Thursday, August 27, 2015


Back in July, this is what I heard:

ORDER: the parties shall file their motion for preliminary approval of the settlement agreement by August 7, 2015; in the event this matter has not been fully resolved by August 7, 2015, the parties shall appear in person for a status conference on Friday, August 14, 2015 at 1:30 p.m. Signed by Judge John Antoon II on 7/8/2015.

Yesterday, this:

Lawyers for all parties attended a status conference in person with the judge on August 14, 2015.  The parties advised that though an agreement in principle has been reached for a proposed settlement, several administrative issues relating to implementing the terms of the proposed settlement require additional time to be resolved.  The Judge entered the following order after the status conference:


Minute Entry. Proceedings held before Judge John Antoon II: STATUS CONFERENCE held on 8/14/2015. Court inquires as to joint approval of settlement and orders the parties to file a status report by October 14, 2015. If an agreement has not been reached, the Court will refer the case to Jeffrey Fleming for an in-person meeting.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

News About Festiva


Festiva has been selected for the 2015 Best of Orlando Award in the Hospitality Services category by the Orlando Award Program.

Each year, the Orlando Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Orlando area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2015 Orlando Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Orlando Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Orlando Award Program
The Orlando Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Orlando area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.
The Orlando Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

In The Market for a Timeshare? Read This

There's still plenty of summer vacation left and plenty of opportunities to be solicited to purchase a timeshare.  If you find yourself across the table from a salesperson after a 90 minute---OK, 4 hour sales pitch, stop and breathe for a minute.

While it is true that timeshare can be a terrific way to vacation for many people, there are important things to understand that the salesperson may not cover or that they may "gloss over"...I should know...I spent 6 years on various sales floors in the Orlando area.
Here are some questions that you had better get full and complete answers to:
1)    Do you understand all the terms and conditions of the contract?

2)    What are the current maintenance fees?

3)    What is the five (5) year history of those fees?

4)    Are there any special assessments and if so, what are they and what are they for?

5)    Is the HOA (Home Owners Association) under developer control or owner control? 

6)    How much of the resort is sold out?

7)    What is the current delinquency rate among owners?
Remember also to avoid anyone using the words “free”, “perfect”, “always” and :never.”  Free and perfect don’t exist and always and never are exceeding long periods of time.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Update On The Manhattan Club Meeting

A meeting was held on August 2nd in New York City for owners of The Manhattan Club.  Here, Jeff Weir provides a recap of this meeting.

We'll post updates as they become available.

If you attended, we'd like to hear from you.

If there's another topic that you feel warrants a meeting, let us know as well.

Manhattan Club owners rally in New York, seeking understanding of legal strategies and the AGs investigation

Some 120 timeshare owners at The Manhattan Club (TMC)—representing an estimated 14,000 to 18,000 frustrated buyers rallied in New York on Aug. 2, 2015, to discuss legal strategies and the practical problems of escalating maintenance fees, reservation hassles, and resale roadblocks. The meeting, hosted by, the National Timeshare Owners Association, and TimeSharing Today, was the first focused "take-action" meeting among Manhattan Club owners who are stuck in legal limbo while New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman battles TMC developer Ian Bruce Eichner over the fate of the club and its owners, most of whom paid $20,000 to $40,000—or more for timeshares they can rarely, if ever, use.

The gathering included presentations from a New York attorney, Douglas Wasser, who is very familiar with the AG's investigation, real-estate law, and similar litigation; and Bob Schmidt, chief data officer for, a timeshare resale research company based in Florida. 

Wasser informed owners about the legal issues in the AG's case, while Schmidt discussed the market values of TMC timeshares, based on resale and developer sales from 2012-2015

Highlights and consensus opinions released at the TMC owners meeting include:

• Future legal actions: Launching a new legal case against the club, at this stage, would probably serve no purpose, because the AG already has a year's worth of investigative data. Wasser urged owners to show patience and evaluate their options after the AG's case comes to a head.  Three previous class-action cases already were thrown out of court.  In its most recent court filing, the AG's office said, "Nearly every week the NYAG discovers new evidence of potential wrongdoing."

• Maintenance-fee issues: Owners who want to continue using their timeshares must continue paying maintenance fees, even if they don't like the cost ($2,500 to $3,000 a year).  Many other owners have already opted out, refusing to pay due to frustration or financial considerations.  According to the AG's office, 2,265 contracts were inactive or delinquent as of March, 2015.  The club has 14,147 active contracts. Those active payers must shoulder the costs of the inactive timeshares.

• Sharket's survey of TMC resales shows that Manhattan Club sales and prices plummeted in recent years—no surprise, given all of the negative publicity about the club.  From 2012-2015, Sharket traced 144 resales with an average selling price of $2,148.  Only nine resales have been recorded in New York property records in 2015 (when the club itself was barred from transferring, selling, or foreclosing on property).

• Also during 2012-2015, the Manhattan Club took back 1,554 timeshares through buybacks or foreclosures, paying an average price of $133 per unit.  Developer retail sales, in contrast, stayed strong until the AG closed down the sales operation.  From 2012 to July of 2014, the club notched 1,521 sales worth $86 million, with an average selling price of $21,000.  Many owners noted the striking similarity of the buyback/foreclosure numbers and the developer sales.  Overall, dating back to the inception of the club in 1997, TMC claims to have sold $400 million worth of timeshares.

• A key allegation in the AG's probe is that the club deliberately oversold timeshares and rented rooms to the public while denying consistent access to owners.  Proving that, however, is a major paper chase that continues to generate heated debate in court.  In its most recent court filing, the AG says:  "NYAG has sought and still seeks to determine not only whether Sponsor (Eichner and his operating companies) had oversold any units in the timeshare plan, at any time, but also whether anyone at The Manhattan Club was keeping accurate records as to the inventory that Sponsor has sold, has yet to sell, and has bought back and re-sold."

The next court date was set for Aug. 21, but could easily be postponed.  No formal or public hearings in the case have been held since the original 2014 court order. 

TimeSharing Today will continue to follow the situation as events unfold. 

Jeff Weir is Chief Correspondent for Redweek and a contributor TimeSharing Today.