FORT LAUDERDALE: BFC Financial Corp., which owns a 54% economic interest in Boca Raton-based Bluegreen Corp. and is hoping to gain complete ownership, disclosed a loss in its first quarter financial report.
BFC, which also owns a 53% economic interest in BankAtlantic Bancorp, derives most of its financial results from its portion of the profits or losses of BankAtlantic and Bluegreen. In the first quarter, BFC lost $2.7 million on revenue of $104.8 million, compared with a $2.6 million loss on revenue of $98.8 million in the same quarter a year ago.
The proposed merger with Bluegreen, announced in November, calls for BFC to exchange eight newly issued shares for each share of Bluegreen. In order to consummate the deal, BFC must be listed on a major stock exchange.
BFC will hold a special shareholder meeting on June 19 at the Westin Fort Lauderdale, where shareholders will vote on the merger and a reverse stock split, which will be needed to boost BFC’s per-share price so it could qualify for a major exchange.
It’s a tricky deal though. At the Bluegreen shareholder meeting, scheduled to start a half-hour before the BFC meeting at the same location, two-thirds of its shareholders are needed to approve the merger. BFC, Levan and Abdo control 54 percent of its votes.
BUT, a class action lawsuit on behalf of Bluegreen shareholders that is seeking to block the deal is still pending in Palm Beach County Circuit Court. The plaintiffs allege that Bluegreen shareholders would not get adequate compensation and its directors did not do enough to shop the company to other potential buyers. The companies have filed a motion to dismiss the complaint.
So even if the merger is approved by the shareholders, will it actually go into effect if the lawsuit has not yet been decided?
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ALSO: Is the Berkley Group being sneaky with its marketing? They say no no no, but the Boston law firm of Shapiro Haber & Urmy says yes yes yes. The firm is, in fact, preparing a potential class-action lawsuit against Berkley.
What’s it all about? Well, it seems that a new phone campaign from an outfit called “Political Opinions of America” has been annoying recipients of its robo calls. Purporting to be conducting a political opinion poll, recipients are asked a few questions about political issues and then, if they are amenable to the suggestion, are transferred to a live operator from “corporate travel services” who is giving away free cruises thanks to an “anonymous donor”. The offer allows up to four free guests and requires a $60-per-person “port fee” to be secured by a credit card. The attorneys say Caribbean Cruise Line and the Berkley Group are behind the calls.
I’ll bet you can all guess how that whole presentation goes, can’t you.
Berkley Group attorneys say it’s all copacetic, that incentives are used in some of the polling company’s survey programs to increase response rates and they’re doing nothing illegal.
Critics say it’s just another way of getting around the Do-not-call laws.
And the FTC’s opinion? FTC officials said to remember that if the purpose of the call is to sell something, it is telemarketing and all DNC rules apply. Simply adding a few questions about unrelated topics such as politics or weather does not constitute a bona fide survey. At least two similar “sham survey” ruses have resulted in enforcement actions against companies for such illegal calls.
You can get all the gory details from someone who took the bait at this link (among others): That political survey robo-call you just got? It’s a scam
I report. You decide.
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BOSTON: Charles R. Caliri, of Woodstock, Vt., has been found in contempt of court in relation to a lawsuit filed against him by the Massachusetts AG’s Office in July 2010. He was ordered to pay $310,000 in civil penalties and also ordered to pay into the court $430,000 to be held until a final judgment is entered in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges Caliri and others engaged in an unfair and deceptive vacation club sales scheme through his former businesses Only Way 2 Go Travel of Plymouth and Fantasia Travel Group of Methuen, through which they were selling memberships in Outrigger Vacation Club. (See the April 30 Eastern USA Timeshare News for details)
State Attorney General Martha Coakley’s staff has been unsuccessfully trying to recover the victims’ money ever since.
For more information about this court action see Vacation Club Business Owner Held in Contempt
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CAMDEN: Here’s an update on the Adam and Ashley Lacerda/VO Group case. If you remember, they and 14 others affiliated with the VO Group were arrested April 17 on a complaint that charged them with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud relating to an alleged $2.6 million timeshare mortgage fraud scheme.
On Monday, May 14, Ashley Lacerda, Francis Santore, and Brian Corley were arraigned in Camden federal court for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, plus mail and wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. As you can see, the number of charges against them has grown since they were arrested.
Ashley Lacerda, co-owner/founder of the VO Group with her husband Adam, has been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud; two counts of mail fraud, six counts of wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
The mail and wire fraud conspiracy charge, and mail and wire fraud charges each carry a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The conspiracy to commit money laundering charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Adam Lacerda, Steven Cox, Alfred Giordano, and Joseph Diventi are scheduled to be arraigned on May 21. Adam Lacerda has been indicted on a total of 15 counts of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
The remaining nine defendants are still awaiting their fate under the original charge in the complaint.
You can get much more information, including a list of who has been charged with what, at Three From VO Group Arraigned on Timeshare Mortgage Fraud Charges.
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