New Jersey USA Timeshare News: November 15, 2014

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

CAMDEN: Convicted vacation club scam artists Daryl Turner and his estranged wife Robyn Bernstein are sorta kinda back in the news, but this time in a semi good way.

By that I mean that the assets seized (including bank accounts) by the Feds to help repay the victims of the Turners’ multiple frauds have been sold, with the proceeds headed to the Burlington County Probation Department, which is responsible for distributing it to the couple’s 770 victims.

In all, the Feds raised about $770,000, which won’t go far in making the victims whole but there’s still hope that Turner and Bernstein, who are responsible for the remaining balance of roughly $1.8 million, will eventually somehow come through with more. Both Daryl and Robyn will have to make payments to probation/corrections while they are under supervision and if they ever attempt to sell real estate in the state, or win the lottery, etc. they will have to satisfy the civil judgment against them before they can collect any money.

Here’s a list of what the Feds sold off:

  • A house, with an inground pool and lake frontage, $450,000 (worth more than $750,000 when it was seized by the state in 2011)
  • A 2007 Bentley, $76,000.
  • A 2001 Ferrari, $59,000.
  • A 2011 Range Rover, $57,000
  • A Scarab XL racing boat, $23,000.

Speaking of Robyn, word on the street is that her Jersey Girl Fitness studio’s new location at 1950 Old Cuthbert Rd in Cherry Hill is AT LEAST the 3rd location for this business (she reportedly moved in on Old Cuthbert at the beginning of Sept). I still wonder where she got the funds to open that business. Anyhow, she’s still queen-beeing it around town according to reports, still driving the Mercedes (why didn’t THAT get auctioned off?), still wearing the expensive clothing. And according to at least one non-fan, she’s still “a MEGA asshole”. 😀

“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:

Permanent link to this article:

Pennsylvania USA Timeshare News: November 15, 2014

It's Happy Hour at The GateHouse >> Eastern USA Timeshare News

WILKES-BARRE: Remember back in August when I posted an audio clip of a Sundance Vacations employee named Dante calling up a fellow named Chad to let Chad know he’d been “picked” to win a 4-day, 3-night cruise to the Bahamas on a Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship? Chad wasn’t home at the time, so the employee left a message on Chad’s answering machine. Once Chad figured out he hadn’t actually “won” anything and it was all a ploy to get him to attend a presentation hawking a travel club product, he declined the invitation.

But he didn’t stop there. He posted a copy of the message from his answering machine online and linked to it from the Boycott Sundance Vacations page on Facebook. Here it is again, in case you missed it the first time around. (Click on the audio clip below.) The employee sounded so excited about it all that he could scarcely speak coherently. Note that he got the name of the company wrong, first saying he was from Sundance Vacations then quickly changing it to say he was from SmartTravel.

The reason I’m bringing this up again is because that employee (Dante Carrelli) has apparently left his job at Sundance and on Nov. 13 he posted an apology to Chad on the Boycott page. Here’s what he said:

Dante Carrelli: Hello I am that DANTE guy that called you and I would just like to apologize for any troubles I may have caused and any misguiding information I may have told you. I do have to say as a former employee that they DO make you believe everything you are telling the people is true. I FINALLY opened my eyes, and ran for the hills, to what kind of company they are. I have not worked there in over a month and I am happy to say I finally found my dream job. Again I apologize for any misleading information or troubles I caused.

Make of that what you choose.

On a more sinister note, within the next very few days 73-year-old Albert Whitehead will most likely be heading off to jail, a victim of Sundance Vacations’ rage over that Boycott page. You may remember that in October 2014 Judge Vough held Whitehead in contempt of court for failing to pay Sundance nearly $13,000 in a timely manner and ordered him to pay that sum to Sundance on or before October 30, 2014. If he failed to do so he would be fined an additional $100 per day. And if he failed to make the full payment on or before November 18, 2014, he would be incarcerated at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility.

Making payments of $50 per month from his Social Security Retirement Benefits apparently was not adequate, though I note that Sundance has been accepting those payments. Nope. Whitehead, who is in treatment for chronic Hepatitis C and liver cancer, who according to evidence presented to the court has no income besides that Social Security check and has to represent himself since he cannot afford an attorney, will be sent to jail because of his inability to pay, not a refusal to pay.

Since then I have seen nothing in the court records to indicate the judge has had a change of heart or that Mr. Whitehead miraculously found a way to come up with what amounts to nearly his entire year’s worth of income to pay Sundance off, so unless I hear different within the next 3 days I expect to learn that Mr. Whitehead has been hauled off to the pokey. For how long? And what happens then?

If that happens I wonder if he will be able to continue his medical treatments while he’s imprisoned? It’s pretty important that the treatment continue uninterrupted (I googled it) or his condition could deteriorate again. He could even die, and that’s not an exaggeration.

But maybe that’s really what Sundance Vacations wants. After all, they specifically asked (more than once) that Mr. Whitehead be jailed and the judge is all down with that now, with both parties knowing full well how ill Whitehead is.

I’m beginning to understand how Pennsylvania got itself listed as the 5th most corrupt state in the Union and Luzerne County sits at the top of that heap. The Sandusky scandal and Cash For Kids debacle are only the most nationally visible examples; the corruption goes very deep indeed (google it).

All of this kerfuffle has been built on a case nominally about Whitehead breaking his promise not to say bad things about Sundance. You can find out what it’s REALLY all about at this link. I’ll let you know if Mr. Whitehead is actually factually incarcerated as soon as I get the details.

Meanwhile the Boycott Sundance Vacations page on Facebook, which is at the center of all this controversy, has been rumbling right along. The number of “Likes”, as of this writing, has risen to 2,318 2,3262,363 and counting.

“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:

Permanent link to this article:

Oregon USA Timeshare News: November 15, 2014

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

PORTLAND: Wyndham Worldwide is testing the waters for the possibility of building a new timeshare resort in the Skidmore-Old Town Historic District along Portland’s waterfront.

So far they’ve only made the initial pre-application approach to the Bureau of Development Services, with very preliminary sketches of what they’re thinking about — but that was pretty much all it took to bring out the long knives of opposition from some quarters.

Keep in mind that this is one of only two national landmark historic districts in all of Oregon, so strict rules will apply at every step of the process. The particular location Wyndham is looking at is currently a parking lot so at least they won’t have to worry about things like demolition or faithful restoration of a current building; they’ll be developing from the ground up, assuming they go forward with it.

Even so, there have already been protests about the company’s initial drawings. The plans call for a six story, 66,000 square foot building with 67 studios to two bedroom units designed in a U shape with a courtyard facing the street. The problem with that is that historically the buildings on the street constituted a continuous wall of buildings; in order to fit the “landmark” designations; they’d have to flip the building 180 degrees to fit that requirement and still keep the basic structure of the planned building. Either that or get a special dispensation for a setback, which its potential neighbors are already getting prickly about.

The architects, by the way, are Portland-based SERA Architects; you’d think they’d have known about those requirements?

Anyway, it’s early days in the process with a long way to go. But if they do go all the way this location in Old Town Portland could prove to be a good choice.

What do you think: Wyndham Vacation Resorts or WorldMark (or possibly even Shell Vacations)?

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:

Permanent link to this article:

France Timeshare News: October 4, 2014

It's Happy Hour at The GateHouse >> INTERNATIONAL TIMESHARE NEWS

PARIS: Paris-based Club Méditerranée (Club Med) is being courted hard by two business entities that want to say “I do” to owning it.

And they’re willing to put their money where their mouths are.

First up you’ve got a bidding consortium led by Chinese company Fosun International, which together with Axa Private Equity and Club Med management, attempted a “friendly” takeover of Club Med in May 2013 with an offer of €17 a share, which it then raised to €17.50 a few weeks later. The offer was backed by Club Med’s Board, led by Chief Executive Henri Giscard d’Estaing. Fosun had already been flirting with Club Med, having acquired 9.96% equity (an investment amount of €46 million) in June 2010. Fosun is controlled by Chinese billionaire Guo Guangchang.

But not so fast! Italian businessman Andrea Bonomi is also in love with Club Med, and he made a competing (and better) offer through Global Resorts, an investment vehicle he manages. He had also acquired about 11% in Club Med, and he weighed in with a €21 per share offer. And so the bidding war began for one of the world’s most iconic brands.

So where does it stand now? Last month Fosun sweetened its offer to €22 per share, and Global Resorts, working with investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, upped the ante again earlier this month with an offer of €23 per share AND increased its holding in Club Med to 15.9 percent of the share capital (14.3 percent of voting rights). That values Club Med at a total of €874 million ($1.09 billion), a premium of 4.6 percent when compared with the last Fosun offer. Global also intends to increase its stake in the company to 18.9%.

Under French rules, any new bid must be at least 2 percent higher than the existing one and Fosun has said they’re thinking about it.

Regardless of who ends up owning Club Med, the one sure thing is that it will be taken private. Stay tuned for details once the winning bid is announced.

“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:

Permanent link to this article:

Mexico Timeshare FRAUD: November 15, 2014

It's Happy Hour at The GateHouse >> INTERNATIONAL TIMESHARE NEWS




EVERYWHERE: This week I’ll be talking about the Subprocuraduría de Servicios de Verificación scam again and CONDUSEF and P.G.R., with copies of some documents for you to look at. If you receive documents from anyone in Mexico that look like these (relating to the sale/rental of your timeshares) you can be certain you’re on the wrong side of a scam. Even though some details may be different, even though it’s not EXACTLY like your case, if you’re approached by ANYONE who ultimately asks that you wire money to an account in Mexico for ANYTHING related to your timeshares YOU ARE BEING SCAMMED.

But first what you need to do if you are a victim of a scam is contact the authorities:

  • Your local police; There’s little they can do, but it does provide an official record
  • your state attorney general’s office; Make sure to mention it is an international, multi-state scam so they can coordinate with other attorneys general
  • the FBI via IC3 (a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center. The IC3 not only collects complaints but also analyzes them, links similar complaints, and discerns patterns in order to help law enforcement identify the scammers);
  • the US  Marshals Service;
  • Interpol – United States Central Bureau; Interpol’s databases help law enforcement see the big picture of international crime. While other agencies have their own extensive crime databases, the information rarely extends beyond one nation’s borders. Interpol can track criminals and crime trends around the world. They maintain collections of fingerprints and face photos, lists of wanted persons, DNA samples and travel documents. Their lost and stolen travel document database alone contains more than 12 million records. They also analyze all these data and release information on crime trends to the member countries.
  • the Department of Justice – Office of International Affairs; and anyone else you can think of.

It isn’t likely to help you get any of your funds back, but eventually it might help obtain some sort of justice in shutting them down/getting some of them arrested.

Click here to see the documents I mentioned and hear some first-person stories.

Permanent link to this article:

Timeshare Morning Meeting: November 15, 2014

This week’s timeshare sales tip:


REMEMBER:When a consumer purchases a 2014 Chevy Impala with an average base sticker price of about $27,500, the very second the new owner drives off the lot, BAM, it will plummet about $8,250.00 (about 30%) in resale/trade-in value.

The second year it will lose almost another $2,000 in value and so forth until at the end of five years it will have depreciated in value about $16,500 (nearly 60%) or more, depending on mileage, wear and tear, etc.

Of course over that time taxes and fees will cost the new owner upwards of $3,000. If they finance at an interest rate of (e.g.) 8% that is another chunk of money down the drain, and repairs not covered by any warranty could cost a $1,000 or more.

If they did finance w/no ‘down’ at 8% they’ll need to make a monthly payment of about $495.00 for 60 months (5 years), and when it is all said and done the Chevy owner now only has, for all the money they poured into that Impala, a used car on their hands that is out of warranty, shows signs of being ‘worn’ and is likely in need of repairs. And when they go to sell or trade in (and buy again) they will gladly take whatever the market will bear at that time.

The point is that almost everything consumers purchase (cars, computers, planes, boats, RV’s, Jet Skis, etc.) ALL lose value (from day one). So the next time a prospect mentions that they heard (or know for a fact) that timeshares lose their value, etc. don’t get upset, argue or take it the wrong way.

Instead, agree that future market conditions are always unpredictable but that owning a well maintained TS (vacation home) will protect them from the increased future rental rates of ‘accommodations’ and that based on the hotel and motel industry’s past 100 year track record they haven’t yet demonstrated that they’ll likely lower those nightly/weekly rates any time soon.

And it wouldn’t hurt to toss in the fact that unlike that Impala, they’ll never have to trade in their 2-bedroom TS and buy another one every three to five years. It is the savvy TS Pro who represents future values of ownership in such a manner who’ll 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

Permanent link to this article:

Idle Timeshare Thoughts: November 15, 2014

It's Happy Hour at The GateHouseQUOTABLE QUOTES: “I sometimes wonder if two thirds of the globe is covered in red carpet.” -Prince Charles

Why not step outside of our comfort zones, prejudices and stereotypes for a little while? This video is going to show you some things about Tehran, Iran that I’ll bet most of you didn’t know. In this first installment of The MUNCHIES Guide to Tehran, our host Gelareh Kiazand introduces us to the bustling street food offerings in the city, traveling to the Grand Bazaar to sample some delicious snacks.

You can find Parts 2/3 here (Kebabs & teas). C’mon, fess up. It isn’t what you expected, is it? 😉

And yes, there IS timeshare in Iran!

“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:

Permanent link to this article:

Timeshare People on the Move: November 15, 2014

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

Brenda Miller, the legendary Vice President and Operations Manager at Fidelity National Timeshare, is retiring at the end of 2014. Since 1997, Brenda has overseen the operations of the company’s Maitland, FL location of Fidelity National Timeshare. She has been fundamental in the onboarding of all current customers and the development of processes and procedures. She is a well-known face at all trade events.

Brenda has been an integral part of the Fidelity family for more than 20 years – after working with a major developer to create their in-house title agency, she teamed up with Rob Cohen to create a National Timeshare Division for American Pioneer Title Insurance (which was later acquired by Fidelity National Financial).

Addie Steffens will assume her duties. Steffens has spent the past 10 years with FNT and has an in-depth knowledge of the intricacies of the operation. She holds an active title agent’s license, real estate license and has had the added benefit of having worked closely with all Fidelity’s customers over the past decade.

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!

Permanent link to this article:

Timeshare KUDOS: November 15, 2014

 KUDOS go out this week to the “Friends of Ron Haylock”, who raised more than £60,000 to create the Ron Haylock Music Room at Christel House South Africa.

The success of this Appeal means that every child in the school years 7 to 11 – some 325 students – will now have the chance to take up a musical instrument, receive expert tuition and potentially play in the newly-formed school brass band.

This memorial to Ron will ensure that, now and for years to come, future generations of students, teachers and visitors to Christel House in Cape Town will be able to appreciate the legacy of a man who had so many friends and opened so many doors for young people during his lifetime.

The late Ron Haylock at Christel House South AfricaRon was a 30+ year timeshare industry veteran, known by many not only for his role as Managing Director for RCI Europe, which under his tenure grew from just a few employees to more than 1,200 staff and over £100 million turnover, but also for his passion for flora and fauna, trees and woodland, fine wines and fine dining.

However two passions stood out more than others, which were the work of Christel House International, founded by his founded by his former RCI employer and friend Christel DeHaan and his love for music. So when he passed away suddenly in May 2013 the creation of a music room at Christel House South Africa seemed a particularly appropriate memorial.

I think he would be pleased.



If you’ve got a verifiable brag or bit of praise you’d like to see in Kudos, send it in so we can share it with the whole Timeshare World! CONTACT:

Permanent link to this article:

Getting BIGGER: November 15, 2014

It's Happy Hour at The GateHouse

Levitin Group is growing its business internationally with Azure (Malta) and IFA (South Africa) both coming on board to access the company’s successful online training system.

Azure’s Director of Membership Gavin Dickinson says, “Azure’s Golden Sands resort keeps 30-40 sales representatives on staff and, in addition to the general system, each one of them can utilize the system and access particular modules which fit their individual needs.”

IFA in South Africa is also using the method and according to Shari Levitin, “We can see that their usage is off the charts from our system analytics. They are using it to train all aspects of their organization. We are very excited that we now have content for marketing teams as well on everything to the basics to overcoming objections when touring.”

Hands-on training is a good thing, but digital training is also good. Levitin Group seems to have it all together.

cheerleaderLevitin Group: 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:</a>

Permanent link to this article:

Older posts «

» Newer posts