Welcome to the start of another week at Inside Timeshare, we begin with Part Six of The Truth Behind Silverpoint Exposed, which we have been publishing for the past few weeks. This is a story of epic proportions, worthy of a Hollywood Blockbuster movie, it is full of behind the scenes financial manipulation and the moving of millions of euros from one account to another in order to hide and save the Trotta family fortune. It is a story of a family at war with itself wracked with greed, with the wife Ragni Trotta being left out of the will. All this at the expense of the hundreds of consumers who have purchased into their products and are now set to lose everything.
Over the years Silverpoint and before them Resort Properties duped consumers into purchasing “packs” of weeks as investments, with the promise of rental income and a resale program after two years with a substantial profit to be made on these resales. But as we already know, there was no resale program, just more lies to get the unsuspecting consumer to upgrade and purchase even more to secure the “investments” they have already paid for.
We have seen this progress to the “Company Participation Scheme”, which is exactly the same as the original “investment weeks” apart from the fact the “apartments” are now registered as Spanish SL or limited companies. The promise is the same, an annual income from rentals and then the prospect of selling the “shares” at a later date.
We already know that no one has been paid any rental for last year, we also know that there is no money to pay out these rental dividends. What has been paid out has come from new “investors” purchasing into the scheme, a classic take from Peter to pay Paul, or it could be called a “Ponzi” scheme.
As we have already seen from the previous articles, vast amounts of money have been moved around the numerous companies set up by Bob Trotta and Kwang Boon Sim in the guise of “intercompany loans”, tax evasion and then spirited away into the Trotta family fortune. All at the expense of you the consumer.
It is a very interesting fact that most of the local staff that worked in various companies around the world were not even aware of how the group was structured, or even how the finances operated. It is also a fact that had the bank and the family done the right thing by their loyal team of workers and their customers most would have been quite happy. Clients would have had good products and resorts with Doug Campbell, his wife Jennifer Campbell, Ragni Trotta and Erin Trotta Westfall could have enjoyed a wonderful future.
The Bank could most of likely been able to close the trust, distributing the wealth to the family… What they have not bargained for was the ineptitude and bully tactics of Alex Lawson. It appears that Alex Lawson is so eager to prove himself to his Alvarez colleagues that he is marauding around the world using aggressive tactics against everyone in his path.
He has a complete lack of compassion and with a blinkered outlook on how his decisions affect circumstances elsewhere in the group, he is creating a trail of destruction and is now coming into full view of claims companies and legal teams all over the world.
It is now very likely the end result of the whole program will be Alvarez and Marsal earn a fortune in fees, the Trotta family end up with nothing with the prospect of ending up in jail, the bank losing their license with the possibility of seeing its team members facing charges and the hundreds of consumers losing everything they have purchased.
This is by no means the end of our little story, this is only series one, we have already heard from several readers who have travelled to Tenerife to take their holidays at The Paramount – Club Paradiso. They have told us of not being able to gain admittance to the resort, being moved to other locations and in some cases being charged to stay. On the subject of the staff, our readers have told us that they have seen them crying as they are unable to do anything to help and now know they are unlikely to get paid. The fall out of the “liquidation” plan being put into action by Alex Lawson is already taking its toll!
Have you purchased any product from Silverpoint, do you want to know where you stand legally?
Would you like to know if you have a legal case to take to court, have your contracts declared null and void and the return of your purchase price?
If you would like further information on these and any other questions, then use our contact page and let us know what when and where you purchased, Inside Timeshare will get back to you and point you in the right direction.
Welcome to this week’s Letter from America, we today publish yet another “Nightmare on Timeshare Street” from yet another Veteran, Ron Tzinski. Since we began highlighting these stories, Inside Timeshare has received around 111 complaints from Veterans and how they have been targeted and lied to by unscrupulous sales agents, yet the timeshare companies still allow the deceptions and lies to continue. These are men and women who have given their lives to the service and defence of the country and this is the thanks they receive! Despicable is the only word I can use without the use of profanities.
Part II Timeshare Reinvents Subprime Mortgages
What Wyndham Timeshare Hardship Department?
Veterans Speak Out
Part I Theresa Provides Insights into Wyndham’s Defaults
Part III Why centeroneelderabuse.org Suggestions Offer no Help
On July 11, 2018, President Trump signedExecutive Order 13844, establishing the Task Force on Market Integrity and Consumer Fraud and identifying the Deputy Attorney General as its chair. The Task Force is part of a government-wide initiative to combat fraud against consumers – particularly the elderly, service members, and veterans – and corporate fraud that victimizes the general public and the government.https://www.justice.gov/fraudtaskforce
By Ron Tzinski, an Army Veteran
June 21, 2019
I am an eleven year Army veteran, retired. I became inactive after Desert Storm when President Clinton decided to reduce the military. I have been inactive since 1993. I have an Honorable Discharge.
I would not be in a dispute with Wyndham had I been told about Wyndham’s Veterans Holidaysprogram. I could have taken advantage of their “Always Low Fees” instead of being driven to foreclosure. I have not made a payment in eight months.
While accommodations are mostly at timeshare resorts, you will not be required to attend a timeshare presentation. Some resorts are already sold out and do not have active sales centers on-site. If the resort is still in sales, at some time during your stay, you will probably be given an opportunity to attend a presentation in exchange for a premium or gift (free dinner, theater/show tickets, amusement/theme park tickets, etc.). Everyone at these resorts is given this same opportunity. If you like the incentive gift and want to attend the presentation, you are welcome to do so. But you are under no obligation and can simply say, “No, thanks.”
I bought my Wyndham timeshare in Tennessee October 2016. October 2017, I talked to someone at the Wyndham Grand Desert about getting out of my timeshare. Instead of getting out, I got talked into buying additional points. They promised that if this purchase was a problem, Wyndham would buy-back the timeshare. They explained the reason for this convenience was because Wyndham self-finances loans. And I was buying a trial product. This made perfect sense.
I am a small business owner on the verge of bankruptcy due to massively decreased income. I have the tax returns to prove it. My family needs dictate that I provide the basic day-to-day necessities for my families now, over a timeshare
I never should have been sold a timeshare in the first place. Even when I bought the timeshare, I made less than $12,000 a year. I’m self-employed. When I bought the timeshare, I wasn’t asked about my income. As Theresa mentioned in her article, she was told a minimum of $75,000 was required to make a timeshare purchase. Also, my wife passed away two years ago, after we had purchased the timeshare. I never even used the points.
I applied for a hardship release. Wyndham started three files on me, but ultimately denied a release. Inside Timeshare sent a draft of this article to Mr Jason Gamel, Sr. VP Legal at Wyndham, and to another Wyndham representative, asking why an annual income of $12,000 a year and death of a spouse would not qualify for hardship. Mr Gamel said at a Florida legislative workshop that Wyndham members need not seek timeshare exit provider services because of Wyndham’s hardship department. You must have to be on welfare to qualify.
Wyndham doeshave a release program called Ovations for those without loans:
‘We understand that your situation may have changed since you purchased your timeshare with us and now you’re unable to use it the way you planned. Whether it’s a change in marital status, family needs or vacation preferences, these events impact how and when you choose to travel.’
I just don’t understand the high bar obstacles for release, given Wyndham can take back the timeshare today and sell it to someone else tomorrow for full price. A member can’t even sell the timeshare on eBay for a dollar. Wyndham already has the money I paid until I could no longer afford to make payments. I understand that money is gone. Wyndham is in a win-win proposition, and with no secondary market, the consumer loses.
‘With Ovation by Wyndham, owners receive the peace of mind that their best interest is being protected, something fraudulent timeshare resale, transfer and cancellation companies cannot offer.’
At least a cancellation company can support you during the demoralizing foreclosure process. Therein lays the rub. You can exit as long as you are paid up. So, what if you are only 2 ½ years into a 10-year loan when your situation changes? And we were told Wyndham self-finances so can easily take back the timeshare. We have no option but foreclosure.
Based on the response we received, Wyndham does not care about me or my situation. I know I am not alone. This Facebook page was started because we need support. At least members deceived can support each other. How sad.
I feel that all timeshare companies care about is the money they feel they are entitled to. They care about keeping as many people on the hook as possible. I am sure the units, weeks, and points that everyone is ‘timesharing’ exceed the available inventory. I’m sure that most of the money goes to pay sales presentation incentives and sales staff wages.
We pay a ‘voluntary’ donation to the timeshare PAC ARDA ROCtobe our voice, yet ARDAignores us when we call them out on a violation in theirCode of Ethics. Wyndham describes its Ovations program as an “award-winning” program. An award was presented to Wyndham by the timeshare lobby ARDA. The president of ARDA is a Wyndham executive.
I have connected with other veterans. We are now veterans in a different kind of war. The lack of a timeshare secondary market is even more harmful to active duty service members who could lose their security clearances over a foreclosure. Something needs to change, beginning with the non-existent secondary market. It’s a recipe for financial disaster, much like the subprime mortgage crisis.
Afterthoughts by Irene
After reading about Ron’s disappointment with Wyndham’s hardship department, I thought of the legislative workshop I attended in Tallahassee on March 12, 2019. ARDA had proposed a Florida bill that included a provision whereby timeshare exit providers must allow potential customers a 24-hour cooling-off period before signing a contract with an exit company. ARDA and Wyndham were concerned about unfair and deceptive sales practices, yet Ron was told it would be easy to have Wyndham take back the timeshare.
Exit providers and timeshare members wholeheartedly agreed with the cooling-off period as long as timeshare buyers would be allowed 24 hours to consider their decision. This would eliminate the high-pressure “today only or the deal is off” hard sell. The bill ultimately died in committee surely to resurface in 2021.
We are one hundred per cent in agreement that there are many timeshare exit scams, but I’ve been in contact with a few exit service providers who are as sincerely concerned about unfair and deceptive sales practices as we are. “We” are our volunteer Supporters who answer questions for timeshare members filing regulatory and law enforcement complaints for members who feel they experienced unfair and deceptive timeshare sales practices.
Sign this Petition for Timeshare Reform. We are working towards 100,000 signatures by 2021. Over 1,200 have signed. You don’t have to be a timeshare member to sign.
Marine veteran Jim Sherwood is a 100% disabled Marine Corp Master Sergeant. Wyndham did resolve Jim Sherwood’s request for hardship, so there is a legitimate hardship department. Mr Sherwood’s article was published on March 8 of this year. We appreciate Wyndham’s response to Jim Sherwood’s request for hardship, but Mr Sherwood was at his wit’s end when he contacted Inside Timeshare, after denials following the VA’s report that he and his wife were unable to travel.
Thank you to Ron for sharing his experience. Our standard disclosure is that we know there are many happy with their timeshare purchase. That doesn’t make up for thousands of families reporting deceptive and unfair timeshare sales practices. We have organized an outreach committee to seek more disclosure for veterans buying timeshares.
Whistleblowers of America is a nonprofit organization assisting whistleblowers who have suffered retaliation after having identified harm to individuals or the public. Together, we can speak truth to power.
Self-advocacy groups seek to provide timeshare members a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market, and to educate prospective buyers.
Thank you, Ron, and also to Irene Parker for her contribution to this article, we would also like to thank all the volunteers who are helping with the advocacy efforts and giving others some hope.
It is such a shame that the timeshare companies act the way they do, they allow their own sales agents to destroy the lives of those who have served, all for what? There is only one word and that is GREED!
Inside Timeshare welcomes your comments and views on this article and any others published, just use our contact page and get in touch with us.
That is all for this week, join us on Monday for Part Six of our exclusive story on Silverpoint Exposed. Have a great weekend.
Welcome to another instalment of the Silverpoint Exposed saga, we are now coming very close to the conclusion of our little series or should we say our script for the next Hollywood Blockbuster!
It is a fact the immense funds that created the group of companies were primarily funded by the sales organisation of Silverpoint Vacations, formerly Resort Properties. For many years our friend Kwang Sim flew back and forth running the company as the shadow director on behalf of Bob Trotta, holding regular meetings with the legal team and accounts managers. Inside Timeshare has uncovered an enormous amount of evidence which shows that the local leaders had no idea what was happening all around them and were being used as puppets.
During the run-up to the “big escape” of Kwang Sim, he began to very carefully and meticulously disguised his involvement, moving others who were unsuspecting into the firing line. A sign of a true coward which was also in direct conflict with his “public persona” of a “caring and religious man”. Kwang is reportedly terrified that his “flock” of Mormons will discover his double life. In fact, his life would not be out of keeping with a West End musical, in the same way, the “Book of Mormon” has on both sides of the pond. Kwang Sim’s performance as a “man of the cloth” yet hiding his real dubious behaviour would definitely be worthy of a “Tony award” the theatre equivalent of an Oscar!
Now on to Alex Lawson, he appears to be taking Alvarez, The Limora Group and the Bank into a very dark chapter of potential conspiracy. He is slowly but surely working his way into all the companies and appointing himself as director. Although he is very careful to keep out of the Spanish companies where there are serious issues, he places himself and his co-liquidator Paul Pretlove into directorship roles where he creates his plan to instigate insolvencies, using this very fluid 42 million of debt.
This money was moved along and up the chain and has gone all around the houses to suit the group, now the same people are using the funds as justification to close companies and throw the hard-working teams within each one onto the streets.
Wherever possible, they are even attempting to avoid costly redundancy payments, all so the Trotta’s can keep even more money and ultimately, Alvarez can earn even more in fees!
It is often the case that it is the little people who will suffer and in this case, it is obviously no different. Local management is trying to fight for their rights, but this is a “David and Goliath” type of situation. All we can hope for is as in the fable, David is triumphant and the bullies are stopped. Well come on, I mean how many millions does one need to inherit in order to be Happy?
As for the Trotta family, they are extremely worried they will get caught out but hope the bank and Alvarez know what they are doing. We are not so sure!
Jennifer Trotta Campbell lives with husband Doug Campbell who as we stated previously was at one point the Groups CEO reporting directly to his father in law and Kwang Sim. He watched the creation of the complex web of companies that exists today.
He left the company in 2007, apparently no longer able to take the pressure of the group’s structure and the tyrannical leadership of Bob Trotta. He, his wife Jennifer and the sister Erin Westfall all live in Colorado, USA and enjoy fabulous wealth, all courtesy of Daddies money.
On top of that, they now intend to screw over hundreds of innocent people who helped their family create their enormous wealth. This type of greed, unfortunately, is all too common, but we do have it from very reliable sources that the authorities in Europe and the United States are watching very carefully along with legal teams building cases to strip the Trotta family of their wealth.
Ragni Trotta herself has homes in Norway and Italy, with the Trotta children owning millions in real estate in the United States. We also have it on good authority that these legal teams are dauntlessly building the cases against all of them and are extremely confident they will be stripped of this wealth in the coming period.
We will keep watching and ready to inform you the reader of any updates and developments in this story which really does read like a script for a Hollywood movie but in real life greed almost always has a way of catching up with you, ESPECIALLY when you try to screw over innocent people. As they say, “The bad guys never win in the end”!
Join us again on Monday for the sixth and final episode in this the first series of a remarkable and unbelievable story.
Are you a possible victim, do you want to know where you stand before it all goes?
Use our contact sheet and get in touch, Inside Timeshare will be happy to give you the best advice possible and point you in the right direction.
Welcome to The Tuesday Slot, this week we welcome another new contributor Theresa Taylor, with her experience of attending a presentation. As you will see from her story, it is one that is very familiar to every reader of these pages, high-pressure sales tactics with plenty of ways to get around a problem of affordability. One of the most disturbing facts of this story is the fact the sales agents found a way to get Theresa finance despite being in the middle of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. As we already know from other stories, sales agents will do and say anything to get the deal, yet the timeshare companies still allow this to continue.
Part I: I Explain to Wyndham CFO Michael Hug:
Why Wyndham’s Default Rate is higher than he would like
By Theresa Taylor
June 18, 2019
Timeshare Tussle, by Jason Garcia at Florida Trend
There was a cloud over the results, however. During the call, Wyndham also revealed that the number of owners defaulting on their timeshare mortgages climbed during the second quarter, extending what has become a multiyear increase in defaults. The company says the rate of increase in its provision for loan losses has slowed to “under 5%” in the second half of 2018, but in the earnings call Brown said defaults remain “higher than we would like,” seconded by CFO Michael Hug, who added that “loan loss remains a central area of focus.”
Of the company’s nearly 900,000 owners, only 200,000 have loans. However, the company expects to set aside 21% of its gross sales to cover losses in 2018 — meaning it expects not to collect $21 of every $100 it’s loaned.
Part II Friday: Timeshare Reinvents Subprime Mortgages by Ron
My friend Ron reached out to Wyndham’s hardship department. He was turned away. Wyndham’s reaction to my friend explains why timeshare members reach out to timeshare exit companies for help. Going through a foreclosure process is not something a timeshare member wants to go through alone.
If Ron doesn’t qualify for hardship, I don’t know who would. Ron is an 11-year veteran. His wife died two years ago after his timeshare was purchased in 2016. His annual income is less than $12,000. He is self-employed.
I decided to attend a Wyndham timeshare presentation. My experience will explain why so many are defaulting on timeshare loans. I don’t think Wyndham is the only company providing loans to buyers who should not be buying, lending through high-interest rate loans and even higher interest rate Barclay credit cards. Undeterred by my bankruptcy, Wyndham’s sales agents explained how they could list me as a foreigner to circumvent the obstacle.
Here’s what happened at Wyndham Grand Desert Resort in Las Vegas:
It was a family celebration for my son’s 21st birthday. After arriving late, I awoke the next morning to find a card slid under my door instructing me to see Amelia to receive a Welcome Packet. I proceeded to check-in to get my welcome package and before I knew it, I was informed that I had to attend a timeshare presentation the next morning.
Lauren informed me that I qualified for a “no-high-pressure card” to take with me to the presentation. I had to give them a $20.00 refundable fee to hold my spot. She then discussed income requirements. They required a minimum household income of $75,000. She assumed that my friend Ron was my partner. We explained that he was not, and even if we were together, Ron currently has no income. I told Lauren my income was only $60,000. Lauren kept insisting that Ron was part of my household income.
Once we finally convinced Lauren that Ron should not be involved, she decided I could proceed with $65,000 per year household income. She changed the form from $75,000 to $65,000. When I reiterated that I only made $60,000 Lauren stated that they can actually work with that. She offered me show tickets or a $100 American Express gift card as my reward after I completed the presentation. I elected the gift card.
Red Flag #1 Falsified Income
The next morning I got up to attend the presentation. Ron decided to go with me. They showed us a video of all the places you can stay if you join Wyndham Vacation Resorts. We learned Wyndham owns RCI which is why there are so many places to stay. There are fees involved to use RCI.
Our presenter Eddie did a breakdown of the cost to vacation, explaining the value in buying into Wyndham Vacation Resorts. After the video, Judy took us on a tour of the Grand Desert, showing me the presidential suite. Next, we went to a room where tables were set up with other salespeople talking to other potential customers about the cost to vacation.
Judy showed us a price sheet. After she went over the costs, I asked for a moment to think about it. Visions of beautiful resorts momentarily left my head. I talked to Ron because it dawned on me that I am currently in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. I shouldn’t be able to buy anything.
We flagged Judy down to explain that I forgot to mention I was in the midst of a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. She said she would go talk to her manager. To be honest, I thought my time there was done. Nope, Judy came back and stated that the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy wasn’t a problem and that they could get me into a program that did not require a credit check or my social security number. Judy indicated that it was their international/foreign (non-US resident) program.
Red Flag #2 Suitability
I told Judy thanks but no thanks. I thought it best to wait until I am through with the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. She said fine, gathered up all the paperwork and advised that someone would be over with my gift card.
After about 15 minutes a woman named Sophie came to the table. She stated that she was doing a survey of my experience. She asked me how I liked Judy, how was the presentation. She asked if this was a program that I would enjoy given different circumstances. Trying to be pleasant, I explained that I don’t think the program is right for me at this time given I am in the middle of a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. Undeterred, she flipped over some paperwork to show me another offer to buy into Wyndham Vacation Resorts.
Red Flag #3 High Pressure
I couldn’t believe it. Here I’m trying to get my financial head above water, and Sophie is convinced I need to buy a luxury item so that I can be driven deeper into debt. This go-round they offered me a “trial period” program which involved 400,000 points for use over two years at a cost of $3,548. She explained I could put down approximately $400 and make monthly payments.
At this point, I remembered my “no-high-pressure card” Lauren was supposed to give me, which seemed like ages ago. I said to Sophie, “Lauren said I was supposed to experience a no high-pressure presentation. She even said she would give me a “no-high-pressure card” (which Lauren forgot to give me), so I would not be pressured into buying something. Sophie said “A what”?
Red Flag #4 Unfair and Deceptive Sales Practice
There obviously is no such thing as a “no-high-pressure card” so this was unfair and deceptive. First, my income was falsified to qualify, I am in debt up to my ears, I told them no, they will not take no for an answer, and they want to add another layer of monthly payments on top of my bankruptcy payments. Maybe it’s just me, but I think this is high pressure. Note the 6th line down on the left indicating 120 payments at 17.99%. What a great way to start life after bankruptcy.
I brought up the “no-pressure card” again to Sophie and that Lauren had said I was entitled to a “no-pressure card” because I was somewhat related to the person who booked my stay with them. Sophie confirmed my suspicion that there is no such thing as a “no-high-pressure card” by saying she had no idea what I was talking about. I told Sophie (pretty sternly) that I WAS NOT INTERESTED. She asked if I felt I was being pressured.
This all occurred over 2 ½ hours and I think it ended only because I got stern with her and used the words “high pressure” hoping it would register.
On Friday Ron will explain why he feels the ARDA Code of Ethics doesn’t exist and Wyndham’s hardship department is fictional. I sent Wyndham a draft of this article for comment, but they did not respond. I can put them in touch with Ron if they would like to review his case.
I encourage those who feel they have experienced unfair and deceptive sales practices to join one of the self-help support groups listed below. There’s a new Wyndham Facebook page which is member/sponsored.
Thank you, Theresa, for your contribution, it is a story that I would think is familiar to all our readers and one that we at Inside Timeshare have highlighted on many occasions. Once again we see sales agents using practices which can only be described as despicable and underhand, yet what does senior management do? Allows them to continue.
That is all for today, join us tomorrow for Part Five of our continuing “saga” of Silverpoint exposed.
Welcome to Part Four of Silverpoint the Truth Exposed, the previous articles laid out the foundation and the history of the Bob Trotta Empire, the employment of Kwang Boon Sim and the myriad of companies he founded to whisk away millions for Trotta. We also looked at how with the death of Bob, his family began to split over the inheritance and also the introduction of Alex Lawson, who is charged with liquidating the companies to protect the Trotta fortune. Today we go into a little more detail and introduce the Limora Group, we do have even more detailed information on file which we are unable to publish at present.
So, here we go with another chapter in the Hollywood Blockbuster “The Rise and Fall of the Trotta Empire”.
The Limora Group, the company at the head of all the other companies which are just what are known as “shell Companies”, the puròse of which is to distract the authorities making it very hard work to keep track of and trace the money.
The trust operates most of its companies in Panama and The British Virgin Islands as these are jurisdictions known for secrecy, for a long time it worked, however, like all people driven by greed, eventually one makes mistakes and a recent one was by Alex Lawson along with his team to put Excel Overseas Holdings into liquidation.
Based in Dubai, Excel Overseas Holdings had created the product ELPP (Excel Lodgings Participation Program), with hundreds of people purchasing these participations. In the first year, all seemed to be good with all those putting money in getting what they expected.
Excel Overseas Holdings used the money from other consumers to help keep the various group companies in business and in total around 10 million was taken by Excel Overseas Holdings. EOH, are part of the Limora Investment group of companies.
Alex Lawson, the children being represented by Doug Campbell a former CEO, Ragni Trotta and the Alvarez team decided they did not want to honour the promises made to innocent customers and applied to the court in the BVI to put the company into provisional liquidation, claiming that Excel could not meet their obligations and that somehow the management had done something wrong. In reality, the family, the bank that owned the trust and the Lawson team of executive “highwaymen” decided it would be a good idea to “rob” consumers of their hard earned money, all so they could use it to continue to fund their luxurious lifestyle in the mountains of Colorado and the rolling hills of Tuscany.
It must not be forgotten that Alvarez and Marsal are able to charge huge amounts of fees by acting in this way, so everyone is happy except that is for the hundreds of worried consumers who have paid with their hard earned cash and trusted the company!
In keeping with their “modus operandi”Alvarez and Marsal appointed themselves as liquidators, all so they could keep a very tight lid on what actually happened to the money and who the company was that Excel owed money to!
The fact the debts of Excel Overseas Holdings are, yes, you guessed it, a company owned by the same people and therefore cannot be used as a reason to close down the company, especially when in the process it hurts real people. This complete lack of morality seems to have been lost on the Trotta family, Kwang Sim and Alex Lawson. It is strange that Kwang Sim who was a director of Excel Overseas Holdings and one of the “masterminds” of the ELPP, seems to have been omitted from the letter which Alvarez has sent to pariticipants of the ELPP. Instead, they have set out a carefully crafted letter which was intended to imply the program was not set up properly, In fact, the agreements contained within the program were exclusive with “Limora related companies”!
Alex Lawson and his team are making a complete mockery of the corporate legal system and all with the sole intention of avoiding their consumer obligations, aiding and abetting the greedy Trotta family in their bid to keep a few more millions.
The Team at Inside Timeshare have it on very good authority that criminal and civil proceedings are being planned against the bank, Kwang Boon Sim and the team at Alvarez for their part in this well-orchestrated conspiracy.
What is a very big shame in this whole affair, is that some of the people who introduced consumers into the program in good faith are now being informed by Alvarez that they are not allowed to even talk to participants when they make contact about their worries. No doubt, this is so Alvarez, Kwang Sim and the Trotta family, watched very carefully by the bank, can control the information and attempt to contain the fallout!
Here at Inside Timeshare, we will do whatever it takes to expose the truth along with the legal teams who are working hard building strong evidence to put the instigators in jail. Kwang Sim is currently hiding out in his million-pound mansion in the UK, while, Alex Lawson enjoys his paradise lifestyle on the sun-kissed island of Grand Cayman, but for how long?
Justice is on its way Gentlemen!
Join us on Wednesday for Part Five of this unbelievable but true story. If you have purchased any product from any of the companies mentioned in these articles and would like to know where you stand legally, then use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will point you in the right direction.
Welcome to another Letter from America, today Irene Parker has a look at the Coalition to Reform Timeshare and the petition which needs your signatures. This has been a recurring theme on our pages, the timeshare industry needs to change how it works, it is in dire need of reform, yet it seems they are not listening to the hundreds of complaints which are hitting not just forums like Inside Timeshare but many other forums, websites and FB groups that you will find on the internet. Inside Timeshare has received hundreds of emails asking for help, yet that is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
The industry needs to change if it is to survive, it has created the problems yet it does not even acknowledge them or admits that there is a problem. It is responsible for the myriad of scam exit and resale companies that exist, all because it fails to police how its own sales force operates. The time for change is here, it is in your own interest to be part of this and sign this petition.
Timeshare Wars Continued
Has Diamond Resorts Offered a Compromise through Transitions?
A Petition and a Coalition to Reform Timeshare
By Irene Parker
June 14, 2019
ACoalition to Reform Timeshare (CRT) was launched to advocate for the rights of more than 9 million timeshare owners in the U.S. CRT is made up of individuals and organizations dedicated to reforming the timeshare industry.
Timeshare developers feel the industry is just fine and doesn’t need reforming. Where do you start when two sides are so opposed? How do you narrow the gap?
Our volunteer Supporters at Timeshare Accountability Group™ (TAG) feel both ends of the timeshare sale need some reform. The Change.org petition already received over 800 signatures. Sign our petition today to show lawmakers and the Timeshare Industry at large that there is a need for change.
After signing the petition, a prompt appears asking for a donation. I questioned how donations are spent. One of our Supporters received this answer from Change.org:
Similar to boosted posts on Facebook or sponsored tweets on Twitter, promoted petitions let you pay to show any petition (including your own) to other potential supporters on Change.org or our distribution which supports our platform as well.
I’ve heard timeshare exit service providers say, “If the developers would just take back the timeshare, there would be no need for timeshare lawyers or exit service providers!”
Well, Diamond Resorts is taking back timeshares at a record pace. One member reported that she had to wait on hold for five hours at year end. I can’t speak for the entire universe of Diamond Resorts members, but I can speak for the Diamond members on our over 3,000 member-sponsored Facebook page. I can’t recall one post from a member who applied for Transitions and was not accepted. Many members who successfully exited their timeshare via Transitions remain on our Facebook to advise others.
I posted asking members to share their Transitions experience. Six members responded, all positive. Veteran family Cathy McDyer posted, “We applied & were accepted when the fee was only $250. We had points & a deeded week.” One member reminded me that points or weeks purchased on the secondary market are not eligible.
Diamond Resorts launched their Transitions voluntary surrender program late 2017. Members with no outstanding loan and current on maintenance fees can deed back their timeshare by clicking “Transitions” on their member dashboard.
Inside Timeshare has received complaints from Diamond members who say they paid an exit company to get out of a fully paid Diamond timeshare. Not only did they pay more money than the $1,000 Diamond now charges, the process will likely take longer and some exit companies require the member continue to pay maintenance fees while they try to get you out. To make matters worse, the member is no longer eligible for Transitions if they contract with an exit provider.
I contacted the Newton Group to ask if they would consider directing their fully paid Diamond member callers to our Facebook. The first representative hung up quickly when I asked. I called back and spoke with JoAnn, who also hung up on me as soon as I asked the question.
If Diamond is accepting their timeshare points and weeks back (at least according to our Facebook members), why are some exit providers charging $3,000 or more to get a member out of a fully paid Diamond timeshare rendering them ineligible for the program?
I’ve asked exit providers to test my proposition by referring a few callers to our Facebook page. They would not need to convince the member. It could be a suggestion after, “Have you reached out to the company?” If the member would be denied, it would strengthen the argument as to why timeshare exit service providers are needed. Can you imagine the good will that would ensue if this were to happen? It would be one baby step to solve this nightmare without dueling lawsuits.
Signing our Change.org petition will also support the establishment of a Timeshare Bill of Rights. My comments are highlighted in red.
1) The right to a 24-hour cooling-off period prior to signing a timeshare contract to allow for the review of all sales and contract information including, but not limited to, other governing documents, public offering statements and covenants that run with the land.
Timeshare buyers also need time to recover after sales sessions that last more than six hours. There have been many reports of driver’s licenses and credit cards confiscated to prevent leaving a presentation, along with other creative techniques. I would add that the buyer could waive this offer if they wished.
In debates over timeshare bills proposed this year, the timeshare lobbyists for ARDA in Arizona strongly objected to allowing timeshare buyers 24 hours to review their decision to sign a perpetual timeshare contract, despite lobbying for a 24-hour cooling-off period in Florida and Nevada when it comes to signing a timeshare exit contract.
There is no other industry that would disintegrate if the buyer were allowed 24 hours to think about signing a contract. It’s because timeshare contracts are perpetual, accompanied by rising maintenance fees, and has no secondary market. Complaints about deceptive sales abound.
2) The right to receive complete disclosureof the true market value of the timeshare, prior to the timeshare being purchased.
Some timeshare companies do disclose this, but the buyer doesn’t read the contract. The consumer does need to do their part by reading the contract.
A major concern is the lack of a secondary market. If the primary housing market placed restrictions on the ability to sell homes, think of the effect this would have on the housing market. Some timeshare companies list in their annual reports that a viable secondary market is a risk to investors. One private equity firm even described the lack of a secondary market as a reason to buy the stock!
In summary, customers experience a reasonable value proposition tempered by the lack of a secondary market. The secondary market has undoubtedly had its growth stunted because the absence of the market creates an opportunity for the imeshare companies.
Scott Miller, Founder of Greenhaven Road Capital, Latticework
3) The right to be free of any high-pressure sales techniques and verbal misrepresentations intended to circumvent the assessment period. For example, “Today Only” offers or the requirement of any form of advance payment to attend a timeshare presentation. Developers would be prohibited from collecting and withholding a credit card, driver’s license or other items before or during the timeshare presentation.
The verbal representation clause appears in many other contracts but widely reported to be abused and overused by unscrupulous timeshare sales agents. Three against two tag-teams are skilled at holding attendees hostage. Is the gift worth this?
4) The right to record the entire sales presentation or to require the developer to record the entire sales presentation, including the closing of the sale, and to retain the recording for a period of 24 months with no waiver.
My biggest beef is timeshare companies that record the closing session, and then hold that recording against the member, but do not allow the member to record the sales session. Some states, like Nevada and Arizona, allow recording, but the consumer on vacation mode never thinks to do so. After all, they were told they were just required to hear about a new resort.
5) The right to full transparency during the sales presentation without any waiver of verbal representations during the closing of the sale. This right also prevents owners from being required to attend “update meetings” or similar meetings if a sales presentation is conducted during this meeting.
6) The right to full disclosure of the resort owners’ association financials, as well as disclosure of any and all HOA fees, including indirect resort costs imposed on owners which may increase maintenance fees and special assessments. This right also includes yearly owner roster notifications that disclose the number of weeks or points under developer control with the HOA, not excluding resale and rentals the HOA has control over.
7) The right to have the rescission period for a contract extended to one week after a person returns from their vacation to allow appropriate family and/or legal counsel review. The rescission date would be clearly noted in the contract based on input from the consumer on when they return home.
Unfortunately, even this extension doesn’t help when timeshare sales agents are skilled in dodging the rescission period as evidenced by Tuesday’s Inside Timeshare article in which the buyer was told to wait a few months until they had made a couple of months of loan payments before applying for an exit program. Many are told of maintenance fee relief programs that do not exist. They don’t discover they were lied to until they attempt to pay their maintenance fee invoice in December.
8) The right to be free of sales calls from the timeshare developer before or after the sale and the right to be free of attempts by the timeshare developer to have a consumer re-activate a previously rescinded sales contract.
I think this provision is a stretch. Most companies, especially cell phone companies, have customer retention departments.
9) The right to full disclosure of the entire cost of timeshare ownership, including available interest rates, before a consumer signs a contract. This would include projected increases in maintenance fees based on the average maintenance fee increase for the past five years for an individual property.
I think the buyer has the total cost including interest as stated on the purchase agreement.
10) The right to have sales agents and timeshare companies subscribe to an industry code of ethics.
There is an industry code of ethics, but it is ignored, based on hundreds of complaints sent to ARDA ROC which they ignored. The board of ARDA consists of timeshare executives, so the complaining member is complaining to the chief wolf guarding the chicken coop. If the industry doesn’t respond to over 200 timeshare members reporting unfair and deceptive practices, what good is a code of ethics?
11) The right as a timeshare owner or vacation club member to have priority booking of reservations over the general public.
A good idea, but I think it would be hard to prove a member does not have priority.
12) The right to unilaterally terminate an unencumbered, non-deeded timeshare interest with written notice to the developer upon making the current “use year” maintenance fee payment.
To join the Coalition or share your story, go to ReformTimeshare.org. Inside Timeshare also welcomes member submissions. Speak up and speak out. Right now the only enforcement seems to be via the media and the media seems reluctant to take on the mega-money associated with the front end of the timeshare sale, so join our efforts to reach sympathetic lawmakers and members of the media not afraid of big money.
Other member sponsored advocacy groups:
We seek to provide timeshare members a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market; and to educate prospective buyers.
Welcome to Part Three of Silverpoint and the truth exposed, in the first two parts we explained the history of the Trotta family fortune adeptly handled by the financial fixer Kwang Boon Sim. This story certainly has all the hallmarks of a Hollywood Blockbuster movie on organised crime of epic proportions, in some respects if this went to a producer they would more than likely say that it was a pure work of fiction and could never happen in real life. Well, unfortunately, it is all too true!
In this episode, we now see that it is time for sheer greed to take over, with the Trotta children and a jealous wife who has been cut out of the will to begin their fight over the ill-gotten gains.
After selling the hotel in Italy for 0ver 40 million euros to a wealthy Asian company, the true picture of the issues begin to emerge. Having extracted over 15 million for Bob and his family in the run-up to his death and the stripping of the cash flow from the company, Kwang Sim now found it difficult to replace the funds, along with the consumer promises to fulfill along with the various other obligations around the world, the trust and the family brought in Alvarez and Marsal of the Cayman Islands to see what could be saved. There was also another motive, they needed to see what options were open to them to avoid spending their inheritance.
What happened next is incredible and almost more deceitful than the 100 million that was extracted and moved around the group without the various local governments taking their rightful and lawful share.
It is a fact that no one likes having to pay tax, but Kwang Sim is a mastermind in this field and would put the people involved in the Panama Papers to shame. It is fair to say that Kwang Sim knew full well about how much trouble he was in with the arrival of Alvarez and Marsal, he began frantically covering his tracks and began the process of going into hiding.
Alvarez and Marsal is a large insolvency company, also known for asset stripping, which is the process of breaking down companies and stripping them of any value. In essence, they are just corporate debt collectors in thousand dollar lawsuits, earning millions in fees while breaking up companies with people losing their jobs!
They were employed by the bank and the Trotta family in order to create as much wealth for the family as possible, regardless of the consequences to people who had placed their hard earned money into the company and purchasing their products over the years.
The team at Alvarez is led by Alex Lawson, an Australian living in the Cayman Islands, this is another well-known haunt of many international tax avoiders as well as big-time criminals. The Cayman Islands is also a base for many small private banks and the Caymans is very widely regarded as a base for depositing billions in ill-gotten gains.
It is no surprise then that Alex Lawson chose to base himself there and set up the branch of Alvarez in early 2019. His position as managing Director now put him at the forefront of the process and the Trotta deal was his first big assignment. In order to make a name for himself, he sat with Kwang Sim and planned on how to break up the company with the sole purpose of saving the Trotta family fortune, regardless of who would suffer.
It was up to Kwang Sim to explain to Lawson how he and Bob Trotta had run the global finances. Bob Trotta’s empire by this time spanned the globe with businesses in Spain, Malta, Italy, Thailand, Singapore and the USA. It was employing hundreds of people around the world along with tens of thousands of owners and members. The plan created by Kwang Sim and Alex Lawson was truly a master plan of deceit and deception. Just like all illusionists, the plan was to create local “fall guys” while at the same time protecting those who put the plans together and executed them in painstaking detail. All the time trying to avoid obligations that existed with hundreds and thousands of innocent consumers.
This was a decision made by the bank who owns the trust along with the endorsement of the family which was then ruthlessly executed by Kwang Sim along with Alex Lawson and his team.
Kwang Sim made a deal with Alvarez and Marsal that he would not be dragged into any issues in return for helping Lawson to execute the plan. Having assessed the obligations which existed, Alex Lawson and Kwang Sim started the liquidation process, the means of which was the use of intercompany debts to justify the placing of the companies into liquidation, thus cheating consumers out of their rightful returns or the ability to use the products they had purchased with their hard earned cash.
Limora Investments was the first of the companies to be placed into liquidation. In a move that can only be described as incredible, money that had been sent “TAX-FREE” as a loan to the parent company and ultimately to the bank, was now being used as a “DEBT” in order to induce the liquidation process.
This is an obvious case of corporate manipulation being endorsed by what many would consider as a “reputable bank”. Inside Timeshare sources explain that the leaders of the bank are absolutely terrified that the truth will be exposed showing their complicity which could have the potential of them losing their banking license and the individuals who are running the trust being charged with very serious crimes.
The one thing that is certain is that they are desperately trying to cover their tracks and placing the blame on the people running the business of mismanagement.
As with all illusionists this fraud is using sleight of hand techniques and this is something that they are very adept at doing. The bank itself is no better than those people you see on the streets of London or any other city tricking the unsuspecting tourist into finding the ball under one of the cups!
A recent affidavit which is full of inaccuracies and downright false statements is an attempt to cover up what Kwang Sim, Alex Lawson and his team are doing have not taken into account the investigative journalists at Inside Timeshare to uncover the truth for their readers and expose their devious plan.
We mentioned earlier that we believe we have uncovered a recurring pattern of how Kwang Sim has moved money around the world, with much of that money being “loaned” from one company to another without any plans for repayment.
Unless these “loans” are repaid with market rate interest, the authorities will see these as dividends but Kwang Sim’s complex web of offshore companies have made them very difficult to track. In the end, this group of companies have around £50,000,000 yes that is correct 50 million pounds of intercompany debt and Alex Lawson with his team are working their way through a myriad and tangled web of companies, taking over directorships and then declaring them insolvent.
This means that Lawson and his team assess the company’s ability to repay its obligations of the loan and finds them unable to, however, the debt is just to themselves!
This means they are in control of the company that is owed the debt, but on the one hand, they call in the loan and on the other they claim they are unable to pay. Then we have the final piece of the jigsaw puzzle, Alvarez and Marsal appoint themselves as the liquidators in order to strip the companies of all assets while also avoiding any debts to anyone else that is not part of the “family!”
So that is the end of Part Three, a story that many will believe is a script for Hollywood, join us again on Monday for Part Four in this unbelievable tale of intrigue, manipulation, deceit and fraudulent money laundering.
If you have purchased any product from Silverpoint, be it standard timeshare, investment packs or the company participation scheme and want to know your legal rights in retrieving your money, then use our contact page and we will get back to you and show you what options are open to you. Now is the time to do this for tomorrow may be too late.
Welcome to this week’s edition of The Tuesday Slot, once again Irene Parker highlights another complaint and explains how it should be written. This is just one in the hundreds that Inside Timeshare has been receiving, all have the same hallmarks, so it does make you wonder that if all these people are saying the same thing, yet none of them knows each other, something must be wrong. The Timeshare Industry needs to take note of these articles and ensure that their sales agents tell the truth. We can only live in hope.
How to Write a Clear and Concise Complaint
Lesson 39 from the Free at Last Timeshare Support Course
All proceeds benefit the nonprofit Straight-A Guide
By Irene Parker
June 11, 2019
The first step in any complaint process is to prepare a clear and concise complaint. Complaints received by Inside Timeshare are almost always confusing, like someone describing a car accident they just witnessed. When a timeshare member contacts Inside Timeshare with a timeshare complaint, to understand the complaint, I frequently ask, “What do you mean by that?” or “Can you provide an example?”
I selected the complaint below as an example of a before and after complaint because the deception reported is brazen and easy to understand. The complaint is an actual complaint.
The member reported that they were told in order to be eligible for the company’s Voluntary Surrender program they would have to buy additional points. This was not true. Another member was told they would have to convert their deeded timeshare to points to be eligible. This was not true either.
A responsible exit program offered by the developer doesn’t help someone who learns they were duped just days or months after purchase.
Tina’s complaint is not resolved so we will not identify the member or the timeshare company. I have changed their names.
Tina said they were told they had to upgrade from one loyalty program to the next to be eligible for the company’s Voluntary Surrender program. They had been struggling to make the high interest rate loan payments. By selling them more points, the sales agent forced insolvency.
To prepare her complaint, I advised Tina not to use words like lie or scam. Put yourself in the reader’s perspective. Emotional words that cannot be proven will turn off your reader. Even if you were scammed, your mission is to write up what happened to explain why you feel you experienced unfair and deceptive sales practices. Highlighted in red are my suggestions and the reasons why I felt my suggestion would make the complaint more clear and concise.
Tina had started her complaint with “To whom it may concern.” Send your complaint to specific individuals or organizations. The timeshare PAC ARDA ROC does not mediate disputes but they have a code of ethics.
We are writing to demand that our last two contracts below be cancelled due to fraudulent and negligent misrepresentations that took place in Las Vegas.
Tina and Tony made four purchases. They were so angry they wanted all their contracts cancelled. It is unlikely a developer will cancel all contracts, especially those over a year old. However, if told the timeshare was like real estate and easy to sell, the member doesn’t know they were lied to until they try to sell the timeshare.
We were deeded timeshare owners before we were falsely told we had to give up our deed and buy points. We were free and clear of any loans before buying points.
In 2013 we purchased 15,000 points with sales agents N S in Las Vegas for $25,750.
In 2014 we purchased 7,500 points for $24,630 in Las Vegas from Sales Agent J G.
In 2016 (Contract #xxx) we purchased 7,500 points for $23,925 in Las Vegas for 7,500 points with the same Sales Agent J G.
In 2018 (Contract #xxx) we purchased 8,500 points for $26,105 in Las Vegas from sales Agent R S and Manager M G (J. G’s brother.)
Our third purchase in 2016 was our second purchase from J G. The concierge said we had to attend a mandatory update meeting.
(They were not on a promotional trip. It was not mandatory to attend the meeting).
He told us if we declined the update they will be forced to have us pay for our stay even though we had booked our stay with points.
I suggested they delete “the meeting had lasted well over 1-hour” because all timeshare meetings are over one hour. Unless the meeting lasted five hours or more, it will have no bearing on a complaint.
We said that we were fine with what we had. We didn’t need any more points. J G said if we don’t upgrade now we will lose special pricing. We remembered he said the same thing in 2014, but the numbers he presented looked so good.
We repeated ourselves and stated we are helping our daughter in college, and we don’t have extra cash. He said, “You can put the down payment on a credit card. This is a one-time deal. You will be losing thousands of dollars if you don’t accept today.”
We said over and over that we are not people who make that much money. I’m a stay at home mom who takes care of foster children and my own children. Our priority with our finances is to help our daughter with college. J G said our points will appreciate just like real estate and said that he uses the interest paid on the loan as a tax write-off.
Points do not appreciate and the interest cannot be written off. It was okay to say we are not people who make that much money in this context, but “I can’t afford it” is not a valid reason for release, any more than you can go to your home mortgage lender and say, “I can’t afford this.”
At our last Upgrade in 2018 in Las Vegas we purchased 8,500 points for $26,105 in from R S and manager M G. The accumulated loan balance is $80,117.99.
It’s best to isolate the numbers because when they get too mushed in a narration they lose meaning.
It was stated that if we pay in full over the course of the period our loan amount would increase to a total of $152,301.30. Our maintenance fees are $6,897.77. We pay our fees monthly with a credit card because it is too much for us.
The member here is referring, I think, to the total amount they would have to pay if the loan went to maturity. It’s not meaningful to mention this amount because the total amount of any loan with interest is staggering. In addition, it’s the buyer’s responsibility to read the purchase agreement. This information is clearly stated on that agreement.
I told them to delete mentioning maintenance fees. Mentioning maintenance fees really has no bearing on anyone’s complaint unless it involves an allegation that the member was promised the maintenance fees would go down if they purchased additional points, but they went up.
This upgrade was done with R S, and his supervisor M G. We again said we did not want to attend. We were on vacation and did not want to be bothered. Again, concierge told us we needed to attend or our stay will be charged.
R S proceeded to show us how much an upgrade would cost. I told him I wanted out of the timeshare. We had heard about and wanted to look into the company’s voluntary surrender program.
He told us that in order to be eligible for The Voluntary Surrender program we needed to upgrade to have enough points to be eligible.
This is real deceit. This voluntary surrender program does not require purchasing any additional points.
He showed us numbers on how much our timeshare company would pay us for our points if we become eligible for the Voluntary Surrender program. We asked why we needed to upgrade to be eligible. He said, “You have to be a Platinum member to be able to get out of our timeshare company.”
(In no way do you have to be a Platinum member to be eligible for this Voluntary Surrender program.)
We stated we couldn’t afford this. We can barely afford to pay for our maintenance fees. He said “What’s another $300 more on your loan payment? That isn’t too much to upgrade in order to be able to get out.”
We repeatedly told the agents that we don’t even have the money for a down payment. He said we could look to see if there are credit cards available. I said, I don’t want to charge this, why do I have to put a down payment? He said, “We need a down payment because there is no other way to upgrade you guys without one.”
He said once we upgraded, we would need to make a couple of payments before applying for the Voluntary Surrender program.
(The rescission period was dodged by telling them to wait a few months before applying.)
He came back and asked if we know anybody that has another timeshare we can put that on your file to become Platinum.
(This is in reference to a program that allows the member to include other timeshares. The points credited count towards Platinum status.)
I said my sister does. (Adding your sister’s timeshare does not qualify.) I asked him if this was normal. R said, yes of course and said to ask his manager M G. M G smiled and nodded when we asked as he was passing by, “Even if we don’t own the other timeshare?”
We made a few loan payments and then applied for the Voluntary Surrender program, per R’s instructions. We got denied because we had a loan. We were not informed the timeshare has to be paid in full to be eligible for the Voluntary Surrender program.
We called the company (on my advice) to ask why we are Platinum members if we only have 38,500 points. Platinum requires 50,000 timeshare points. The agents had said that we are Platinum because of adding my sister’s timeshare. They said it would be part of “Declared Inventory.” The company representative said that she never heard of this and would need to check into it. I was put on hold for so long, I hung up.
We thought and believed that we were signing a contract in good faith and that our agents were honest. They were not. We are a family of 6 with one income. We will no longer fight in silence and will do everything we can to help others in our situation by reaching out to the media and to Representative Katie Porter. I will be filing a complaint against R J G and M G with the Nevada real estate division, the Better Business Bureau, theFederal Trade Commission,theFBI, and others.
Please contact me if you wish to discuss our complaint,
(The complaint should be signed by the family member best suited to deal with this mess)
Tina’s original complaint was one long paragraph. When you read published articles, paragraphs are usually short. When too many sentences run together you can lose your reader. I learned this from my editors at TheStreet, Jim Cramer’s investment news service. One editor often told me, “Don’t bury the lead!” meaning state up front what you want your reader to know. I still hear his voice in my ear when I have buried the lead.
I always suggest you have a friend or neighbor not familiar with your complaint read it to see if it makes sense. Only a handful of the 900 complaints I have read have made sense to me when I initially read them.
Thank you to Tina and Tony for sharing their timeshare financial disaster. We will follow along and let our readers’ know how this family fares.
Timeshare can be a great product for the right reasons and for the right family. When a timeshare member references a volume of online complaints, I tell the member that for every unhappy member, there are 100 who think the timeshare company is wonderful. They may not have been deceived. Just because there are honest agents, it doesn’t mean there are not dishonest agents that should be stopped. Those who have had a positive experience should not judge those who have experienced unfair and deceptive sales practices. There will always be those who blame the victim.
Join one of the timeshare member support groups. If there are none suitable, consider starting one.
We seek to provide timeshare members a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market; and to educate prospective buyers.
Thank you Irene, all we can hope for is that this dispute is resolved and that Tina and Tony can enjoy a stress free life outside of timeshare.
One thing we must point out, we are not anti-timeshare, we do believe that for many it could be a good product, it is the greed of the sales agents with the blatant use of untruths that is the problem. A problem that can only be solved by the timeshare companies themselves.
Welcome to Inside Timeshare and the start of another week with Part Two of Silverpoint Exposed. In the last episode, we gave the background to the start of the Trotta Empire and introduced some of the main characters. Today we continue the story of an intricate web of companies the swift movement of funds and once again a Hollywood style family feud over the inheritance of the Trotta millions.
Kwang Sim was a master in subterfuge, he had set up such a complex network of companies and money trafficking routes a very detailed road map would be required to even get close to following it. Kwang himself continued with his own life happily giving his sermons to his Mormon congregation and ensuring his children went on the mandatory missions, all while carefully and deliberately planning to avoid Taxes at all costs.
With great care, he set up a structure using local law firms and employing local managers who had no actual control of the finances or of any financial activity. For Kwang, this would mean extensive travelling with monthly visits to Spain and then Asia where he was running the finance departments with an iron fist. He was, in essence, Bob Trotta’s “financial enforcer” making sure the funds were moved around the group of companies and ultimately ending up near a palm tree very close to a white sandy beach.
The Trust which is “owned” by a bank with Bob Trotta being the beneficiary used the bank which as recent strong evidence has shown, actively and willingly participated in assisting Kwang and Trotta in this complex web of lies and tax avoidance. It was Kwang who was the mastermind, but they were all complicit and knew exactly what was going on. All was running very smoothly until Bob’s death and the will would be read to the children and his wife Ragni.
Listening to the legal advisors, they, the Trust and executors learned that Bob and Kwang had mismanaged the company funds and taking some very risky decisions prior to his death. This now puts the group of companies in a very precarious position.
It also transpires at this meeting that Ragni learned she had been written out of the will, receiving only 10% of the estate! She was obviously furious. Although no one knows the details of the marriage from the outside it all seemed very rosy.
It has been rumoured by insiders that the marriage was in trouble, with a persistent rumour had for years been having a secret affair with her hunky Jamaican personal trainer. Just like something out of the hit TV show “Housewives of New York”, Ragni seems to have enjoyed a life of privilege with her wealthy older husband, while also enjoying some of the side benefits with her younger hunk. Sources have told us that Bob found out but did not want to be embarrassed publicly but would wait until he died to get his revenge. This has obviously caused huge rifts between her and the children.
The unequal division of the spoils created a massive rift between the family and the trusted sidekick Kwang who was tasked with trying to keep the family together. Just like another TV show “The Sopranos”, the family looked to the deputy Kwang, to steady the ship, he then set about trying to organise the complex web which he had established.
This was not an easy task, even for Kwang, when you consider he had set up around 200 offshore companies in Panama and the British Virgin Islands. Panama and the BVI are considered fiscal paradises in Spain and the recent “Panama Papers” have only added to the challenges of keeping this structure going. To achieve the company’s goal of low taxes the local directors were not allowed any control of the bank accounts with only the London team of Kwang Sim and his later sidekicks of Ketan Patel and Colm Hayden were permitted to move any money.
Part Three will be published on Thursday 13 June.
Over the weekend Inside Timeshare has received further news on the problems of Club Paradiso members. As we explained on Friday, these members are being denied access to the Paramount – Club Paradiso. In another twist, we have since learned that although they are being moved to other resorts such as Hollywood Mirage and Beverly Hills Heights, they are being made to pay for the accommodation.
One client that has been in touch was told if he did not pay 900€ he would not be able to stay, this appears to be happening to others as well. It would seem that the paramount is only being closed to members of Club Paradiso.
The following is an extract from an email received by another of our readers when trying to book their own stay: “Unfortunately, as our inventory is under re-negotiations we unable to provide availability and confirm any new reservations at this time. We kindly advise that you contact us at the beginning of July when hopefully this has been resolved. We are sorry that we cannot be of more assistance at this time and apologise for any inconvenience”.
This does look like an escalation in the arguments between Excel and Silverpoint with the members being the one caught in the firing line.
Have you purchased any product from Silverpoint and want to know what your legal position is?
Then use our contact page and we will get back to you with the best information possible.
Welcome to this week’s Letter from America, today’s article by Irene Parker explores the Whistleblowers of America Code of Ethics. A Code of Ethics is meant to be lived by. In timeshare, a Code of Ethics has been something to write and post on your website, but never seem to be followed. It doesn’t help that 200 or so of our readers who have reported violations in ARDA‘s Code of Ethics have been dismissed by the very executives that sit on their board. We take our hats are off to Whistleblowers of America for taking a Code of Ethics seriously. But then Whistleblowers are not in it for the money.
Inside Timeshare has been asked by an independent member of the committee at Hollywood Mirage Club for members to make contact with him as soon as possible. He and one other will be standing for election to the full committee at the AGM at the end of June. The unfortunate thing is that they have been told that there is “no mechanism” for them to contact other members with the Secretary stating he will not allow it under the GDPR (The EU General Data Protection Regulation). A move obviously designed to control the voting, but Article 47 of the GDPR “fully considers the right of members of groups (clubs) to communicate with each other”.
To make contact directly with this member who is standing please use our contact page and we will send you his contact details privately. It is in your interest to get together and have your say.
Now for Irene’s article.
Whistleblowers of America Code of Ethics
As Applied to Timeshare Support Mentors
Information about the 8th Annual WhistleBlower Summit and Film Festival to be held in Washington D.C. July 28 – August 1:
A Whistleblower is normally a person associated with a corporation or government agency that blows the whistle on wrongdoing as it pertains to waste, fraud and abuse, medical errors and wrongful death. You would not think an old lady crying from the rooftops of Florida about vacation plans would qualify, yet the harm done to veterans and active duty service members on the receiving end of a fraudulent timeshare sale has financially, emotionally, and physically, harmed many. Of the 841 families who have reached out to us, 106 are veterans and active duty.
We are asking for your signature on this petition for reform. You don’t have to be a timeshare member to sign.
A grown daughter contacted me on behalf of her Bronze Star recipient father. She could not answer all my questions about the timeshare, so I told her to ask her father about it. He had a heart attack when they were discussing it, and at the ER, the doctor noted he had a heart attack two years prior when asked about his timeshare. Her parents are the kind of people who saved up and paid cash for cars, He and his wife had been upsold to the point he had to take out a reverse mortgage because he could not afford the timeshare loan payments. He said every time he walked in the front door, he felt like he was losing his home. A Navy veteran declared bankruptcy. He had been upsold to $2,700 a month in timeshare loan payments, living on his letter carrier’s pension, charging to a number of credit cards before his grown daughter found out.
Whistleblowers of America’s Code of Ethics spoke to me. I thought to myself, “Guilty as charged!” as I read through them.
It’s not easy to live in a state of constant anger, moved by the voices of those desperate and deceived. The only thing that keeps me going is hearing the voice turn from a desperate voice to an empowered voice.
From the Whistleblowers of America Code of Ethics:
Counter-balancing dysfunction responses to wrongdoing with informed advocacy and resilience, skill building is the cornerstone of interactions,
Understand legal processes and procedures, a guide in problem solving and decision making to overcome toxic tactics.
I employ skills I learned at CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) writing court reports for Family Court judges and interested parties to make a determination as to the best outcome for a child in state care.
I learned an important lesson from my husband Don, a pharmaceutical researcher. The first thing a pharmaceutical company will do if they don’t like a lab’s answers, that would allow the launch of a billion dollar a year drug, is to blame the lab. Don told me to fight with data, not words.
A mentor needs to know their boundaries.
I don’t know if I speak for all whistleblowers, but I think there is a tendency to become over-involved, breaking through necessary boundaries. I will share an example of how I overstepped mine, but in the heat of the battle, we bend rules.
A Harvard graduate and fellow Rotarian turned out to be a brute holding a Korean lady hostage. Thankfully, another fellow Rotarian was our chief of police. He helped me rescue the mom and their toddler. Major Ganot of the Salvation Army was also in my Rotary Club. She could be a Major in anyone’s army after spending a couple decades in Haiti.
Mom and child stayed with us before we returned them both back to Korea. Mom had been a manager of Duty Free shops in Korea before coming to America. Her parents were math teachers at a university. The first night at our house I heard the child screaming. I went to ask mom what the child wanted. Mom replied, “Irene,” the child grabbed my neck and clung. Dad also had child porn on his computer. The police chief found THC in the refrigerator which mom said he used to put on his pancakes. He had DTs and once dropped the child at a Rotary function.
The advice Major Ganot gave to me is the advice all mentees and mentors should heed. “You are less effective if you become part of the storm.” Doctors call this intellectualization, in that if they went into a tailspin every time they lost a patient, they would lose effectiveness. This doesn’t mean the doctor doesn’t care. It means he or she must put their role is perspective.
In psychology, intellectualization is a defense mechanism by which reasoning is used to block confrontation with an unconscious conflict and its associated emotional stress – where thinking is used to avoid feeling. It involves removing one’s self, emotionally, from a stressful event.
Whistleblowers of America Code: Ethical Standard #2
Shared Experience Rapport
I appreciate more than ever the fidelity of “Semper fi” that exists among those battling a common enemy. Lifelong friendships have blossomed and grown. Once a timeshare dispute has been resolved, we encourage the person made whole, or as whole as possible, join our efforts to respond to others.
The moto of Whistleblowers of America is Speak Truth to Power. I would like to add to that the headline this reporter used in his investigative report about ALEC, a powerful lobby. The television reporter led with “Holding the powerful accountable” and I see “Holding the powerful accountable” as the next step after speaking truth to power.
Ethical Standard #5 Non-judgementA mentor needs to be reflective and inquisitive, but not judgmental. A mentor does not adjudicate. They facilitate problem solving rather than solve the problem.
An obstacle to resolving any dispute is getting your opponent to listen, as opposed to just hearing what the other person is attempting to communicate. Callous customer service representatives “hear” the complainant and respond, “You signed a contract.”
They don’t listen. Leadership coach Stephen R. Covey said it best:
11. Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
My collaborator Michael Santos at Straight-A Guide, teaches how self-advocacy can overcome struggle. The outcome may not be what you expected. It may not be the outcome you wanted, but staying the course with determination, and making the most of available resources, is part and parcel of advocacy and self-advocacy. A Whistleblower needs both as they must advocate for their cause, and they must advocate for themselves.
Ethical Standard #11Self-care
The words “disengage when necessary” hit me like a dagger. I hear from one to five infuriated timeshare members a day, seven days a week. The unhappy emails outweigh the “we did it!” emails. Resiliency is a word often mentioned in whistleblowing. Hurtful potshots from our opponents can weigh us down or sharpen our sword. Author Carlos Castaneda, a student of Yaqui Indian Don Juan, described them as petty tyrants.
I have a friend in Sedona by the name of Pete Sanders, a Navy veteran. A technic I learned from Pete, during one of his Free Soul sessions, taught me how to find my brain’s Limbic Center and Joy Center. As I understood Pete’s lecture, you can shift your negative thoughts by employing Pete’s techniques.
The limbic center is somewhere behind the eyes and between the ears. It’s kind of a negative thought center. Think about a time you were so angry that you were acting out in front of your spouse and kids. All of a sudden the doorbell rings and you snap into normalcy. According to Pete, you have shifted negative thoughts from your Limbic Center, to somewhere in the frontal lobe of the cerebral cortex, the Joy Center, a compartment that holds positive thoughts. I took a class in head and neck anatomy and two semesters of A & P, but I’m getting out of my depth. But trust me; even if I have botched the explanation, it works. I swear that I can feel the “half empty/half full” feeling before and after shifting the same thought.
Pete Sanders of Free Soul
Pete Sanders is an honors graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology with principle studies in BioMedical Chemistry and Brain Science. Accepted to Harvard Medical School, he chose instead to pursue independent mind/body potentials research. That quest led to a revolutionary discovery: how to directly stimulate the brain’s natural mood-elevation mechanisms.
This technique provides a natural alternative to using alcohol, nicotine, drugs, or overeating for coping with life’s challenges. It gives you a method to enhance your feeling of well-being without being dependent on achievement or relationship success.
I look forward to this year’s Whistleblower Summit. I didn’t attend the Whistleblower Summit last year because I thought I was a whistleblower. I attended on behalf of the veterans and active duty service members harmed by timeshare. An active duty service member can lose his security clearance and his career over a mortgage foreclosure, so don’t think timeshare is a silly topic. One Marine lost his air unit command over a timeshare loan foreclosure.
There are laws protecting traditional whistleblowers, but not individuals. I’m alone. But an individual is alone only if they don’t reach out to other whistleblowers for help and support. Rosa Parks was one person who committed a courageous and dangerous act. She sat in the front of the bus. It was a small act, but possibly inspired by the actions and words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King was not so naïve as to think he was going to resolve racial divide once and for all. He knew this problem would not likely be solved in his lifetime. That did not deter his efforts.
One financial journalist called me a gadfly. “You’re nothing but a gadfly to this timeshare company,” he sneered. I looked up the definition.
The original definition was an insect that stings cattle. Somewhere around the Middle Ages, in England, the meaning of gadfly morphed into “an annoying person who spurs others to action.”
I’m okay with being a gadfly. When I told my Free Soul Florida mate, attorney Mike Finn, that the journalist called me a gadfly, Mr Finn suggested an adjective, “How about the Green Gadfly?” “Like the Green Hornet?” I responded.
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to explain to the attorneys who deposed me for six hours why Mr. Finn calls me gg. The deposition serves as an example of retaliation. I enjoyed explaining to my interrogator lawyer why I am called gg. Gallows Humor, or Humour, as my British collaborator would spell, should be included as a defense mechanism to Ethical Sandard #11 Self-care . Humor really can be our best medicine.
Thank you to Whistleblowers of America for your support because this is not easy. My twilight years are anything but relaxing.
Although WoA recognizes that it is not inherent within the VA mission to protect veterans from fraud and scams that could cost them their benefits, it suggests that it could be assistive in educating veterans against these unscrupulous tactics. For example, WoA has had multiple complaints from veterans related to timeshare deceit and bait and switch tactics, which are defined by the FBI as fraud for profit. Often elderly veterans are mentioned as being targeted by the Timeshare Advocacy Group, TM which fights for active duty and retired military who fear losing their security clearance, career, homes or other assets. Foreclosures and financial distress because of these misrepresented investments are happening every day to elderly disabled veterans and their families. In the past, VA has cooperated with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) over mortgage and other loan scams that caused financial hardships for veterans. Home loans and timeshare loans are identical as both are reported as foreclosures. WoA asks that Congress consider a role for the VBA Employment and Economic Initiative (EEI) could play in cooperation with CFPB to educate and protect veterans from unscrupulous financial predators and fraudulent practices.
Thank you, Irene, for all your hard work in getting these articles ready, along with all the work you do helping those with problems, you are a thorn in the side of the timeshare industry, as well as a Green Gadfly, but you are our thorn and our Green Gadfly!
Information has been received by Inside Timeshare that the resort known as Paramount – Club Paradiso has closed. Those with bookings have been refused entry on arrival and moved to other resorts such as Hollywood Mirage and Beverly Hills Heights.
The telephone is on constant voicemail and the website is no longer working
If you have purchased any product such as standard timeshare, investment packs, company participations or Keys Concierge use our contact page and get in touch. Inside Timeshare will explain your options and point you in the right direction.
That is all for this week, join us again on Monday for Part Two of Exclusive Breaking News: The Truth Behind Silverpoint Exposed.