HILTON HEAD: Oh-oh, the tax man cometh…

And the following Hilton Head timeshare sales reps apparently didn’t see him coming. According to the S.C. Department of Revenue:

  • Leigh Anne Hoppe was arrested in July for failure to file state income tax returns for years 2007, 2008 and 2009. Hoppe, 48, earned income of $190,465 during years 2007 – 2009 with a tax liability of $8,944. Hoppe was required to file a South Carolina income tax return on or before April 15 for these tax years. If convicted, Hoppe could face up to three years in prison or fines of up to $30,000, or both.
  • Robert Ray Lauderman was arrested by S.C. Department of Revenue investigators for failure to file income tax returns. During 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010, Lauderman brought in $417,302 and allegedly failed to file his state individual income taxes during that time. Lauderman’s state tax liability for these years is $21,809. He’s facing up to five years in prison and/or fines of up to $50,000 if convicted.
  • Freda G. McKinney was arrested on July 12 by state Department of Revenue investigators for failure to file her state income tax returns for tax years 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. During this time she earned $633,269. Her tax liability is $25,771. McKinney, 58, could go to prison for five years or get a $50,000 fine or both, if convicted.

The bogeyman’ll get you if you don’t… watch… out…

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BRECKENRIDGE: It looks like Breckenridge Grand Vacations is close to getting approval for its new luxury resort at the Bergenhof site on Peak 8. The town council is set to take a second and final vote on an agreement for the 80-unit project this month.

It’s notable that Mike Dudick, who is both a BGV part-owner and a council member, abstained from discussing or voting on the agreement due to the conflict of interest.

On the plus side, BGV developers say the development will create 100 new positions, protect 130 jobs that would otherwise be cut in the next six to eight years when timeshares at their Grand Lodge on Peak 7 sell out and that it represents an $80-million construction project favoring local subcontractors. The development is expected to generate $2.5 to $3 million in town revenues through real estate transfer tax.

On the minus side are environmental concerns, mainly revolving around potential harm to Cucumber Gulch, an ecologically critical wetlands complex located below the Peak 8 base area. Expect stipulations to show up in the second reading regarding environmental protections.

If approved, the agreement will allow BGV to purchase $800,000 worth of development rights from the town’s open space bank, providing the necessary density for the five-story timeshare building to be constructed. It will have a larger footprint than the existing Bergenhof (affectionately known as the “Bergie”), Peak 8′s original skier day lodge, which will be torn down.

Note that if the plan wins approval from the council, the resort will still have to secure planning approval to move forward. So don’t pack your bags just yet.

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RANCHO SANTA FE: The very tony Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa in North County San Diego’s upscale neighborhood of Rancho Santa Fe temporarily closed its doors in January to begin a $20 million renovation to the venerable property. The renovation includes remodeled guest suites and major enhancements to the restaurant, spa, fitness center and meeting spaces, among other things.

Overseeing the project are Rancho Valencia’s new ownership team: Jeff and Hal Jacobs, former high-tech executives; Doug Carlson, cofounder and Chief Executive Officer of Fiji Water; and San Diego real estate developer Jeffrey Essakow.

Apparently not included in the renovations (not needed?) is The Villas at Rancho Valencia, the resort’s private residence club. Consisting of twelve spacious, luxuriously appointed three-bedroom villas with in-ground jetted spas, a private Owner’s Clubhouse and outdoor pool, ownership includes access to all of the service and amenities of Rancho Valencia. The Villas are available in fully deeded 1/8th fractional interests, giving owners 4 “planned weeks” of use and flex time on a space-available basis for a total of up to 90 days per year.

And being the luxury resort that it is, before your arrival your clothing and personal items are in your Villa, your refrigerator and pantry are stocked, and all you need to do is bring your toothbrush.

The renovations will be complete in September and the whole resort will reopen just in time for the Del Mar racing season. Lucky you if you own there!

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The folks at the Residence Club at Tucker’s Point are offering an incentive to get new fractional buyers to sign on the dotted line, namely the waiving of their maintenance fees and dues for the first year. To provide urgency, the offer expires Sept. 15, 2012.

Fractions start at US$199,500 for five-weeks of deeded ownership in 2-, 3- or 4-bedroom villas in Harbour Court, on the water’s edge of Castle Harbour, and the Golf Villas, which provide views of the golf course.

The resort, which includes a hotel, golf club and residential community, covers 200 acres of Bermuda’s waterfront. The private Tucker’s Point Club includes a championship golf course and clubhouse, lighted Har-Tru clay tennis courts, and a spectacular beach club with Bermuda’s largest private, pink-sand beach.

Tom Sleeter has been director of sales and marketing for Tucker’s Point since 2007. Before that he served six years as Director, Environmental Protection at Ministry of Environment, Bermuda and he has a Masters and a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from Harvard.

That’s an interesting resume for someone in the shared ownership industry, don’t you think?

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As if the folks who brought Aviawest Resorts into being hadn’t had enough problems already, the executive director of the British Columbia Securities Commission has issued a notice of hearing alleging that Aviawest and its directors distributed securities illegally with the assistance of another B.C. company that primarily sells life insurance products.

The notice alleges that from December 2006 to June 2011, Aviawest Resorts Inc. distributed securities to 214 investors without having filed a prospectus, raising approximately $12.7 million. In doing so, the company and its directors, Rob DiCastri, Andrew Pearson, James Pearson, Lawrence Pearson, and Susan Pearson contravened securities laws. Aviawest has an office in Nanaimo, B.C., and all Aviawest directors are B.C. residents.

The company claimed that 173 of the investors (collectively representing about $9.2 million) purchased the securities under the “Family, Friends and Business Associates” exemption, but the exemption was not applicable. For 18 investors who collectively invested $1.2 million, Aviawest did not claim exemptions from securities laws.

The notice also alleges that between February 2010 and April 2011, Zulak Financial Group Ltd, a B.C. company with an office in Nanaimo, and company directors Karla Ann Davis and Melvin Zulak, marketed Aviawest securities to 21 of their life insurance clients who invested approximately $1.8 million. Both Davis and Zulak are B.C. residents.

BCSC staff maintain that the directors of Aviawest and Zulak Financial authorized, permitted, or acquiesced in Aviawest’s and Zulak Financial’s contraventions of securities laws.

Note that these allegations have not been proven. Counsel for the executive director will apply for final orders against the parties. The first hearing into the allegations before a panel of commissioners is set for Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 9:00am.

Stay tuned.

Oh, and just in case you’ve forgotten, the bankrupt Aviawest Resort Club merged with Vacation Internationale in May 2012, which was probably a very good thing…

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Morritt’s Resort seems to be moving right along with the construction of its new Londoner building at Morritt’s Grand Tortuga, which broke ground on April 4, 2012. Actual excavation of the site got under way on July 16 and they have construction photos on the Morritt’s website.

At buildout it will comprise 5 stories offering 20 deluxe rooms, six of which will be two-bedroom townhouses, ten will be luxury two-bedroom apartments, and four super deluxe three-
bedroom penthouses. David Morritt says the new building “will be so stunning it will blow your mind!”

And of course he is already encouraging guests to talk to the resort’s sales team about those glorious 3-bedroom suites. Presale prices?

For those of you who’ve been around in Mexico and the Caribbean for a number of years, you might like to know that the indomitable Peter Bacon is currently entertaining Morritt’s guests every Friday & Saturday night with his musical stylings. By gosh, he’s done all right for himself!

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Finland’s Holiday Club Oy has completed a total refurbishment of its Holiday Club Puerto Calma resort, located in Puerto Rico on the sunny south coast of Gran Canaria. All 109 apartments were re-designed in order to be both aesthetically pleasing as well as functional. They are fitted and furnished to the highest standards, including fully equipped kitchens, air-conditioning and exterior chill-out area. Additionally, all common areas were completely renovated.

Initially the works were to be executed over two years: Phase 1 from May to October 2012 and Phase 2 from May to October 2013. But Holiday Club decided to carry on simultaneously with both phases, which included the upgrading of the common areas. The pool area is completely new and equipped with a spa-area including a variety of special water jets. The gardens and pool-bar were also upgraded and there is a new large solarium somewhat separated from the pool where guests can relax in peace and quiet while enjoying the sun and sea views.

On the 21st of April 2012 works commenced and on the 7th of July 2012 the new Holiday Club Puerto Calma welcomed its first guests.

That was some seriously fast work!

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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! Today’s tip:

Strike a Bargain:

REMEMBER: Sales guests are expecting lies so give ‘em a good dose of truth instead! And if you want to shock your sales guests right out of their chairs then after the ‘Meet & Greet’, the ‘Warm-Up’, the ‘Survey’ and while ‘Breaking The Pact’, strike the following deal with each prospect!

(E.G.) “What I’m going to share with you today is certainly not for everyone but I make you a promise that I will not exaggerate, fib or distort the truth whatsoever. And because I won’t, I only ask that after you have previewed everything you extend me the same courtesy and share your thoughts with me, too. Fair enough?”

They will almost always agree and by asking each prospect for that sort of basic upfront commitment you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank!

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QUOTABLE QUOTES: “The country is governed for the richest, for the corporations, the bankers, the land speculators, and for the exploiters.” – Helen Keller, 1911

So let’s say a developer pays a whopping $500 to get a Q into the sales room. The sales rep closes a deal for $20,000 clean and pressed. The rep’s commission is 10% of the deal, or $2,000, and $17,500 goes to the developer.

Then another Q sits down at the table and another deal is closed for $30,000. The rep gets 10% on that deal, too, or $3,000, and $26,500 goes to the developer.

But the marketing expense for the second tour cost the developer the same amount of money as the first tour, so the developer is making a larger profit on it on a percentage basis, while the rep’s percentage remains the same.

Doesn’t that seem a little out of whack? Since the developer’s cost for the tour remained the same and it was the rep’s skill and hard work that brought in the extra dollars, shouldn’t the rep at least be recognized with a big fat cash SPIFF or a bonus or even an increased percentage based on the dollar amount of the sale?

I’m just sayin’… Pondering

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Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. has appointed Anand Mahindra to the position of Chairman of the Mahindra Group, at the conclusion of the company’s Board meeting which was held in Mumbai on August 8, 2012.

He assumes the mantle of Chairman from Keshub Mahindra who has retired after 48 years at the helm of the Mahindra Group. Keshub Mahindra will continue to guide the company as Chairman Emeritus on the request of the Board.

Anand Mahindra was appointed Managing Director of Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. in 1991 and in 2003, was given the additional responsibility of Vice Chairman. Under Mr. Mahindra’s stewardship, the USD 15.4 billion Group has evolved into a socially and environmentally responsible global federation of companies with a leading presence in each sector in which it is present. Mahindra is present across the automotive spectrum, from two-wheelers, three-wheelers, commercial vehicles, SUVs and MPVs to sedans, tractors, and even powerboats and aircraft. In addition, the Group’s diversified nature of business spans many frontiers – automotive components, Finance, Insurance, IT, Retail, Real Estate, Hospitality (including Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Ltd. which provides holidays on a timeshare basis via the brands Club Mahindra Holidays, Club Mahindra Travel, Club Mahindra Fundays, Mahindra Homestays,and Zest), Logistics and After-Market to name a few.

Fortune magazine has named Anand Mahindra as one of the top 25 most powerful business people in Asia for the year 2011.

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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!

KUDOS: August 11, 2012

KUDOS go out this week to some more timeshare folks who were recognized for their achievements at the Australian Timeshare and Holiday Ownership Council’s (ATHOC) 21st annual National Industry Awards in July.

RCI Pacific had several top notch people nominated this year, and Roland Porst beat out some tough competition to take home the Newcomer to the Timeshare and Holiday Ownership Industry award.

Roland, who is an RCI Strategic Data Analyst in his first year with the industry, was extolled by RCI as demonstrating a high level of dedication and energy in his role as the strategic data analyst for RCI. Although the judging criteria was comprehensive, Roland was cited as having a positive impact within RCI by providing “fresh eyes” in terms of identifying opportunities for change. It is through his personal endeavor and influence with managers and work colleagues that different ways of doing things have been embraced.

Other exceptional employees from RCI Pacific who were nominated are:

  • Award for Excellence in Service: Leanne Charles
  • Corporate Manager of the Year: Dianne Mitchell
  • Corporate Performer of the Year: Yves Kangleon
  • Corporate Team of the Year: Member Services Operations (MOPS)
  • Industry Innovation Award: Online Interactive Member Education


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:

Two shared ownership companies have gotten BIGGER recently.

Vacation Resorts International has entered into a property management agreement with Sutherland Crossing, a vacation ownership resort in Crystal Beach, Florida. VRI now provides management services to more than 140 resort and club locations throughout North America.

VRI will deliver a full spectrum of services, including reservations and rentals handled through its call center; resort operations such as front-desk check-in, housekeeping, and unit maintenance; financial assistance in the areas of planning, budgeting, and forecasting in concert with the association board of directors; and communications between the association and its members.

The resort is located just north of Clearwater on 32 pristine acres and features 34 three-bedroom and 1 two-bedroom individual guest houses. On-site amenities include a heated pool, Jacuzzi, tennis courts, miniature golf, horseshoes, bikes, walking trails, 580 foot pier/dock, and kid’s playground. Visitors can also enjoy restaurants and shopping nearby, as well as scenic beaches, guided kayak tours, nature walks, eco-tours, and Busch Gardens.

VRI is an operating business of Interval Leisure Group, which also owns Interval International and Trading Places.

Inspirato, a luxury destination club, has partnered with leading luxury resort operator the Soneva Group to bring its members three new properties in the Maldives and two new properties in Thailand, representing the club’s entrance into Asia.

The club’s offerings in Thailand include a 2,800-square-foot ocean-view villa and a 5,100-square-foot private retreat within the Soneva Kiri resort on the untouched island of Koh Kood. Inspirato members will enjoy private infinity-edge pools, personal butler service, world class snorkeling and scuba diving, and an unforgettable dining experience in the resort’s treetop dining pod.

In the Maldives, Inspirato members can now choose from three private residences within the Soneva Fushi resort, the only inhabitant on Kunfunadhoo Island, including a romantic one-bedroom villa, a spacious two-story, two-bedroom suite, and a magnificent four-bedroom reserve complete with a private spa suite, gym and steam room. All residences are beachfront and include private seawater pools, personal butler service, private outdoor seating areas and open-air garden bathrooms.

cheerleaderVacation Resorts International & Inspirato: getting BIGGER!

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According to Scoop, Zig Ziglar said that sales driven businesses like the timeshare industry most often react incorrectly when recessions hit— which of course would include the recent worldwide calamity that reared its ugly reality beginning at the end of 2007.

That depression was a nasty one to be sure! And like most corporations, including TS developers, the first corporate ‘suits’ reaction, according to Zig, is to pull in all the reins, cut and/or lower all costs, gut the advertising/marketing campaigns, close offices, let people go, stop hiring, eliminate most if not all bonus plans and batten down the hatches! Ziglar said that’s not the way to go. Was Zig Ziglar Correct?

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The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) has released its list of the most common, the fastest-growing and the worst consumer complaints. The CFA, which analyzed 290,000 complaints received by the consumer affairs agencies, also flagged complaints that are just starting to emerge.

Real Estate complaints, which cracked the top 10 for the first time at #9 on the list, included timeshare sales and resales, retirement communities and assisted living facilities, real estate fraud.

What I found most interesting though was included in the emerging complaints, new types of consumer problems being reported to consumer affairs agencies. No surprise to me, but here they are: “timeshare resellers” that take fees upfront to unload consumers’ unwanted timeshares but fail to do so; “timeshare resale recovery services” that claim to recover the money that consumers lose to timeshare resellers but don’t.

Of course we know that those “recovery services” that are scamming timeshare owners left and right are not limited to “resale recovery”. It’s at least a good thing to know they’re finally on the radar…

Here’s a link to the full report.

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The Resort Development Organisation (RDO) will be holding its annual conference, RDO3 2012: Going The Distance, at the Pestana Chelsea Bridge Hotel and Spa in Chelsea, London from September 23-26, 2012. Club La Costa World Resorts & Hotels, Diamond Resorts International and Holiday Club Resorts are Platinum Sponsors for the event.

RCI CEO Geoff Ballotti will be a keynote speaker at the event, and a number of RCI affiliates are among the sponsors and speakers. Dionísio Pestana of Pestana Hotels & Resorts and Stephen J Cloobeck of Diamond Resorts International will be speaking.

For more information or to book tickets to the conference visit:

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Bluegreen Vacations has won a 2012 Bronze Telly Award in the travel/tourism category for its Shenandoah Crossing Resort Story Video. With nearly 11,000 entries from all 50 states and numerous countries, this is truly an award of distinction.

The Shenandoah Crossing Resort Story Video is approximately four minutes long, showcasing the vacation club’s rustic resort in Gordonsville, Virginia. The narration, high-quality video footage and owner testimonials all work together to give the viewer a true feel of the serenity of the Shenandoah Valley, where the resort is located.

If you haven’t seen the video already, I thought you might like to view it now. So here it is: Shenandoah Crossing in Gordonsville, VA – Resort Story. (Check out those yurts!)

Congratulations for a job well done!

Send in your own playlist and if I can find a good version on YouTube I’ll post it for you! What would you like to hear?



KISSIMMEE: Liberty Bank has extended and modified their existing financing commitment for Silver Lake Resort, LTD. Liberty’s $40mm hypothecation loan to Silver Lake Resort was renewed, giving them the ability to refinance an inventory loan they had with another lender and renewed their loan commitment to continue providing forward financing.

Silver Lake is one of those timeshare developments that doesn’t receive much in the way of media attention, perhaps because they rarely make any effort to make the media (or the public) aware that they exist. So if you never heard of it, Silver Lake consists of 292 designer-furnished vacation villas, located within two miles of the main entrance to Walt Disney Resorts, with a mix of one-, two-, and three-bedroom floor plans and the potential for 630 villas and nearly 42,000 owner families upon completion of construction.

Raise your hand if you know anything more about them…

MIAMI: Michael J. Ferrari, 27, has been sentenced to five years and three months in prison for his part in the scandalous International Resort Solutions telemarketing fraud.

jail smilie Ferrari pled guilty in May 2012 to conspiracy to commit mail fraud. He operated one of at least six telemarketing boiler rooms for International Resort Solutions in Palm Beach County, where he helped collect more than $3.3 million from 2000 timeshare owners throughout the U.S. and Canada.

According to Court documents, from July 2009 through February 2010, the telemarketers would make false and misleading representations to the timeshare owners regarding International Resort Solutions’ services. Among the false representations, the telemarketers claimed that International Resort Solutions had buyers for their timeshares, that International Resort Solutions had a closing scheduled for their timeshares, and that International Resort Solutions would actively market their timeshares to potential buyers.

To date, ten individuals, including Ferrari, have been convicted and sentenced in connection with the fraudulent activities at International Resort Solutions. The sentences imposed range from 5 years imprisonment to 10 1/2 years imprisonment.

Interestingly, the BBB has Michael J. Ferrari listed as President of American Resort Solutions, under the business categories of Timeshare Fee Recovery and Telemarketing Services. Was that the name of the company under which he operated for International Resort Solutions?

Anyway, the website of that company is still online as of today at, promoting itself thusly: “At American Resort Solutions we work to recover funds that have been fraudulently stolen from YOU.”

You can never have too many ironies in the fire…

ORLANDO: Well the movie is out and the reviews are in. The Queen of Versailles, the documentary about David and Jackie Siegel, has hit the theaters and film critics seem to like it very much. They’re not quite so generous about the subjects of the documentary, though, with many of them seeming a bit bemused by the couple. What to think? There’s this, but then again there’s that. They are sympathetic characters yet crass at the same time. Is it a drama or a comedy? At the end, most of the reviews suggest you see it for yourself and make up your own mind.

A lot of attention has been paid to David Siegel’s claims in the video that he is responsible for electing President George W. Bush (legally or illegally, depending). He spoke to Bloomberg’s Susan Berfield about that earlier this year, and she referenced that in her recent article “Why Time Share King David Siegel Thinks He Got W Elected”:

“I’m not bragging, I’m just stating the fact: I personally got George W. Bush elected,” Siegel told me during two days of interviews. “I’m not proud of it. I feel like I’m responsible for all the problems in the world.” By that he meant, mostly, the then-deteriorating situation in Iraq.

Here’s Siegel’s account of how he swung the election in Bush’s favor: “Whenever I saw a negative article about [Al] Gore, I put it in with the paychecks of my 8,000 employees. I had my managers do a survey on every employee. If they liked Bush, we made them register to vote. But not if they liked Gore. The week before [the election] we made 80,000 phone calls through my call center—they were robo-calls. On election day, we made sure everyone who was voting for Bush got to the polls. I didn’t know he would win by 527 votes. Afterward, we did a survey among the employees to find out who voted who wouldn’t have otherwise. One thousand of them said so.”

Most of the reviews of this documentary are not very kind to Jackie, variously describing her as David’s “Barbie-doll wife” or “trophy wife” or “batty” or something similar. (They also can’t seem to agree on whether she’s a former Miss America, a former Miss Florida or a former Mrs. Florida.) This review in, for instance— which is actually sympathetic to her— says:

But Jackie’s story is the most affecting. A former Miss America who escaped an abusive marriage to live with a timeshare tycoon 30 years her senior, Jackie is 43 and looks almost 10 years older, despite her Botox treatments. Each of her dresses is a wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen, emphasizing her copious cleavage in every frame like she’s a Hooters server, as if it’s all she has to offer the world.’s Mat Pais says:

“The Queen of Versailles” depicts successful people carelessly infatuated with the rewards of their own success. And seemingly oblivious to the fact that they don’t interact with their kids at all or have a happy family. David’s a workaholic who treats his adult son like only a professional colleague; Jackie, whose clothes struggle to contain fake breasts she clearly prefers to let breathe, showcases certain hints of her humble Midwestern upbringing but also demonstrates why David says being married to her is “like having another child.”

The most even-handed review I’ve seen is “Nightmare for the Royal Family of Timeshares” by Christiana Cefalu in If you don’t have access to the documentary itself yet, I suggest you read that one.

(You can view trailers from the film at, if you want a foretaste…)

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BRAINERD: Earlier this year the Minnesota Legislature amended language allowing counties to use the authority of an examiner of titles to issue a new certificate of title for a timeshare interest instead of requiring a court hearing. This move was made to save timeshare HOAs both money and time in the process of foreclosing upon and reselling abandoned timeshares.

The legislation was accomplished largely on behalf of Crow Wing County, where Breezy Point Resort resides. Previously, the foreclosure and six-month redemption period was followed by another step — filing a lawsuit in district court. At the end of the lawsuit and after getting a new certificate of title in the name of the owners’ association foreclosing on the property, the timeshare could be sold to a new owner.

One of the major problems with that process was that to foreclose could cost $2,550 for legal costs and fees and another $2,150 for the court action, for a total of as much as $4,700 per timeshare week. And then the HOA had to pay to market the timeshare to a new buyer. Meanwhile, they were losing in the vicinity of $650 in annual maintenance fees per abandoned week, and when you consider that a significant number of offseason weeks might sell for around $200 in this economy, well, you can see the problem.

Breezy Points says that under the old process it could take about seven years for the HOA to recoup its costs for one unit week.

The new wording in the legislation eliminates the court action (ant its attendant costs) and takes the process straight to obtaining a new certificate of title.

Now then, originally the new legislation was statewide, but it was amended to allow counties to opt in. Unfortunately, Crow County’s board of commissioners hadn’t gotten the word about it, so when Breezy Point came calling in June there was some confusion and indignation expressed by committee members about being in the dark about the whole matter and the issue was postponed. It was reintroduced last month, though, and it appears that the new legislation will probably be adopted (if that hasn’t already happened).

This will be a good thing!

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