Florida USA Timeshare News: September 12, 2014

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

OSCEOLA COUNTY: There’s been an uptick in timeshare scam-related arrests in Central Florida recently. Most recently the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services arrested Marcos Tavarez of Kissimmee for a timeshare resale scheme that defrauded victims out of more than $20,000. Tavarez allegedly operated SEC Management LLC and targeted timeshare owners by brokering false real estate transactions and bilked them out of more than $20,000.

That’s a trivial amount compared to the haul other resale fraud outfits I’ve mentioned in this blog have taken in, but you can bet that it wasn’t trivial to the victims of the alleged fraud.

The scam worked the same old way it’s been working for many years. According to the department’s investigation, SEC Management LLC would contact timeshare property owners promising that the business had located buyers or renters for their timeshare properties. Allegedly, the business would then require upfront fees in order to facilitate the sale or rental of their timeshare vacation properties. Once the victims paid the costs and fees, the real estate transaction would not occur and the business would never communicate with the victims again.

On Sept. 2 the Commission arrested one of two Central Florida brothers (Gregory Davis) for running timeshare vacation schemes that defrauded consumers across the country out of more than $350,000. Jason Davis remains at large.

And in June the Commission arrested three Central Florida residents for running a timeshare vacation scheme to defraud consumers out of more than $30,000. Kenyon Dante Times, Melissa Diller and Kendal Mitchell allegedly targeted timeshare vacation property owners by brokering false real estate transactions and bilked them out of more than $30,000.

That’s not to say that Florida has been clean as regards to timeshare scam except for these recent arrests. No, the majority of resale scams in the U.S.A. have been operating out of boiler rooms in Florida; it’s just that other states (especially Illinois) have been prosecuting them. Click this link and see for yourself!


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

Do you have tips or rumors you’d like to share (ANONYMOUSLY)? Something you’d like us to investigate or follow up on? CONTACT: [email protected]

Permanent link to this article: http://www.insidethegate.com/gatehouse/2015/09/florida-usa-timeshare-news-september-12-2014/

New Jersey USA Timeshare News: September 12, 2015

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

CAMDEN: This week I’m sharing with you a special “letter to the editor” from Ian Resnick, who requested that I publish it in its entirety. Resnick, if you need to be reminded, has been convicted on three counts of mail fraud and three counts of wire fraud related to the VO Group timeshare disposal scam. Oral arguments on his bid for a new trial and and certain other matters related to sentencing are scheduled for November 20, 2015 at 10:30 am.

Without further ado here is Mr. Resnick’s letter, verbatim and without editorial comment from me.

Subject: An open letter to the editor

You caution people not to paint VO employees with a broad brush, but with all due respect, people have painted VO with a broad brush because of people like you who recklessly post information that is simply not true, not what was found at trial, and continues to be improperly alleged by the government to enhance our sentences by literally decades of prison time when there was no jury findings to do so, nor did the conduct have anything to do with what was charged in the indictment.

The trial was focused on the time prior to the FBI raid in November of 2010. No victims were brought to trial to show any of the conduct that transpired after the meeting with attorneys that you mentioned, and the sole focus of the trial was about the bank pitch. There was no mention of the 4 thousand clients VO went on to provide help for, the hundreds of good honest employees that cared very much about the clients they were reaching out to and helping after they were victimized by the timeshare industry, the 4 other offices that VO went on to operate, or the hundreds of other companies that are still in operation to this day and continue to utilize the same business model as VO and are known to the government and the fbi, and some of whom the government actually relied on as witnesses and through cooperation agreements at trial. These companies do exactly the same thing as VO and continue to do so to this day.

Now, millions of dollars are being added to the victim loss amounts that no jury has ever found to be illegal activity or improper pitch utilized to create, and had nothing do to with any “bait and switch” scheme or bank pitch that the government now alleges continued into December of 2013, even though anytime we tried to introduce information at trial to show what VO had gone on to accomplish the government vigorously argued against because they said it was the governments position it wasn’t relevant, and no evidence or testimony should be allowed in regarding what was going on at VO after September 2011, the end of their scope of investigation, including the civil court ruling in VO’s favor against Wyndham that happened in November 2011 after VO was ruled to be fair competition by Judge Todd of the Atlantic County Civil Court where Wyndham filed against VO. Why would the government try to block so much of our defense, only to later enhance our sentences by millions of dollars by calling clients victims that had nothing to do with the charged conduct, and that we were not allowed to defend at trial in front of the jury because of the scope ending in September of 2011?

When someone wrote into you and said they were there the day I started and mentioned the fact I told Ryan Bird everything better be on the up and up, and they better be helping people as was represented to me to get me to work there in the first place, your comment of how quickly I joined the fraudulent conspiracy is nonsense. VO was represented to me as being a company dedicated to helping victims of timeshare fraud, and this was verified by the governments own cooperating witnesses at trial, along with the fact that I wanted nothing to do with anything other than what was represented to me. This is further proven by having 2 employees fired when I discovered anything improper being said to clients before the FBI raid in 2010, and also by VO helping clients by walking them through a process that released them of over 100 million dollars worth of debt.

Soon after, at the attorney meeting following that FBI Nov. 4 raid, I was convinced to return to work because 3 attorneys including Kevin Ulrich, VO in-house counsel who had been employed with VO since September 2010, all said that the business was completely legal, and that the only targets of the FBI probe were the owners of the company. They also had a private investigator take statements of all the employees, whom all denied saying anything improper to clients regarding what became known as the “bank pitch”, and confirmed that anyone saying anything fraudulent or improper had been removed from the company and had no place in the company. Also, company policy dictated through a detailed employment agreement and company mission statement and manual that was required to be signed prior to employment as of July 2010 that no VO independent contractor or employee was ever to represent themselves as anyone other than a representative of VO, and to always display honesty and integrity when dealing with clients. I went back because of this and also because it was an opportunity to do something good with all I had learned in the timeshare industry.

Do you mean to tell me that the government and FBI would let VO continue to operate, to open 4 additional offices and to do business with thousands of clients for years after this, and seasoned criminal and civil attorneys risk their reputation, and a civil court find in VO’s favor against Wyndham, a multi billion dollar corporation, and continue to let VO operate if this actually was an illegal operation as the government now claims? With over 5 years of searching unimpeded for victims in this case, without even a chance for us to defend the alleged conduct, less than 10% of VO’s client base is even alleged to be victims, and less than 3% involved the conduct discussed in the indictment, referred to as the bank pitch or “bait and switch” conduct. The only way the governments allegations and sentencing enhancements could be possible or be even close to constitutional is if VO was a completely fraudulent venture. Obviously, this is impossible to believe.

I challenge you to not only post this letter in its entreaty but also to both read and post the sentencing memorandums filed on my behalf that are now public record. If after doing that you still have any doubts about something being seriously wrong with our judicial system or how this case against VO was handled from the beginning, ask yourself one question. If a VO client was not told the improper bank pitch, or bait and switch scheme, which has been used to describe all illegal conduct within VO, why are they now being called victims and used to enhance the loss amounts by millions of dollars when multiple other relief companies known to the government are out there doing the exact same thing to this day?

-Ian Resnick

The floor is open. Please proceed.

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

Do you have tips or rumors you’d like to share (ANONYMOUSLY)? Something you’d like us to investigate or follow up on? CONTACT: [email protected]

Permanent link to this article: http://www.insidethegate.com/gatehouse/2015/09/new-jersey-usa-timeshare-news-september-12-2015/

Virginia USA Timeshare News: September 12, 2015

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

WILLIAMSBURG: According to Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance president Karen Riordan, Williamsburg is in the unique position among tourism destinations of having nearly as many timeshare units as hotel rooms — 6,500 vs 8,600 respectively.

I’ve been hearing for years that Williamsburg is overbuilt in terms of timeshare and lately it’s been a litany of how the place is struggling, with a downturn of visitors, etc. Hotel occupancy in greater Williamsburg in June 2014 was a mere 58.9 percent, down from 59.8 percent in 2013, and that’s high season in the region! Through June, 2014 year-to-date occupancy was 39.7 percent, slightly trailing the 2013 rate of 39.9 percent. And no one considered 2013 a good year.

So are the figures up this year? Has 2015 seen better numbers? And how does the high number of timeshare units affect the general picture? What has the occupancy rate in timeshare resorts looked like this year?

There are more than 30 timeshare resorts there already, most of them in active sales even if they’re just selling points in the parent brand’s resorts as opposed to selling time at a specific Williamsburg property. Yet the area keeps adding timeshare units and hiring sales and marketing reps, so something must be going right.

What’s the haps in Williamsburg?

“If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.” –Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Do you have tips or rumors you’d like to share (ANONYMOUSLY)? Something you’d like us to investigate or follow up on? CONTACT: [email protected]

Permanent link to this article: http://www.insidethegate.com/gatehouse/2015/09/virginia-usa-timeshare-news-september-12-2015/

Mexico Timeshare FRAUD: September 12, 2015


PART ONE: What a hoot! At least one scam outfit is trying the old smoke and mirrors defense by attempting to convince one of its victims that InsideTheGate is the bad guy!

I’m speaking of Realty Assets, Inc., one of the scammers I outed just last week. (Most likely they’ve previously operated under different names, though it’s possible they’re new to the game.)

Here’s what happened. A person who had been sucked into their scam discovered the information in this blog and sent them an email advising them of that fact and notifying them that they are being reported to the FBI, state Attorneys General and that he is posting the information to every blog and forum he can find. In response they sent him this little tidbit via email (click the pic to see it bigger):

Bogus ITG Fraud AlertI email

Full Disclosure: There were links in that email leading to complaints on three websites claiming to expose InsideTheGate as a “COVER UP, FRONT and a FACADE”, extortionists and a scam, among other things. All three of them were written not quite a year ago by the same person. I have removed the links from this screenshot; you can look them up if you’re interested.

Scratching HeadRealty Assets says: “We have received numerous calls from our clients
Of people from Mexico Asking for $500 to close the transaction”

“Please be aware of giving out your information to unknown online sources” -Good advice.

“We received calls from a company named inside the gate” -No one from InsideTheGate ever called them and we can prove it.
“Extorting us from money” -ROFLMAO

“Inside the gate is a known scam outfit please be aware” -ITG is an ONLINE NEWS RESOURCE, for heavens sake, you know, like a NEWSPAPER. We report on the timeshare industry; that’s all we do.

have a cuppaI’m making an assumption now: This “elaborate counter assault”, as the person who sent me the email called it, indicates to me that this blog’s relentless exposure of Mexico’s resale/rental/recovery scams is beginning to have an effect.

By the way, the Realty Assets, Inc. folks are using yet another bogus email address for the SUBPROCURADURIA (Secretaria de Hacienda y Credito Publico informacion@shcpdf.com) scam, and have revealed that another scam company called A.B.I. Realty is associated with them (that company in Tennessee was dissolved in 2000 and is listed as inactive, meaning it is no longer allowed to do business under that name; draw your own conclusions). More on A.B.I. next week…

PS: Hey, Realty Assets, Inc – that was a very clumsy attempt on your part, but we do thank you for the publicity. 😀


PART TWO: Waay back in May of 2014 when I was busy exposing some scammy behavior going on in Costa Rica (associated with Coco Bay Estates, i.e. Luxury Leisure Alliance, Las Palmas Travel Network, etc. as well as Bahia Turquesa/Coco Sunset and Miramar Residences), I said:

I was wandering through some of your Facebook pages looking at your Facebook “Friends”, and I was not particularly surprised by how many of them I either personally know/knew or at least know by name and reputation. I’ve kept in touch with some of them through the years and made new contacts via The GateHouse as well. I may not know you, but I most likely know someone who does know you or knows of you. Ask the right person for info, call in a couple of favors, it’s amazing what can be discovered.

The reason I bring that up now — and in this Mexico section instead of Costa Rica — is that I’ve been asked about the crew that was working those deals and here’s a little update on some of the players, put together as best as I can sort it out.

Let’s start with some history. George Triggs, who was deeply involved in the goings-on in Costa Rica, had been working in Mexico at least since he was the VLO at Villa del Palmar almost 20 years ago. Around 2002 or so, George joined Catherine O’Leary at the Playa del Sol Resorts in Puerto Vallarta (she was the CEO of PDS Marketing, which was the exclusive Sales and Marketing arm for the Playa Del Sol Resorts in Puerto Vallarta, Nuevo Vallarta and Los Cabos). Fernando May was one of the VLO’s at the PV resort. Around 2010 Playa del Sol Resorts shut down, later to become the Bel Aire Collection and by then Abe Gardner had started working at Puerto Bahia where they all joined forces and allegedly came up with some major scams.

Abe, by the way, first arrived in PV around 2005 and worked as a liner in the sales room at Villa del Palmar Flamingos.

Jimmy Muñoz was a motorcycle mechanic before he went to work in the business (around 2004). Word is he trained under the especially vile Antonio Copella (real name John Aurelio Cuda, one of the most notorious scam artists in Mexico who is currently doing time at the prison in Lompoc, CA) and Dany Mannan (an alias). Along with his brother James Richard Cuda (aka Jonathan James Tomasello/Michael Logan) he was one of the masterminds of the Belaire Golf and Spa, Hotel U, Grand Miramar and other timeshare frauds in the Puerto Vallarta area.

So anyway, where are they now? Well some of them have been quite good at hiding their current locations though word on the street is that many of them are back at Puerto Bahia where things are still going strong and they’ve been recruiting in Los Cabos and PV.

Israel Curi is reported to be among the group that has returned to Puerto Bahia.

On the other hand, it appears that Triggs may be back in Seattle (though he still refers to Vallarta being “Home Sweet Home”). He is heavily pimping Global Discovery Vacations on his Facebook page, where he also said that he is working with Jim Kelch, another old timeshare dawg from the Mexican salesrooms (Hi, Jim!). Kelch is the proud owner of Five Star Resorts Travel Club, which sells the Global Discovery product, which has Global Connections as its fulfillment agent. You know, in pretty much the same way that Sundance Vacations sells Travel Advantage Network’s product.

Where are Abe Gardner, Joe Merante, Bill Hood, Todd Dehn, and the rest? Are any of them still working in Coco? Zoe Graham? Randy McIntyre? It’s possible that Abe and Joe (and maybe Todd) might also be in the Seattle area; word is that Abe bought a condo there a couple of years ago and all three of them have ties to the region.

Inquiring minds want to know… 🙂

“If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.” –Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Do you have tips or rumors you’d like to share (ANONYMOUSLY)? Something you’d like us to investigate or follow up on? CONTACT: [email protected]


Permanent link to this article: http://www.insidethegate.com/gatehouse/2015/09/mexico-timeshare-fraud-september-12-2015/

India Timeshare News: September 12, 2015

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

NEW DELHI: Sterling Holiday Resorts Limited, a 100% independently managed subsidiary of Thomas Cook (India) Limited (TCIL), has named Travstarz Holiday & Destinations Private Limited as its General Sales Office in New Delhi.

Travstarz, which is part of Travstarz Global Group, has been expanding rapidly in the hotel wholesale business in the last 3 years and has many global brands associated with them. They will now be pushing Sterling Resorts as holiday destinations and will soon have an online portal available for booking holidays.

Sterling Holiday Resorts (India) Limited is a pioneer in Vacation Ownership and a leading Leisure Hospitality company in India. Sterling Holidays was incorporated in 1986 with the vision of delivering Great Holiday experiences to Indian Families. To achieve this vision, the company pioneered Vacation Ownership in India and set about building a network of leisure resorts at some of the best holiday destinations in India. Currently, Sterling Holidays has a total inventory of 1767 rooms spread across 24 resorts in 21 scenic holiday destinations in India. The company also has 15 additional sites where it plans to add new resorts in the coming years.

Most recently the company has launched the following resorts: Yelagiri – MariGold Ridge, a hill station near Yelagiri Lake about 150 km from Bangalore and 250 km from Chennai, and Lonavala – Under The Over, a hill station nestled in the Sahayadri ranges of Maharashtra. Lonavala is positioned at a height of 622 m above sea level; distance is about 96 km from Mumbai and 62 km from Pune.

All resorts in the Sterling Holidays network also have specially designed hotel blocks for the comfort and convenience of guests who prefer to vacation as a one-time hotel guest.

“If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.” –Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Do you have tips or rumors you’d like to share (ANONYMOUSLY)? Something you’d like us to investigate or follow up on? CONTACT: [email protected]

Permanent link to this article: http://www.insidethegate.com/gatehouse/2015/09/india-timeshare-news-september-12-2015/

Timeshare Morning Meeting: September 12, 2015

This week’s timeshare sales tip:

A Show of Hands:

REMEMBER: On more than one occasion in Morning Meeting the advantages of each timeshare rep having their own business card with a personal URL (website address) and a dedicated cphone number printed on it has been explored. As consumers are evolving more toward social media formats that advice (and advantages) are more important than before for any timeshare rep seeking to increase their annual income.

So, by a show of hands, how may reps reading MM have actually invested a few dollars, come up with a personal (one, two or three page) website, had those well designed business cards printed, etc. and have been ‘networking’ by handing them out to buyers, non-buyers, the butcher, the baker and the candle stick maker…?

Likely not many, if any, and that is a shame because in the current era and foreseeable future staying connected with buyers and (for now) non-buyers WILL lead to new selling opportunities, referrals and so forth, not to mention huge ‘SG’ commissions and/or bonuses.

The fact of the matter is that social networking can generate unbelievable selling opportunities; weed out (e.g.) the financially challenged prospects, and unbeknownst to timeshare marketing Gurus it empowers the timeshare rep. By ‘social-networking’ (properly) the end result will be a savvy Timeshare Pro laughing all the way to the bank.

Join us for a pithy morning meeting timeshare sales tip of the week, originally published in InsideTheGate.com, to help you to greater success in selling timeshare. Brief and to the point, these sales training tips are designed to get you thinking, to expand your knowledge, to help you to become all that you can be in the timeshare sales arena.

Whether you’re an industry veteran or a green pea, it never hurts to brush up on your skills!

Copyright InsideTheGate.com All rights reserved

Permanent link to this article: http://www.insidethegate.com/gatehouse/2015/09/timeshare-morning-meeting-september-12-2015/

Idle Timeshare Thoughts: September 12, 2015

It's Happy Hour at The GateHouseQUOTABLE QUOTES: “I have wandered all my life, and I have also traveled; the difference between the two being this, that we wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment.” ― Hilaire Belloc

What vacation ownership company associated with a major global hotel brand do you hear the least about? Which one rarely issues press releases, almost never mentions itself in public or even looks at itself in the mirror?

I’ll give you a couple of minutes to rack your brain for the correct answer, because I’ll bet that at least nine out of ten of you (or more!) will never come up with it.

You industry schleps from down under are disqualified from guessing.

That was a hint. Still stumped?

Try Accor Vacation Club. What? You never heard of it?

That’s exactly my point… Snoring

“If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.” –Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Do you have tips or rumors you’d like to share (ANONYMOUSLY)? Something you’d like us to investigate or follow up on? CONTACT: [email protected]

Permanent link to this article: http://www.insidethegate.com/gatehouse/2015/09/idle-timeshare-thoughts-september-12-2015/

Timeshare People on the Move: September 12, 2015

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

Ivy Chee and Paul Lim have joined Anantara Vacation Club’s marketing team with Chee as Director of Marketing Alliances – Travel & Leisure and Lim as Director of Marketing Alliances.

As Director of Marketing Alliances – Travel & Leisure, Ivy Chee will seek out new opportunities for Anantara Vacation Club to develop partnerships with travel agencies, tour operators, attractions, luxury travel networks and others. She will also work to evolve Anantara Vacation Club’s digital platform.

Ivy has a diverse background in the global travel industry with a focus on Asia. She previously served as the Regional Director – East Asia for PATA where she cultivated both public and private sectors partners within the tourism industry.

Paul Lim will serve as the Director of Marketing Alliances and will be based out of Anantara Vacation Club’s corporate office in Bangkok.

Paul has more than ten years of industry experience developing strategic affiliate marketing programs and partnerships, most recently with the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group. He successfully led sales and marketing teams for new product consumer and B2B launches. Paul also brings valuable experience with event management, public relations and sales promotions.

Jon Catlin has joined Concord as Chief Information Officer, responsible for the technical direction of the company, overseeing architecture and software development as well as managing the SaaS/Cloud based teams.

Originally from the U.K., Catlin’s background includes Agile, Scrum, BDD, CI, change management and more than 20 years of consulting and leadership experience for small to large organizations. Prior to Concord, he served as Vice President of Software Development at American Traffic Solutions, managing a team of on and off shore delivering solutions for the road safety industry.

Since 1988, Scottsdale, Arizona based Concord has been a driving force in developing highly flexible receivables servicing solutions for the timeshare industry and also began designing and implementing primary and master servicing solutions in 2010 for the growing energy financing marketplace.

Have you been promoted or moved to a new company/location? Do you know of someone who has? Has someone been fired or demoted? Tell us about it! Send the information to The GateHouse to be included in People on the Move!
CONTACT: [email protected]

Permanent link to this article: http://www.insidethegate.com/gatehouse/2015/09/timeshare-people-on-the-move-september-12-2015/

The Weekly Wisecrack: September 5, 2015

at the beach

Wally spent his first day in Belize on the beach reading the resort’s sales training manual. And though he doesn’t have a sales background he is confident he’ll do well telling his sales guests that they can

  • use it whenever they want,
  • save it for a couple years and then take an extended vacation,
  • trade it anywhere in the world whenever they want and
  • if they aren’t saving their time for later years they can rent it out tax free and pocket the money.

And if they don’t want to will it to the kids when they are done vacationing years later, they can sell it at a profit and pocket that tax-free money too!

Easy peasy! Heck, it ain’t rocket science after all! His guests will fall all over themselves trying to get their credit cards out of their wallets!

Yep, tomorrow morning Wally will be ready to rock and roll!

(Do you “think funny”?
Leave your own caption in the
Comments if you’re so inclined…)

(Image courtesy of PicGifs.com)

Permanent link to this article: http://www.insidethegate.com/gatehouse/2015/09/the-weekly-wisecrack-september-5-2015/

Timeshare Odds and Ends: September 5, 2015

It's Happy Hour at The GateHouse
What if you knew of a news and information publication covering a relatively small industry? And what if that publication included a classifieds section showcasing industry products, services and career opportunities but as a busy industry executive you never paid much attention to that?

Then what if one day you learned that about 26% of the 100,000 or so (on average) monthly readers of that niche industry’s publication spent time looking for a new career opportunity in that publication? That’s an impressive figure representing exactly the kind of people you’re looking for to spiff up your own numbers. Right?

So what’s the Scoop? Want someone to crunch the numbers for you and show you a better way? See Scoop’s take on the issue at Scoop du Jour: 22,954 Career Searches!

Interval International will host the 17th annual Shared Ownership Investment Conference at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach from September 30 – October 2. Everyone who’s anyone will be there (except me; you never take me anywhere…).

Of particular interest to me in the scheduled lineup is the new Latin America program, which will be conducted in Spanish with simultaneous English translation, and will feature first-hand insights from some of the region’s leading developers, marketers, and communicators. Marketing expert Alvaro Rattinger will share social media and other strategies that speak to this important market.

One wonders if the very important issue of the epidemic of timeshare resale, rental and recovery fraud that runs openly and unconstrained throughout the country will be mentioned, if only in whispers in back rooms. Profeco is aware of it; AMDETUR is aware of it; SHCP is aware of it; developers large and small are aware of it; yet no one in the industry — in Mexico or elsewhere — seems to want to address it.

It’s a shameful thing and a blight on the industry. Doesn’t anyone care? Or are the developers and government complicit?


Have you seen the world yet?

Where are YOU going this year?


Permanent link to this article: http://www.insidethegate.com/gatehouse/2015/09/timeshare-odds-and-ends-september-5-2015/

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