(Pelican Resort) Tenants Association moves assets to new foundationPOSTED: 03/1/11 12:49 PM
Van Giffen files today
St. Maarten / By Donellis Browne – The attorney for Simpson Bay Resort Owner Company (SBROC) and Royal Resorts Jairo Bloem and the Attorney for Quantum Investment and Trust (QIT) Richard Gibson Jr. were informed on Monday the Gerrit Van Giffen is the legal representative of the timeshare owners at the former Pelican Resort. Both Gibson Jr. and Bloem confirmed receiving mail from Van Giffen and Bloem said that what he got was more than a notification.
“Firstly I questioned why the timeshare owners, who have the Tenants Association of Pelican Resort Club (TAPRC), would need a second foundation to defend their interest and then as I read through I saw that this was also information that all the movable assets – beds, televisions, chairs, tables etc… – had been transferred to the new foundation without any money being paid. This means that when creditors come knocking at the door of Pelican Resort Club, the Owner Company, they’ll find an empty company. A second thing, and let us remember, is that an association has voting members who instruct the board, but a foundation allows for just the board members to make decision,” Bloem said.
The SBROC and RR attorney added, “It remains unclear to me and my client who is in the Board of the organization and we question what will happen to the creditors including Royal Resorts, who the TAPRC owes US $3 million. We also question how much was paid for these goods.”
The matter of the moveable assets is important to Bloem’s clients because they had made an offer to swap the TAPRC’s debt to SBROC for the moveable assets.
Van Giffen did not answer or return phone calls up to press time aimed at clarifying the statements made by Bloem.
The move to serve the notification of representation came a day ahead of the filing of summary proceedings aimed at forcing the new owners to reopen the property now known as Simpson Bay Resort and Marina and The Villas at Simpson Bay Resort and Marina. Specially appointed government mediators Rafael Boasman and Hensley Plantijn continue attempts to work out an arrangement that will allow the employees to return to work. At the weekend they circulated the final draft of a proposed agreement that SBROC accepted, while the Wifol union submitted further amendments on Monday.
“We decided to submit a better proposal to the special mediators on Tuesday and we believe it is an agreement that will be welcomed by all parties, because it is fair and balanced,” one of Wifol’s attorneys Wim van Sambeek said.
Bloem is not aware of this position. When asked about the status of the agreement he said,” I trust that in the course of Tuesday that we will get a reply.”
Van Giffen actually represents Advocacy Foundation Pelican Resort Club. The foundation has been given a “private mandate” to retain the attorney and have the matter handled in court by Pelican Resort Club, the Owner Company and Pelican Resort Club, the Management Company.
The notification of representation is a step toward filing the petition requesting the summary proceedings. Van Giffen was clear that unless there was a breakthrough Monday, then he would proceed with filing his petition. He also said he’d be willing to withdraw it if the resort is reopened while the petition is being considered. What he could not say was whether or not timeshare owners would claim compensation for not being able to use their units during the period that the resort was closed.
“What we want is compliance with the contractual arrangement for the resort to be open and the rooms to be available. If that does not happen then we will seek compensation. What is more difficult is how to measure the loss of enjoyment that people have from not being in their own suit. So really this is about getting the resort reopened and simply getting people back into the rooms they paid for,” Van Giffen said.
Bloem has also responded to questions posed by at least one time share owner who’s commented on the statements made by his client. Dave in D.C. wrote on this newspaper’s website, todaysxm.com, refuting a statement the company posted at http://www.simpsonbayresortnews.com/news/owner-simpson-bay-resort-marina-remains-committed-operating-resort. In his reply to the questions Bloem said his client, a co-director in Pelican Resort Club, the Management Company (PRCMC) had advised the board of TAPRC about various issues, including the staffing of the resort, and it was the latter that “did not make the tough choices.
“In fact now my client, who is part of the new management structure, is shocked that they have been able to operate with 55 people on staff and 100 who work for outsourced companies and are there four days a week. The difference is significant and as we’ve said the problem is in the quotas of rooms that the employees under the Wifol were allotted,” Bloem said.
His comments of a continued good operation do not line up with visitor comments posted on www.tripadvisor.com/. Many of those who posted either urged fellow travelers to stay away completely or to delay travel. There also glowing reviews of The Villas at Simpson Bay Resort and Marina – the newer building – but the comments about the Simpson Bay Resort and Marina are far from positive. Some complained of mold and mildew, filthy quarters and rooms that are generally in disrepair. Others hailed the resort and said detractors were far from correct when they bashed the resort.
Bloem called statements that his client had refused, of their own accord, to pay Quantum the mortgage payments “flagrantly incorrect.” He asserted that he had documented evidence of the instructions to not pay that came from the TAPRC. He also said that accounts RR had set up in the United States were meant solely to allow for time share owners to pay their annual maintenance fees into so called funding accounts that then fed the operational accounts here in St. Maarten.
“I can also tell you that the board of TAPRC only gave instructions for Royal to pay Quantum after the notice of foreclosure had been sent. At the time there was US $1.2 million in the operational account and this would have dried up the account and also meant that my client would not have been able to pay salaries the following week,” Bloem said.
The attorney also asserted that it was flagrantly incorrect for anyone to state that Richard Corso, had taken money from the resort’s equity fund.
“In fact the only money my client got was US $500, 000 for a loan that he gave the company that gave him the right of third mortgage. In order not to have to reckon with him Quantum decided to buy that right of third mortgage from him,” Bloem said.