Dear Royal Palm Beach/Flamingo Owner:
Join other owners concerned about the meteoric rise in maintenance fees at Diamond Resorts International's Royal Palm Beach Club and Flamingo Resort.
Presently a group of Royal Palm timeshare owners who are at the Royal Palm Resort have begun the formation of a litigation group. Today a representative of the ad hoc group met with the same local attorney in St. Maarten that represents timeshare owners at both Atrium and Sapphire resorts faced with the similar problems.
The Bermon Lawoffice in St. Maarten has agreed to represent the owners who are interested in protecting their rights. An email address has been established with a Netherlands Antilles Internet service provider. All communications should be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org
At the present time we believe that Diamond Resorts has exceeded the contractual terms and conditions that are contained in the contracts signed by all who purchased at these resorts. It should be noted however that there have been a number of different owners of these resorts beginning with Pelican. Depending upon when you purchased your unit the terms and conditions may differ.
In addition it was disclosed at a general meeting yesterday that an unknown portion of the so-called "Reserve Fund" has been used to repay "debt" owed to the developer. Our attorney intends to learn exactly what portion of Reserves was used as well as the terms and conditions. It was also announced at this same meeting that Diamond Resorts has increased their Management Fee $453,746 and added an Administrative Support Fee of $576,025. This additional $1,000,000 applies only to the Royal Palm. We have not seen Flamingo's 2009 Budget.
It is the goal of the ad-hoc group presently being formed to have our attorney first determine the specific rights of the owners. Our attorney will contact the resort owner and attempt an amicable resolution. If this is not possible, the litigation group intends to seek relief from the courts in St. Maarten. The same relief obtained by this law firm for Atrium and Sapphire owners.
Typical terms and conditions found in the other contracts include that maintenance fees cannot exceed the Netherlands Antilles Consumer Price Index (CPI) which is presently 4%. Original owners at Royal Palm and Flamingo are believed to have used the same "Pelican" contract used at the Atrium as Pelican owned all three resorts.
In order to properly ascertain the specific terms and conditions we are asking that you locate your contract; scan the terms and conditions and email here for attorney review. Please also include the description of the weeks owned and the legal name of ownership if they are not apparent on the contract.
At present we are estimating that a contribution payable to the attorney would be $50 per week owned.
Some have been eager to send money immediately as the retainer of the law firm must be paid before representation commences. We ask that you do not send any funds quite yet as the more people that respond the smaller the initial contribution.
Legal counsel has advised that there is no concept in Netherlands Antilles law similar to a Class Action lawsuit. Unless you are a listed petitioner you would not benefit from either a settlement or the judge's ruling.
In the interest of full disclosure the owners presently here in St. Maarten have agreed to fund the entire initial retainer ($1500). The law firm bills $200/hour plus 6% overhead. As soon as we collect the initial retainer the will become Group #1 as we do not intend to delay our actions. Subsequently additional groups will be formed by the attorney. This is the same procedure used at the Atrium.
The law firm that will represent us is:
Bermon Lawoffice and Legislative Services; Attention Attorney Monique Hofman. All funds collected will be sent directly to the lawoffices.
At this point we need to register names; weeks owned and get examples of contracts as there were different ones over the years. If you would like to block out your purchase price prior to scanning please do so.
Attorney Hofman has been provided with copies of Royal Palm maintenance bills that were sent out Dec. 22 and have a due date of Jan. 15th. Any action taken will occur prior to the due date and should you join the ad-hoc group you will be notified of what amounts to pay.
There is a concern that those owners who purchased inexpensive prices for their weeks (as compared to those presently on-island who paid premiums for weeks 50/51/51/1 will not pay $1,177.42 for 2009. This may cause owners to give up their units and will certainly result in a major shortfall in the expected maintenance fees causing Diamond Resorts to have to make up the difference. With an economy in such terrible shape and banks' unwilling to lend this misadventure of increasing fees in excess of 30% whether legal or not is inappropriate. It will also result in Diamond Resorts taking these units back and having more units to sell.
Thank you for your attention and wishing you the best of holiday wishes.
The Timeshare Owners Ad-hoc Litigation Group (In formation)