May 8, 2010: WHAT’S ON THE MENU THIS WEEK?
THE CONSOLIDATED RESORTS BANKRUPTCY: As mentioned in The Gate’s update about the Consolidated Resorts bankruptcy, things seem to be winding down. The thing that caught my attention right off was the deal where Artie Spector, via his ASNY Company, gets to be the stalking horse bidder for the major assets. If no one outbids him, he’ll get it back.
What ARE the assets? Well, according to the article: “…the assets involved in the combined bankruptcies of the 14 companies include extensive timeshare note portfolios consisting of notes payable by purchasers of timeshare interests in resorts developed and operated by various Debtors and their related entities. The bankruptcy estates do not include ownership of the timeshare resorts themselves. Other assets include remaining undeveloped and partially developed real property interests; recovered or otherwise unsold timeshare units; certain reserved rights of the Debtor estates as “developers” and as “declarants” of various timeshare resorts; and general intangible property rights, software, and related computer software equipment owned by various Debtors.”
I await the outcome with bated breath.
MANSION FOR SALE: According to an ad in the Wallstreet Journal, Westgate Resorts’ owner David Siegel has put his unfinished 90,000 sq-ft mansion up for sale. Price: $100 million, which equates to about $11,200 per square foot.
Inspired by the 17th Century palace of Louis XIV of France, the building has 13 bedroom, 23 full-baths, and is advertised as “the largest modern day palace under construction in America.”
The property sits on a 10-acre-plus peninsula with one-quarter mile of shoreline on Lake Butler. Among the listed amenities: A 20-car garage; three swimming pools; large boat house; formal gardens; a baseball field, two tennis courts; a 60 foot by 120 foot Grand Hall with a 30-foot stained glass dome; two grand staircases; a 37 foot by 30 foot kitchen; 10 satellite kitchens; a two-story wine cellar; a rock grotto with three separate spas behind an 80-foot waterfall; a two-lane bowling alley; an indoor roller skating rink; a video arcade; a half-acre main pool deck; a children’s wing with a family room; a movie theater; an activity room and a separate computer room.
And there’s more, too. Whew!
Maybe Siegel, who turned 75 on May 3, just decided it was all too much for a man his age? Nah. Not likely. Not David Siegel!
I wonder if some day this will be one of those “Greatest Mansions” that people on vacation tour to see how the other half lived? That would be a bit ironic, wouldn’t it?
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO FESTIVA! Festiva was founded in the summer of 2000 by Don Clayton and Butch Patrick, formerly of Peppertree Resorts and Equivest Financial fame, and that means they are celebrating their 10th anniversary this year. Originally called Festiva Resorts, they have broadened their horizons and renamed the company to match: It is now Festiva Hospitality Group.
The company has grown to nearly 60,000 members and more than 1,000 employees; sent an estimated 94,000 people on vacation in 2009, with an approximate 90% satisfactory rate overall based on guest surveys from Unifocus, Interval International and RCI; and currently manages and operates 27 properties throughout the Midwest, Northeast, Southeast and Caribbean.
MONEY MONEY MONEY: It’s always fun to find out what the bigwigs earn in this business. Privately owned timeshare companies don’t have to reveal that kind of thing, but publicly owned ones do. Most recently I came across the figures for Bluegreen’s executives. They’re not suffering any, I can tell you that. Wanna know what they made in 2009? Here you go, straight from a 10K filed with the SEC:
John M. Maloney, Jr., President and CEO:
Daniel C. Koscher, Senior Vice President, CEO Bluegreen Communities
Non-Equity Incentive Plan Compensation- $700,000
- David L. Pontius, Senior Vice President Bluegreen Management Services
Non-Equity Incentive Plan Compensation- $609,093
(Note that the Company agreed to pay Mr. Pontius a signing bonus of $450,000 in connection with his hiring during April 2007. The signing bonus was payable in three equal installments. The 2009 amount listed under “Bonus” for Mr. Pontius represents the final $150,000 installment payment.)
Not bad, not bad…
NO HIGH PRESSURE: At least, not in Southern Africa. A new Consumer Protection Law going into effect in October will outlaw high pressure sales tactics at timeshare resorts, or at least make things more difficult. And it used to be that once a consumer signed on the dotted line the deal was done– and I mean DONE! So sorry, no you can’t rescind or get your money back.
Under the new Consumer Protection Law, consumers will be able to cancel within five working days and the supplier must refund any money received within 15 working days.
Better start learning to sell without all the heat, boys and girls…
PEOPLE: Bill Tsao and Jim Danze have been in the industry for a long long time, and have held positions of authority throughout the business. Now they’ve teamed up to form a new company called Trident Business Management. What they offer is an “all inclusive” solution, offering assistance in all areas such as finance containment, property management, sales and marketing performance and asset management.
Bill Tsao recently explained that Trident Business Management is positioned to assist distressed developers by working with lenders and other new capital sources who are interested in working within the timeshare industry. The company then continues its services to its clients through advisory and managerial assistance.
I wish them the best of luck in their new venture!
DEAD SKUNK IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD AWARD: Has the state of Arizona completely lost its mind? This week’s Dead Skunk Award goes to the legislators in Arizona who have passed a series of new laws/rules that have set the entire country aflame. If you’ve been living under a rock, here’s a brief rundown: 1) SB1070, the so called “Show Me Your Papers” law, which essentially mandates racial profiling as stated public policy. If you are brown and a legal US Citizen, you’d better carry proof of citizenship or you can be arrested. 2) A “Birther” bill, which has since been yanked, that would have required presidential candidates to show their birth certificates to get on the state’s ballot and would have given Arizona’s secretary of state full authority to decide who could be placed on Arizona’s ballots. 3) Already an “open carry” state, new legislation allows residents to carry concealed weapons without a permit. 4) And finally, the Arizona Department of Education recently began ordering school districts to bar teachers who speak heavily accented or ungrammatical English from classes containing English Language Learners (I guess Gov. Schwarzenegger wouldn’t pass that regulation?).
Politics aside, the effect of these moves could be devastating to Arizona’s tourism (and timeshare) industry, which is already struggling due to the severity of the recession in that state. In a state which is 30.2% Hispanic/Latino population, with millions of citizens of Hispanic descent visiting every year and some 24 million Mexicans legally entering the state every year to shop, work and vacation, did they imagine no one would notice those moves or care about them?
Before the ink was dry on the document the protests began. Boycotts were announced, conventions were cancelled, tourists vowed not to visit until the law was revoked, Mexico asked its people not to shop or visit, Sonora’s Governor canceled the annual Sonora-Arizona Commission meeting in June (for the first time in 40 years!), and the big worry is about attendance at the many sports venues– including All Star games and Spring Training.
The last time Arizona faced a boycott like this was when the state refused to sanction the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. It brought the state to its financial knees. But Arizona is already on its knees financially; something like this could put them flat on their faces.
Stupid stupid stupid!
Here’s a question for you: With Arizona’s open carry and concealed weapons laws, do individual businesses/properties have the right to require guests to relinquish their weapons at the door? If you were staying at a timeshare resort in Arizona not knowing who on the grounds might be carrying (especially your sales rep…), would it make you feel less or more secure? Or would it not bother you at all? Just askin’.
Dead skunk! Dead skunk! (Stinkin’ to high heaven!)
And that’s it for this week’s Roadkill. See ya next weekend, and keep your eyes on the road… Oh, and if you enjoyed this, tell a friend!
Published every Saturday.
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