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WILKES-BARRE: It looks like the end of the road for the Boycott Sundance Vacations page on Facebook. Sundance Vacations, whose main focus in life for the last 4 years or so appeared to be their crusade to get that page removed, seems to have finally gotten something even better: Ownership of the page.
Why do I say that? If you’ve tried to access the original Boycott page during the last two or three weeks you’ll have noticed that it has a new look, new profile picture and especially a new name: “Sundance Vacations Reviews.”
I admit I hadn’t been paying proper attention to it lately, until a few regular readers of The GateHouse emailed me to ask if the page had been hacked. Said one:
Tina Dowd, co-owner of Sundance, is posting messages. Sundance customer support is responding to people like it’s their page. Sundance employees seem to be posting positive reviews about their vacations and the great value of a Sundance vacation as if they were regular customers, many not volunteering the fact that they are employees.
Well, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t hacked, and here’s why.
I noticed some time ago (and reported on the fact) that after several years of what I would consider the misuse of the legal system to persecute Albert Whitehead (an impoverished elderly terminally ill cancer patient) for what turned out to be the false assumption that he was responsible for that page, suddenly everything turned mysteriously quiet. Sundance’s lead attorney Donna Walsh, who had kept up a relentless barrage of motions and demands for all those years, pretty much stood down (at one point she had gone so far as to make Facebook a “party” to the lawsuit against Whitehead, though that only lasted as long as it took for Facebook’s attorneys to figuratively slap her down).
Eventually I deduced that settlement negotiations were probably ongoing, apparently between Sundance and Ms. Denise Guida, who was not a party to the company’s lawsuit against Whitehead but was dragged into the affair when Sundance decided that maybe SHE owned the page and unwisely forced her to give a deposition. That did not work out well for them; she lawyered up and went after the company, its principals and its attorneys with the fierceness only righteous indignation can induce. That’s when news about the case entered the twilight zone of silence.
ANYhow, to see if I could confirm my suspicions about a settlement I headed over to look at court documents about the lawsuit against Mr. Whitehead and guess what I found? This:
Yup. Confirmation by the court that a joint motion for approval of a confidential settlement and release agreement was granted on April 6, 2016. It’s a done deal.
The settlement details are sealed, but I imagine that one of the results was the transfer of ownership of that page, which is actually a better outcome for Sundance than the mere removal of the page. I suppose also that at the very least Mr. Whitehead probably got relief as a result of the cessation of hostilities against him, and I suspect that Ms. Guida probably came out of it satisfied as well.
I’ll always remain at least mildly disappointed that we’ll never get to see the mysterious video tape of the deposition Sundance forced upon Ms. Guida and later scrambled mightily to keep away from the public’s eyes. What IS in that video they so didn’t want anyone to see? Did it reveal that Mr. Whitehead was telling the truth all along and they had been hounding the wrong person for 4 years? Did it have anything to do with the sudden urgent desire of the company to reach a settlement? Wouldn’t it be something if Sundance/Ms Donna Walsh somehow shot themselves in the foot with that deposition? We’ll never know, but it’s fun to speculate.
And it’s all speculation from here on out ’cause I don’t think we’ll be hearing so much as a peep from anyone previously involved in the controversy.
I guess if the folks who depended on that Boycott Sundance Vacations page want to have a place to continue its work, why they’ll just have to set up their own forum or something and run it themselves, yeah?
Man, that Boycott page had a good run, though, didn’t it? 😉
“If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.” –Alice Roosevelt Longworth
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