CHICAGO: It’s pretty discouraging to get emails like this one, concerning the probable Lakeview Property Management resale scam I wrote about last week that purports to be headquartered in Chicago:

We were contacted by Lakeview Property Management approx. 3 weeks ago. My husband said we should go ahead. UHHG! Wish you had posted this article sooner! They took over $5,000 from us. Right before christmas too! I am just finding this all out TODAY! have been suspicious since the begining! Is there anything you can do to help us? I will give you all info I have gotten from them! Please let me know!

raincloudThe thing is, there really isn’t any help I can offer other than getting the word out so others don’t fall into the trap. And that doesn’t help current victims one bit.

But every little bit helps. I also received this message:

I would first like to say how TRULY THANKFUL I was to stumble upon your article about Lakeview Property Management. Back in ’09 my father bought a timeshare in Puerto Vallarta. One day he got a phone call asking if he was interested in selling. He said he’d been thinking about it. We had NO idea where these people got our number from as we have never advertised to sell. We got an e-mail a few months later from a John Pearson, sending an offer. Like in your article, too good to be true… We looked up their business, tried to find anything we could; better business bureau, testimonials… I wish I had thought to type “eric lopez lakeview property management” into google sooner.
[...snip...] We were skeptical. They didn’t call back last week (yes, this is THAT recent!!) at all when they said they would and I am so happy about it now. I hope they realized we’re not that easy to fool. Truly thankful to of found your webpage and mostly that you included their names because they did sound like weasels on the phone, and that just verified the suspicions.

One at a time. One at a time…

Meanwhile, the Mexico escrow scam is proliferating at an alarming rate. The BBB in Minnesota has named four more such scams. See below.



MONTEVIDEO: The Better Business Bureau of Minnesota has identified four entities falsely claiming Minneapolis and St. Paul addresses, all of which claimed to be timeshare resale companies. BUT, investigations of them revealed that they were operated remotely – likely from Mexico – and none of them were legitimate organizations. All of them promised buyers for victims’ timeshares and required money to be bank wired to a supposed escrow account in Mexico.

The companies are: Events, Etc, Event Consulting Services, Global Consulting & Real Estate Services and Renaissance Marketing of Property. All four entities proved to have no actual physical presence in Minnesota, and all have F ratings with the BBB. (Renaissance Marketing of Property was the target of a recent Cease and Desist order filed by the Minnesota Department of Commerce due to a lack of proper licensing and employment of bait and switch tactics.)

Bottom line, as always: If you are approached by an agency promising a buyer for your timeshare and one of the requirements is to wire funds to Mexico— RUNNNNN!



BRANSON: In the Better News Department, Compass Resort Group will be celebrating its fifth anniversary in 2013.

Compass is the brainchild of timeshare industry veterans Jay Finley and Chuck Frey. It’s an independent timeshare sales and marketing company that works with select resort HOAs and developers at mature resorts to revive the sale of inventory, mostly inventory that has been forfeited/repossessed. Doing this reduces the drain on HOA funds by bringing in new owners who actually pay their maintenance fees.

The company now has agreements with resorts in Missouri, South Dakota, Wisconsin, California and Texas.

Congratulations on your success, guys! cheerleader


"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:

This week’s timeshare sales tip:


REMEMBER: Sometimes before the conclusion of the front end of the sales presentation prospects may begin to think it’s too good to be true and others may outright not believe what they are being told.

Since most sales guests will initially anticipate that their rep is going to lie about something, there is no better way to satisfy their perceptions than to do a little online research, have a little fun and tell the biggest sounding whopper you can come up with. One of the best places to do this is just prior to beginning the actual sales presentation.

E.G. “You know, Alex and Cindy, before we get started today, if I were to blurt out that Jesus Christ had a drivers license you’d be inclined to think I was either stark-raving mad or an outright liar wouldn’t you?

“But if I told you— and showed you the records— that over the years several individuals in the State of California petitioned the courts to have their names legally changed to Jesus Christ and the court granted their pleas and because they did the DMV had no option but to amend the petitioners’ drivers licenses to ‘Jesus Christ’ then you might be inclined to think, well, that’s California for ya!”

When doing this it is important to let the prospect know that sometimes you’ll share information with them that may not seem plausible and that ‘if’ that happens have them agree, then and there, to stop you and ask questions (clarification) about a specific benefit or feature. By doing this and clearing the air the savvy TS Pro will add more credibility to their presentation and laugh all the way to the bank.


Join us for a pithy morning meeting timeshare sales tip of the week, originally published in, 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 All rights reserved

QUOTABLE QUOTES: “I once wanted to become an atheist but I gave up — they have no holidays.” -Henny Youngman

And now for some deeep thoughts— and a qualification. pondering

The Paradox of Our Age

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge but less judgment, more experts yet more problems, more medicine but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things.

We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion big men and small character steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce fancier houses but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.

Remember, spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember to say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.

Remember to say “I love you” to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.

Give time to love, give time to speak, and give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Now for the qualification:

The above was written by Dr. Bob Moorehead, former pastor of Seattle’s Overlake Christian Church— not by a student at Columbine High School, not by the ubiquitous “Anonymous” and not by George Carlin (who very emphatically denied he had anything to do with “Paradox,” a piece he referred to as “a sappy load of sh$t” and posted his comments about being associated with this essay on his own web site), though it has been attributed to all three of the latter in various posts all over the Internet.

The essay appeared in ‘Words Aptly Spoken,’ Dr. Moorehead’s 1995 collection of prayers, homilies, and monologues used in his sermons and radio broadcasts.

During Bob Moorehead’s tenure as pastor of Overlake Christian Church, seventeen members of his congregation reported that he had sexually assaulted them. These allegations, which surfaced in 1997, prompted his resignation in 1998. After a year of publicly supporting Moorehead the church elders withdrew their support, their own investigation into the charges having led them to conclude their pastor had indeed been guilty of molesting a number of male churchgoers.

And what does it all mean? Whatever you want it to. shrug

Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanza and Happy New Year!


"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:

RCI has signed a multi-year affiliation agreement with Mexico’s Royal Resorts, bringing Royal’s six properties into RCI’s network of affiliated resorts.

The resorts, located from Cancun to the Riviera Maya, include The Royal Cancun, The Royal Mayan, The Royal Islander, The Royal Caribbean, The Royal Sands and The Royal Haciendas.

The Royals have been affiliated with Interval International for at least most of their 35-year existence. I wonder why they left? Does this mean I.I. is getting smaller? :P

Also, I believe a couple of the Royals only have a very few years left in their RTU contracts. What will they do when those contracts expire?

cheerleaderRCI: getting BIGGER!

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This week Scoop points out that in the USA there are an estimated 25 + Million businesses catering to the needs of well over 300 Million consumers (including ‘foreign visitors’). Covering the gamut from A to Z, including timeshare developers, you can bet your last sawbuck that nearly 100% of all businesses suffer from a common ailment that costs them unknown financial losses on a daily basis.

So what’s the Scoop? See for yourself at And I Think I Need a Lear Jet


Today we offer a tip of the hat and a respectful farewell to Robert (Bob) A. Miller, who is stepping down from his positions as executive vice president and chief operating officer for Marriott Vacations Worldwides’ International region at the end of the year.

A 35-year industry veteran, Miller started his career in 1978 with the co-founding of American Resorts Corporation which was purchased by Marriott International, Inc. in 1984. The new division launched Marriott as the first branded hospitality company to enter the timeshare industry by more than a decade.

Miller came on board with Marriott when it acquired American Resorts, where he was the president and chief operating officer. He served as president for the timeshare division until 1996 and grew the business from $5.4 million to nearly $258 million during that time.

Due to his height (6′ 7″), Miller has often and inevitably been called “Big Bob”, a sobriquet to which he seems to have resigned himself. He has certainly left a big footprint in the industry.

Lee Cunningham, a 30-year Marriott veteran who currently serves as the executive vice president and chief operating officer for North America and the Caribbean regions, will take on Miller’s responsibilities for the International region upon his retirement.

Thanks for all your contributions to the industry, Bob; you’ve done a great job! I hope you enjoy your retirement! A tip of the hat


In a recent press release noting that ARDA President and CEO Howard Nusbaum will be speaking at the upcoming GNEX 2013 Convention, he was quoted as saying:

“…as we sit at a unique moment in the world of vacation ownership. A recalibrated model born of the lessons learned from the impact of a worldwide recession is now better poised than ever, with a more sustainable business platform as well as pent up consumer demand. Positive winds from global growth coupled with exciting new products and marketing channels brings us to the dawn of the golden age of timeshare.”

“The dawn of the golden age of timeshare.” That’s quite an intriguing statement, don’t you think?


 ANOTHER OFF TOPIC, this one sent in by Scoobydoo: My how things have changed! How did we get here from there???

Young Republicans Campaign Poster 1956

NOTE: This was an eyebrow-raiser for sure and it’s kind of fun to have these off topic things, but we’re not going to be turning this blog into a political forum. OK? Just sayin’…


"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:

YOUR WEEKLY MUSIC BREAK: Let’s go all highbrow this week with some serious violin playing by the incomparable Itzhak Perlman. Here he performs Carlos Gardel’s famous “Por Una Cabeza” tango with the City of Praga Philharmonic Orchestra at Parque Bicentenario in Chile on Nov. 18, 2010.

This piece of music, written in 1935, has been featured in many films, including “Scent of a Woman”, Titanic and “Schindler’s List”. It’s very sexy, and no one plays it better than Perlman!

The Video of the Week 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 hear?



NEWTOWN: Our deepest sympathies and sincere condolences go out to the family members, schoolmates and friends of the victims whose lives were so tragically ended during the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. Words cannot express the horror I feel for them and for the community at large.

May they somehow find peace in the weeks and months ahead.



BOCA RATON: Frank De Filippo, a former New York City Police Department detective, has been sentenced to a little more than 12 1/2 years in prison for a timeshare resale scam in Palm Beach County that cheated more than 1,000 timeshare owners out of more than $3 million.

De Filippo pled guilty to a single count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. Working out of offices in Boca Raton and Boynton Beach, the scheme operated under the guise of a half dozen corporations registered with the Florida Department of State, among them Euroamerican Timeshares, E.A.T. Sales, National Timeshare Liquidators, Transatlantic Timeshares and Real Estate Purchasing Syndicate.

De Filippo will voluntarily surrender next month to the U.S. Bureau of Prison to begin serving his sentence.

Others charged in the fraud include: Joshua Barrett Hoskins, John James Fenimore, Michael T. Dignelli,, Sr., John F. Macpherson and Garry Anthony Brown.



PARSIPPANY: RCI was recently recognized by the St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA) with a Crystal Pineapple Award in the category of Outstanding Tourism Industry Partner. They’re pretty proud of that, and so they should be: The SHTA chose RCI unanimously!

Among RCI’s contributions to the tourism industry in St. Maarten, the SHTA cited RCI’s ability to gather, analyze and provide information about timeshare exchange travel trends on the island. With this information, businesses were able to tailor their tourism products and services to grow the industry in St. Maarten. RCI, along with other timeshare industry leaders, also worked with the SMTA to draft comprehensive legislation to assist in the regulation of the timeshare industry, which was submitted to Parliament and the Minister of Justice in October.

RCI became the first vacation exchange company in St. Maarten in the early 1980s through an affiliation with the island’s first timeshare property, the Pelican Resort. RCI is now affiliated with more than 20 quality properties on the island.

KUDOS! cheerleader


"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:


CHICAGO: Do any of you remember the notorious Michael E. Kelly, who was running a giant timeshare Ponzi scheme out of Cancun, MX several years back? In the end, he swindled more than 7,000 people (most of them elderly) out of nearly $500 million.

At one time he was a big enough hotshot in timeshare land to be scheduled as a speaker at an ARDA annual convention, in spite of repeated warnings from some within the industry that he was a crook (including the old “Timeshare Beat” website, which flogged him regularly). I don’t know if he showed up for that convention, but a few months later the Feds snatched him at the Mayo Clinic where he had gone for medical tests for a heart ailment or something. They arrested his sorry a$$ in his hospital room on December 22, 2006 just before he was about to be discharged to return to one of his homes in Cancun.

In pretrial services, Kelly claimed that he only earned $55,000 a year and had only $48,000 in assets (the lying sack of crap!). In spite of this claim, Kelly offered a private jet, four yachts and race track as collateral at his detention hearing. He was denied bail and remanded to the Metropolitan Correctional Center, Chicago, where he’s been languishing ever since. At first Kelly attempted to avoid indictment by arranging a plea agreement that included paying restitution to the victims, but that didn’t work out. On 14 May 2008, he pled not guilty to 14 counts of fraud and was remanded in custody. So far only about $50 million of the money he stole has been recovered, and in the meantime many of his elderly victims have died.

ANYhow, I just learned that he’s getting out of jail soon. Heck he might be out already. He’s a very sick man, you see.

Now 63 years old, Kelly and the Feds agreed to a plea deal in which he would plead guilty to one count of securities fraud and on Dec. 13 he was sentenced to 5 years in prison (one year less than he’s already served).

As part of the sentencing, Kelly agreed to, and Judge Guzman ordered, restitution totaling $342,143,221, minus any credit for funds distributed by the court-appointed special master overseeing the liquidation of Kelly’s assets.

Before imposing the five-year sentence, Judge Guzman granted Kelly’s request to be released temporarily under home incarceration, with global position electronic monitoring, for up to four months or no longer than necessary to receive medical treatment for colon cancer at his own expense without using any investor or government funds. Then he has to go back to jail. Kelly’s relatives co-signed a $10 million signature bond and posted properties in Lakeville, Indiana, and Double Springs, Alabama, to secure his release.

The judge was reluctant to release him at first, saying he wanted reassurances from Kelly’s probation officer before signing off on it. According to an article in The Post-Tribune:

Though Kelly — who sat in a wheelchair throughout a lengthy hearing Wednesday — told the judge he is gravely ill with advanced heart disease as well as cancer, Guzman said “I’ve seen sicker people than this get up and walk away.”

Noting that only $50 million of the $340 million Kelly allegedly stole has been recovered, that Kelly has dual Mexican and American citizenship and has previously lived abroad, the judge added that he didn’t want to receive a “frantic phone call” saying that Kelly had fled the U.S. while under house arrest.

Prosecutors agreed to the plea agreement because they wanted to make sure the restitution deal was sealed before he died and his heirs could interfere.

Kelly still faces 13 additional counts of mail, wire, and securities fraud, which remain pending until they are resolved by a trial or a second guilty plea at a later date. If convicted of those counts, Kelly will be subject to substantial additional terms of imprisonment.

You can get the gory details from the FBI’s press release: Michael E. Kelly Pleads Guilty in First Stage of Resolving $500 Million Timeshare Ponzi Scheme

ALSO IN CHICAGO: There appears to be another timeshare resale scam floating around that involves the wiring of funds to an “escrow” account in Mexico. The method and paperwork are identical to the fraud I detailed last week in the Mexico section of International News, only the names are different.

So why am I placing this in Chicago? Because the company involved, Lakeview Property Management, claims its address to be 330 N. State Street, Suite 842, Chicago, IL. There’s a problem with that, though. The only business at that address is a 10pin Bowling Lounge.

Another problem is that the company’s website claims Lakeview has been in business since 1991 (originally in Arizona) and bears a copyright date of 2010; but there is no corporation by that name registered in Arizona and the domain name for the website itself was not registered until Oct. 2012.

A quick look through the State of Illinois’ corporate records finds only one company by that name (an LLC) and that company was involuntarily dissolved in 2010. So at the very least it would appear that they are not licensed to do business in either Arizona or Illinois.

Testimonials identical to those on the website of Lakeview Property ManagementThere are glowing testimonials on the site, too. Funny thing, though; they are identical to testimonials on at least 4 other timeshare resale-related websites (click on the screen capture at the left of a google search I made for one of those testimonials). Coincidentally(?), each of those 4 websites bears a strong resemblance to the other 3, though not to Lakeview Property Management’s website (except for those testimonials).

Very sloppy work, that, for all five websites. I may have to do some research into those other four companies, too. ;)

The names I know of that are associated with Lakeview Property Management are:

  • John Pearson (Financial Director)
  • Gary Willard (Project Director)
  • Eric Lopez (Agent)

Their website’s domain name is registered to Luis Alvarez in Zapopan, Jalisco, Mexico.

They use BBVA-Bancomer for international electronic bank wire transfers, with the beneficiary being GRAND GROUP DI ALMARESCO SA DE CV. (with a Mexico City address). The beneficiary bank (where the money victims wire is deposited to be picked up by the representative of Grand Group di Almaresco) is a BBVA-Bancomer-Mexico bank in Puerto Vallarta.

This is a heads up for timesharers who own at Mexican resorts. If Lakeview Property Management or any other such company contacts you with a promise of a buyer for your timeshare (at a price far above its actual worth), be very suspicious! Nearly everything they’ll tell you will be a lie!


"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:


Melvin Zulak and Karla Ann Davis have reached a settlement with the BC Securities Commission (BCSC), in which they admitted to illegally distributing Aviawest Resorts securities.

Themselves Aviawest directors, the pair admitted to selling unregistered promissory notes to 14 clients through Nanaimo-based Zulak Financial Group Ltd. between February 2010 to April 2011. They raised a total of $770,044, generating approximately $7,700 in commissions for Zulak Financial.

They have each agreed to pay $6,000 to the commission for their misconduct. BCSC stressed that Zulak and Davis have no history of regulatory or disciplinary history and cooperated fully with commission staff and they remain registered as exempt market dealers.

The investigation was announced last August, with Aviawest and its directors, Rob DiCastri, Andrew Pearson, James Pearson, Lawrence Pearson, and Susan Pearson also accused of contravening securities laws. They allegedly distributed securities to 214 investors without having filed a prospectus, raising approximately $12.7 million. Presumably that part of the investigation has not yet been resolved.

You can read about it here.

In case you’ve forgotten, the bankrupt Aviawest Resort Club merged with Vacation Internationale in May 2012.



Dial an Exchange Italy has signed its very first resort affiliation since opening its new office in Italy three months ago. The agreement with Portofino Est Residence, located in the Golfo di Tugullio in Rapallo (Liguria), allows DAE to offer its exclusive free timeshare exchange membership program directly to Portofino Est Residence owners with the support of resort management.

Consisting of 72 holiday-style apartments, the resort has recently undertaken major renovation work, with about half of the apartments having been completely refurbished. Portofino Est Residence has two swimming pools, solarium, bar, club house and a magnificent view of Golfo del Tigullio, offering a fantastic holiday experience.

DAE is approaching 450,000 members worldwide, making it the largest independent timeshare exchange company in the world.



There are two things to report about Mexican timeshare this week, and you’ll find both of them in the Midwest/Southern USA section. Why? Because both events have a strong Chicago connection.

So go straight there for news of the dastardly Michael Kelly FINALLY pleading guilty to something in the long-running case against him for the massive Ponzi scheme he pulled a decade or more ago, and also for a warning about Lakeview Property Management, another timeshare resale fraud using a Mexican “escrow” company to rip timeshare owners off. Hurry off now; you don’t want to miss it!



RCI has inked a new affiliation agreement with Leisure Dimensions Ltd that keeps Petchey Leisure’s six properties in Europe within RCI’s portfolio of affiliated resorts.

The new agreement brings Petchey Leisure and RCI together for an extended affiliation term (they don’t say how extended). Petchey Leisure’s six properties across Portugal, Spain and Tenerife will all be affiliated to RCI, and RCI will be providing white label club servicing for Petchey Leisure’s Infiniti Points, Atlas Weeks, Atlas Points and Genesis Club brands from its call centers.

Not exactly getting BIGGER with this new affiliation, but status quo is good. thumb up


"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:

This week’s timeshare sales tip:


REMEMBER: There are always signs to be on the watch for when dealing with a sales guest. One sign is that of the ‘note-taker’ who whips out a pen and pad and while laying them on the table pulls his chair closer to the edge and positions himself as if he’s getting ready to write down every single word.

The ‘note-takers’, do this for a couple of reasons, but what is important is to disarm them from taking notes and not for some diabolical reason but because when they do take notes it may be a challenge for them to thoroughly listen to what the rep is saying at the same time– especially to key points.

One effective way to stop this process is to say, once he/she is all comfy with their chair adjustment, pad and pen on the table, “You know Mary (Bob), you really don’t need to jot down notes today because when we’re done I have a full package (aka: ‘The Signed Docs’— the rep’s mission) that highlights and explains in detail all the benefits and features I’ll be sharing with you today…”

That should usually do it and Mary (or Bob) will likely move the pad and pen to the side. Now with the prospect’s undivided attention and full control of the sale environment, the savvy TS Pro will be able to begin an unobstructed presentation all the way to that “full package”, 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, 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 All rights reserved

QUOTABLE QUOTES: “I have a simple philosophy: Fill what’s empty. Empty what’s full. Scratch where it itches.” -Alice Roosevelt Longworth

I’m sick to death of everyone who insists on perpetuating the myth that the timeshare industry is the only business that bribes people to get them in the door. What got me in this snit was the following paragraph from an old press release I ran across: “The problem is that the public still believes that there’s something wrong with it based on the way they’re bribed to come in and attend a presentation. No other product or service is marketed this way and until the industry lets consumers buy the product instead of insisting on selling it, it will always be the step-child of the travel industry.”

Oh give me a break! This is so patently false that it’s ridiculous, yet it is repeated endlessly by people who profess to be “experts” about the timeshare business. Think about it, and I’ll bet you can come up with a ton of businesses that offer bribes purchase incentives to draw in potential customers. Here are just a few.

The Auto Sales Industry: 0% Down, 0% Interest and No Payments For Six Months just to get you on the lot. How does that work out? See this… Some car dealers even offer free pancake breakfasts or barbecues, etc. Bribe?

Banking: Remember when banks used to give away free toasters and other stuff to get your business? Nowadays they offer free checking or savings accounts and/or low/no interest for a period of time to get you to transfer your accounts to their establishments. (Ever checked the fine print on that super deal offered by credit card companies?) Bribe?

Retail: What other than a “purchase incentive” is that super sale at Department Stores if not a way to get you to come in the stores and purchase their products? Especially the ones that get hundreds of goofs to line up at 5:00AM for their special “3-hours-only sale? And what about the “free” things they give away if you buy X-amount of goods at their stores? And the free things they give you to fill out a form to get the store’s credit card? Think of all the come-ons from grocery stores, offering buy-one-get-one-free. Even companies like Pep Boys do it, with “Buy Three Tires Get the Fourth Tire Free”– like anyone is going to buy three tires… Bribe?

The Fast Food/Restaurant Industry: Want to Super Size that? Get two-for-one. Get a free soft drink with every purchase. Get free toys for your kids with every Happy Meal. At Denny’s, IHop and other restaurants kids eat free. And so forth. Bribe?

Lodging: Free Continental Breakfast. Kids stay and eat free! Bribe?

Bars: Ladies’ Night, Happy Hour, free snacks… Bribe?

Sheesh! Enough already!


"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:

Scoop really IS back this week! (or IS he? tin foil hat) It’s all about an important ARDA webinar and it’s an important topic:

If you subscribe to the ARDA (American Resort Development Association) e-mail updates you’ve received a recent announcement asking participants to join in a webinar on December 12th for some shop-talk about “How are We Aging” (as an industry), specifically referencing what they call “legacy” resorts which are properties that are more than 20 years old, sold out and under HOA control.

Discover what he thinks about it: Calling All the Shots.


OFF TOPIC, sent in by joysells:

“The liberal war on Christmas rages on at the White House.”

White House Xmas 2012

I hear they put up a whopping 54 Christmas trees at the White House this year. Do you have a snappy caption for that photo?


"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:

This is the time of year when our Jewish friends celebrate the eight days of Chanukah, so I thought I’d offer you a special video about it.

“ck”, founder of Jewlicious, says:

It’s the same story every year – how do you spell Hanukkah? In Hebrew it’s easy – חנוכה – but everything Jewish is easier in Hebrew, especially if you’re in the land of the Jews where you can miraculously enjoy the eight days of Chanuka without reference to the overblown commercialism and oppressive ubiquity that is Christmas in the rest of the world. But have no fear, what Adam Sandler started years ago, and South Park continued, will go on for the foreseeable future as Jews everywhere, inspired by seasonal hits and the promise of YouTube immortality, present us with annual Hanukkah videos.

Here is one of the videos “ck” has recommended for this year, and I totally agree with his choice.

Happy Chanukah from the Los Angeles Jewish Home! (Don’t you just want to hug them — and offer them some good, crispy latkes)? Watch it; it’ll make you smile.

The Video of the Week 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 hear?



TRUCKEE: This is interesting. East West Partners has sold the remaining fractional ownership town homes at its luxury Old Greenwood development to Northstar Financial, along with parcels for future development. Northlight will be calling their new acquisition Northlight at Old Greenwood.

If you aren’t familiar with the project, it’s one of four master planned luxury resort communities developed by East West’s Tahoe Mountain Resorts brand near Lake Tahoe‘s North Shore: The Village at Northstar, The Northstar Highlands, Old Greenwood and Gray’s Crossing. Its amenities include a Jack Nicklaus Signature Design 18-hole championship golf course, rated one of the “Top Ten Best New Courses” by Golf Magazine and The Pavilion, home to two outdoor swimming pools, a state-of-the-art fitness facility, day spa, a restaurant and bar, tennis courts and extensive trails.

Tahoe Mountain Club will continue to own and operate Old Greenwood’s Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course and The Pavilion and Tahoe Mountain Resorts Real Estate will continue to serve as the exclusive listing brokerage for the property.

Northlight has invested in several fractional resort properties across the Western United States, including two in Arizona, Seven Canyons in Sedona and Quintero Golf and Country Club outside of Phoenix; Wyoming’s Snake River Sporting Club near Jackson; and The Residence Club at PGA West in La Quinta. Now they can chalk up another one near Lake Tahoe, California.

When only the finest will do…



OAHU: If all goes well, Oahu’s North Shore will be getting a pretty big timeshare resort in the near future. The owners of the iconic Turtle Bay Resort have filed a supplemental environmental impact report that outlines its new $770 million plans for a major development at the resort’s 880-acre site. The plan calls for two new hotels totaling 625 units, 590 new residential units and 160 workforce housing units to be built over an 11-year period.

Of particular interest to us are the plans for the first phase of the project, which call for 375 timeshare units. If all goes well, construction could begin as early as 2014. The BIG question is which timeshare company would brand, market and sell those timeshares? It would almost have to be one of the major timeshare operators of course, but which one?

A consortium of international investment management firms which had managed the resort for a couple of years took back the property from Oaktree Capital Management in early 2010 in a deed in lieu of foreclosure transaction, and had already spent some $56 million on upgrades at that time.

Replay Resorts Inc., a resort development firm based in Canada, will be in charge of developing the land on both sides of the existing 443-room Turtle Bay Resort. Keep in mind that Turtle Bay is already the only destination resort on the North Shore, in a spectacular location used in many films, and there is likely to be considerable local opposition to these plans even though they represent a 60% reduction from a 1985 master plan that called for building 3,500 new hotel rooms and residential units. If you’ve ever been to the area you can probably understand the local desire for the land to be left alone.

Stay tuned.


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

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