unlawful Activity
(30s-33s)

That’s 33 felony counts he’s facing.

As of now he has waived formal arraignment, entered a plea of not guilty, and indicated that he wishes to appear at preliminary hearings. AND a plea agreement hearing has been set for March 4, 2015 so something may be happening on that front.

Meanwhile a new date for his jury trial is now set for April 14, 2015 at 10:00 AM in Norfolk Grand Jury Courtroom before District Judge Robert G. Doumar — but once again I’ll be surprised if it actually takes place at that time.

He remains free under supervised bond while he awaits his trial.

Stay tuned.



“If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.” -Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Do you have tips or rumors you’d like to share (ANONYMOUSLY)? Something you’d like us to investigate or follow up on? CONTACT: gatekeeper@insidethegate.com

It's Happy Hour at The GateHouse>> EASTERN USA TIMESHARE NEWS:

CAMDEN: Here’s a brief update on the state of affairs in the Adam and Ashley Lacerda (et al) timeshare fraud case, associated with the VO Group and VO Financial.

Taking it from the top: Adam Lacerda’s sentencing date was set for March 23, but his attorney has requested a continuance of at least 60 days due to conflicts in his schedule. The government has consented to the continuance but the Court has not yet set a new date.

Ashley Lacerda has requested a new attorney (the minutes outlining the reasons for that have been sealed) but that doesn’t seem to have affected her sentencing hearing date, which is currently still set for March 24, 2015 at 10:30 a.m. Courtroom 3A before Judge Noel Hillman.

Sentencing for Genevieve Manzoni, who was found guilty of only one count and is the only one of the four main defendants to have remained free on bail, is set for April 10, 2015 at 10:30 AM in Camden – Courtroom 3A before Judge Noel L. Hillman.

And Ian Resnick’s sentencing hearing is set for April 8, 2015 at 10:30 AM in Camden – Courtroom 3A before Judge Noel L. Hillman.

So the final countdown has begun. As for the multiple defendants who pled guilty to various counts of fraud in this case and are awaiting news of their fate — stay tuned.



“If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.” -Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Do you have tips or rumors you’d like to share (ANONYMOUSLY)? Something you’d like us to investigate or follow up on? CONTACT: gatekeeper@insidethegate.com

It's Happy Hour at The GateHouse>> MIDWEST AND SOUTHERN USA TIMESHARE NEWS

EAST ST. LOUIS: Yet another telemarketer connected to the National Solutions (and related companies) timeshare resale scam has caved under the pressure of Southern Illinois’ relentless prosecutions.

James Currey, 55, of Orlando, FL, has pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, bringing the number of resale fraud prosecutions in Illinois to nearly 75 over the past four years.

Located in Orlando, Florida, National Solutions defrauded consumers across the continent using the fictitious names,

  • Bluescape Timeshares International,
  • Country Wide Timeshares,
  • Countrywide Timeshares MA,
  • Landmark Timeshares,
  • Propertys Direct,
  • Quicksale Propertys,
  • Sun Property Networks,
  • Sun Property’s, Universal Propertys,
  • VIM Timeshares,
  • Propertys DRK,
  • Quick Sale Advisers,
  • Quick Sale International,
  • City Resorts,
  • Resort Advisers,
  • American Timeshares,
  • Exit Week,
  • and Resort Advisors International.

National Solutions targeted owners of timeshares throughout the United States and Canada. In various court filings related to the National Solutions scam, the government has alleged that the overall scam bilked over 2,500 consumers out of at least $6 million, including eight victims within the Southern District of Illinois.

Sentencing for Curry is set for June 12, 2015. He will face up to 25 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and up to 5 years of supervised release.

The lesson here? Don’t target Illinois residents with your scams. The state will come after you with a vengeance!




“If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.” -Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Do you have tips or rumors you’d like to share (ANONYMOUSLY)? Something you’d like us to investigate or follow up on? CONTACT: gatekeeper@insidethegate.com

It's Happy Hour at The GateHouse >> WESTERN USA TIMESHARE NEWS:

LAS VEGAS: Here’s an update for you on the cases against James Assi Jariv (et al) in Nevada and Texas.

The bio-fuel fraud case in Las Vegas, NV is still dragging along. His trial had been set for February 9, 2015, but it has been rescheduled once again, apparently because the plea deal they were working for hit a snag. Anyhow, a continuance has been granted and a jury trial has now been set for April 13, 2015 at 8:45 a.m. in LV Courtroom 6C before Judge Andrew P. Gordon. Calendar Call reset for 4/8/2015 08:45 AM in LV.

In the meantime the government has been busy selling assets to aid in restitution for his victims — things like a 6-bedroom home in Tarzana, CA; cars; etc.

The charges against him in Nevada are as follows: Count 1: Conspiracy to Commit Criminal Offenses and to Defraud the United States; Count 2: Conspiracy to Launder Monetary Instruments; Counts 3-51: Wire Fraud and Aiding & Abetting; Counts 52-55: False Statements (Clean Air Act) and Aiding & Abetting; Counts 56-57: Obstruction of Justice and Aiding & Abetting.

I’m thinking that the trial date may have to be moved again, though, because the prosecution against James Assi Jariv, Varda Jariv and Jiwon Jariv in the Texas timeshare resale fraud case has a pretrial conference set for the same date and a jury trial for April 21, 2015 at 09:00 AM in Courtroom 11C before Judge Lynn N. Hughes.

In that case James, Varda and Jiwon Jariv were indicted on charges of 1 count of conspiracy to commit mail & wire fraud in connection with telemarketing and 2 counts of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments. Their trial was originally scheduled to begin on October 7, 2014 but as you can see — things change.

He remains in custody in Nevada while he waits.

Stay tuned.



“If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.” -Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Do you have tips or rumors you’d like to share (ANONYMOUSLY)? Something you’d like us to investigate or follow up on? CONTACT: gatekeeper@insidethegate.com

scam warning >> INTERNATIONAL TIMESHARE NEWS

EVERYWHERE: here are the names of the Mexican timeshare resale scam companies/agencies I’ll be exposing this week. NOTE that if you are contacted by any of these companies (or have been already) there is no question that you are being (or have been) SCAMMED. I’m not listing them for the fun of it, I’m listing them BECAUSE THEY ARE SCAMS.

  • Lakebridge Realty, purportedly in Portland, OR. This one is a repeat because I’m still getting questions about them.
  • Continental Title, purportedly in Eden Prairie, MN (working in conjunction with Lakebridge Realty)
  • Morgan Hill Funding Group, purportedly in New York
  • Lawson Management, Inc., purportedly in Chicago, IL
  • Luxury Holiday International, purportedly in Maryland
  • Sotheby’s Vacation Sales, purportedly a Delaware corporation
  • Seven Star Allocation Group, purportedly in Shreveport, LA

Those are ALL scam companies being worked out of Mexico in order to steal your money. More information follows below the squiggle.

squiggly

Follow me for more!

This week’s timeshare sales tip:

Purpose:

REMEMBER: What timeshare sales rep out there hasn’t asked a sales guest (e.g.) “So how did you decide to become a house painter, Mary”? And when the question is asked, often the answer is not only interesting but opens up yet more windows into the person’s life, etc. That is a good thing.

When people meet folks with different backgrounds or work in many professions such as doctor, a travel agent, a police officer, a fire fighter, school teacher, scientist, mechanic, etc. they often at least wonder, perhaps briefly, what it was that made that person choose the path that led them to becoming a (e.g.) dry cleaner.

As such, it is never a bad idea for the TS rep to briefly share with each prospect their reasons for choosing this industry and career as opposed to other industries and selling cars, widgets, vacuum cleaners, computers, advertising and so forth.

The fact of the matter is that most sales guests are curious by nature (that’s partly why they’re at the presentation) and because they are, they will be forming ideas about what makes their rep ‘tick’. This is why the rep should open up a little as to what they really like/love about this industry, their profession, position and aspirations.

If, for example, those reasons are because this industry provides the opportunity for the rep to meet new people (sales guests) who love to travel and that helping those folks select a vacation plan that will enhance their lives, etc., is personally ‘rewarding’ the prospects will look and judge their rep more favorably than thinking the sales man/woman is just in it for commissions!

Indeed, the higher the ‘ticket’ price is of any product/service the more advantageous it is for the reps to share their personal reason(s) for representing those ‘goods’. And in our business when we get to sit around little round tables and ‘chat’, the savvy TS Pro will include a synopsis as to why they, too, are there and then laugh all the way to the bank!




Join us for a pithy morning meeting timeshare sales tip of the week, originally published in InsideTheGate.com, to help you to greater success in selling timeshare. Brief and to the point, these sales training tips are designed to get you thinking, to expand your knowledge, to help you to become all that you can be in the timeshare sales arena.

Whether you’re an industry veteran or a green pea, it never hurts to brush up on your skills!

Copyright InsideTheGate.com All rights reserved

It's Happy Hour at The GateHouseQUOTABLE QUOTES: “The idea is to die young as late as possible.” -Ashley Montague


You may have noticed a line in Marriott Vacations Worldwide’s financial release where they said “The company entered into commitments to purchase inventory at future dates in Miami, San Diego and the Big Island of Hawaii.”

The future inventory in San Diego refers to the 264-suite former Sheraton Suites (rebranded Declan Suites San Diego in 2013) located at 701 A St. in downtown San Diego, which has been sold to Marriott Ownership Resorts Inc. for $50,030,800. Documents accompanying the sale say it is MORI’s intention to convert the property into “a timeshare project, which may be structured as a condominium.”

The hotel is adjacent to Symphony Hall, and shares the block with the Symphony Tower high-rise office building. It’s 12 blocks from the waterfront, 1.6 miles from the San Diego Zoo and within walking distance of Balboa Park.

In Miami they have a commitment to purchase a 182-unit property under construction in South Beach scheduled to be completed in August 2015. A third party will purchase the property upon completion, giving Marriott flexibility to buy inventory over a period of several years. They plan to open a new sales gallery in that market during the first half of 2016.

They also have a committment to purchase a portion of the Marriott Waikoloa Resort on the Big Island of Hawaii, where they plan to convert 240 guest rooms into 112 timeshare units.

So Marriott Vacations Worldwide is suddenly kickin’ it big time! Referencing all the growth plans and general health of the company, a GateHouse reader sent me an email expounding his intent to invest in their stock, thus making the company itself help pay for his maintenance fees.

What do you think about that? :)


“If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.” -Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Do you have tips or rumors you’d like to share (ANONYMOUSLY)? Something you’d like us to investigate or follow up on? CONTACT: gatekeeper@insidethegate.com



It's Happy Hour at The GateHouse

AMResorts, a subsidiary of Apple Leisure Group, has signed the company’s first two deals of 2015. The company, which reported 20 percent growth last year, will expand its portfolio with Secrets® Cap Cana Resort & Spa, marking AMResorts’ entry into a new destination in the Dominican Republic and will also introduce its Breathless® Resorts & Spas brand in the popular Riviera Maya region of Mexico with Breathless Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa, the second resort from AMResorts’ newest brand.

President of the Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina, and other government officials joined Apple Leisure Group and AMResorts executives for Secrets Cap Cana’s groundbreaking ceremony on Feb. 20. The adults-only resort will have 470 rooms and suites, and will be located on Juanillo Beach in the gated, luxury community of, you guessed it, Cap Cana.

Earlier this year, company executives joined Mexican government officials to lay the symbolic first stone of the new Breathless Riviera Cancun. Set to open in early 2016, this will be the second resort in the Breathless Resorts & Spas portfolio, and introduces the brand in Mexico following the success of Breathless Punta Cana Resort & Spa. Breathless Riviera Cancun will feature 500 rooms and suites.


Interval International has affiliated the shared ownership component of BD Cartagena Beach Club, a mixed-use resort on Colombia’s Caribbean coastline.

Located in the exclusive area of Punta Canoa just 20 miles north of Cartagena’s old city, the resort will feature two-bedroom units with a spacious living-dining area and the latest electronics. Among the planned on-site amenities is a large open-air freshwater pool with a deck and cabanas. Owners and guests will also have access to the amenities at the adjacent hotel, such as restaurants with national and international cuisine, spa, gym, kids’ and teens’ clubs, equestrian center, 650-foot salt-water lake, tennis courts, and water sports. Additional activities available in the area include golf, hiking, and biking.


cheerleaderAMResorts and Interval International: getting BIGGER!


Do you have tips or rumors you’d like to share? Something you’d like us to investigate or follow up on? Help fill up the Tips Jar so we can share it with the whole Timeshare World! CONTACT: gatekeeper@insidethegate.com

It's Happy Hour at The GateHouse>> TIMESHARE PEOPLE ON THE MOVE:

John Small,, Chairman of ResortCom International, has decided to step down after 16 years at the company’s helm to pursue other projects. He will continue to consult in the hospitality industry and to stay involved with La Tour Resorts and Hotels. The change will become effective May 1.

John SmallDuring his illustrious career in the hospitality industry, John served as President of International Resort Management, Senior Vice President of RCI and Chief Operating Officer of RCI Management. In 2002, IRM merged with Resort Communications to form ResortCom International. During his time as Chief Operating Officer with RCIM, he was instrumental in growing RCIM from 19 resorts to over 43, in three and a half years. During his tenure, RCIM won 40 AmericanResort Development Association (ARDA) awards, and was also named as the Employer of Choice in the Timeshare Resort Industry by ARDA.

Noting the recent, untimely passing of his colleague and ResortCom President Alex Marxer, Small said, “… it became abundantly clear that life is short and should ultimately be fulfilling on numerous levels. Now is the time to leave ResortCom in capable hands of the next generation of management professionals while I pursue new dreams.”

No replacement for his position was mentioned in the statement announcing his retirement from the company.




Have you been promoted or moved to a new company/location? Do you know of someone who has? Has someone been fired or demoted? Tell us about it! Send the information to The GateHouse to be included in People on the Move!
CONTACT: gatekeeper@insidethegate.com

Well Fed Willie
 
 
 
After a run in Vallarta and then a jaunt in Costa Rica, “Well-Fed-Willie” (who never misses a meal or loses a night’s sleep) is now off to Panama to set up another boiler room so he and his team can continue to fleece thousands of timeshare owners out of millions of their hard and legitimately earned dollars with his ‘We have a buyer for your timeshare…’ scam.

 


(Do you “think funny”?
Leave your own caption in the
Comments if you’re so inclined…)