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Sueño Del Mar Closes

Posted By: Marty

Sueño Del Mar Closes - 11/30/10 03:08 PM

Timeshares Act put to the test

Many who visit San Pedro leave with a dream of some day owning a piece of Belize. Sueño Del Mar offered a new concept in resort ownership called fractional living. Now the 140 families who invested in this property are living a nightmare since the property closed its doors in mid-September as a result of falling into receivership.

In an interview with Kevin Meyer, former Sueño Del Mar manager, The San Pedro Sun found out that after much consideration, management decided to close on September 12th as they determined their next course of action. On September 13th, receiver Mark Hulse was appointed by British Caribbean Bank to take over Sueño Del Mar. Once control was handed over, the receiver relieved the staff of their duties and shut down the resort.

The debate now is if investors in Sueño Del Mar are protected by The Timeshare Act of Belize. In October, club members and part owners of Sueño Del Mar started copying letters to the The San Pedro Sun, wherein their concerns were relayed. The common sentiment in the letters is that the owners' rights are not being considered. One letter in particular states, "As members, we are no longer allowed to visit or stay at the Resort. Our personal property is under the Receiver's control... the Bank will not recognize the membership interests, and that the mortgage will cut off the Club and its members entirely. He says the Timeshare Act does not apply, and that he has "six legal opinions" saying the members have no rights. On the bank's behalf, he says that the only way the members will ever see the Resort again is if they buyout the bank's mortgage position. To do that he says, the members must pay all of the principal and the accrued interest which has retroactively been set at 15% per annum..."

The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) also disagrees with the Receiver's position. In a letter to a concerned investor, BTB's Director of Tourism Seleni Matus wrote, "The Timeshare Act is ‘the' legislation in force in Belize that governs all timeshare accommodations and there can be no dispute that Sueño Del Mar is and was at all material times a timeshare accommodation," Matus added that "Unfortunately, the law in Belize does not give us authority to give directives to a Receiver in these circumstances and we are unable to join in any litigation." A Sueño Del Mar member said they are considering all their options, including legal action. One of the letters sent to BTB and other Tourism Stakeholders states, "Most recently, the Receiver has advised us that he will not talk to any of us. He will only talk to our attorneys. So, many of us are now going to get our first experience with local law firms."

From the inception of Sueño Del Mar on January 1st, 2006, sales of the fractional ownership took off in the booming economy. Located 12 miles north of San Pedro, the exciting new venture appeared destined for success. The beautiful grounds and buildings brought in investors who bought fractional ownership starting at $50,000US. Ever hopeful of expansion and continued growth, the management at Sueño continued investing in their project, financing further buildings and upkeep.

With promising future projections, Sueño management took on a loan from Belize Bank International (now British Caribbean Bank - BCB) to continue expanding. Then, in mid-2008, world economic troubles hit Sueño and sales, which were mostly directed to US and Canadian citizens, pretty much halted. With increasing expenses for maintenance and administration, Sueño management found itself in deficit. To keep the development afloat, and to offset expenses, a loan was applied for at BCB, but was denied on December 24th, 2008. By then, the total figure owed to BCB was $4 million.

Going into Receivership meant that BCB's appointed Receiver would be in charge of the operations at Sueño. According to members, the gravity of the situation took many by surprise, for according to their Member Update Notes, the sense of urgency was not noticeable. August 10th, 2010's notes included a statement saying, "Working on leads and tours, sales remain very slow, ahead of last year's sales at this time, we remain optimistic about the remainder of the year...Continue to meet/communicate with the bank on a bi-weekly basis, they are still working with us, Interest payment of $350,000 due in January..." However, a month later, on September 12th, 2010, Sueño was closed.

The Timeshares Act that was passed in early 2009 is intended to protect the investor. For example Part IV, Section 17 reads: "in no event shall the foreclosure, exercise of power of sale or pursuit of any other right or remedy under a mortgage, other debt instrument, charge or lien covering all or any portion of a timeshare property or accommodation (whether covering real or personal property or both) extinguish or impair a purchaser's timeshare rights in a timeshare unit, irrespective of whether or not any such mortgage, other debt instrument, charge or lien is given or filed on record prior to completion of the development of the timeshare property, accommodation or units". If the Timeshare Act is applied to the Sueño Del Mar situation, the Club members should have access to their property in the times that they have allotted. The Accommodations Act would apply to memberships that were bought before the Timeshare Act was enacted.

In speaking to Mr. Hulse of Baker Tilly Hulse, his appointment was under the Mortgage Document as a receiver, and as such, he is seeking a purchaser for the property. Mr. Meyer also stated that finding a buyer to take over the development is in the best interest of all involved. "Sueño Del Mar is the test for the Timeshare Act of Belize," he stated. All research indicates that it is in the best interest of all involved to uphold the Act and respect owners' rights.

According to Meyer, it was a combination of a poor economy and lack of revenue from sales that had caught up with the developer. Sueño turned to its lending institution BCB for help, inviting them to look over their books and explaining their plans to either find a new investor/buyer for the development. The option for receivership was not one they wanted to take, but had push come to shove, according to Meyer, they would have welcomed the assistance and would have been happy to make the transition as smooth as possible. "All Sueño management wanted to ensure was that the nearly 140 families that had fractional ownership at Sueño Del Mar would have their assets protected," said Meyer.

Belize markets itself to investors who choose to spend time within our borders; spending thousands of dollars while here to pay for food, tours, shopping and more. Many choose to buy several weeks a year to have a guaranteed place to stay whenever they decide to come back for vacation. Numerous calls placed to BCB came to a head on Thursday, November 18th, 2010, when Mr. Christopher Coye opted "not to comment" on the issue. The question remains, will Sueño Del Mar be the undoing of Timeshares as we know it in San Pedro, and for that matter, Belize? What will happen to the 140 guaranteed families who travel to our country and spend time and money in the country?

San Pedro Sun

Posted By: acwanabe

Re: Sueño Del Mar Closes - 03/25/11 05:41 PM

Has anyone heard an update on Sueno Del Mar? Are they still shut down? Thanks.
Posted By: elbert

Re: Sueño Del Mar Closes - 03/25/11 06:56 PM

Huge ad in the newspaper advertising it For Sale.
Posted By: Marty

Re: Sueño Del Mar Closes - 03/25/11 07:07 PM

yes they are closed.
Posted By: acwanabe

Re: Sueño Del Mar Closes - 03/25/11 07:59 PM

Thanks for the updates. I sure hope it somehow works out for those who own timeshares.
Posted By: captjeff

Re: Sueño Del Mar Closes - 03/26/11 01:53 AM

Again I say time share is a pie in the sky .the worst investment one could make .jmho ..If i am wrong show me the numbers and how it is close to a good investment .And why high pressure people to buy or not give people time and days to think about it . we all know the reason .I rest my case .I feel Sorry for the folks who got caught up in the mess .I think it started off with a good thought,and plan ..how time share got envoled??? when i see time share it makes me think whats up .??the place was far up but real nice .
Posted By: Ernie B

Re: Sueño Del Mar Closes - 03/26/11 01:59 AM

It is apparent, Jeff, that you know little about time shares.I have a close friend that has been involved with that for over 20 years. I have made many trips with them and it was just great. So, do your homework before spouting off.
Posted By: CaptOneIron

Re: Sueño Del Mar Closes - 03/26/11 02:48 AM

Anyone within spittin distance of reality knows that what CaptJeff is saying is 100% correct except that he is too kind. These timeshare operations not only steal from the people when they make the initial 'investment' but also each and every month that the suckers pay maintenance or whatever they are called fees. My guess is that they are all set up on the union model - get their money and keep getting their money and give them nothing but future bills.
Posted By: Ernie B

Re: Sueño Del Mar Closes - 03/26/11 03:03 AM

You are funny . And, not in a funny way.
Posted By: Gaz Cooper

Re: Sueño Del Mar Closes - 03/26/11 03:12 AM

Originally Posted by captjeff
Again I say time share is a pie in the sky .the worst investment one could make .jmho ..If i am wrong show me the numbers and how it is close to a good investment .And why high pressure people to buy or not give people time and days to think about it . we all know the reason .I rest my case .I feel Sorry for the folks who got caught up in the mess .I think it started off with a good thought,and plan ..how time share got envoled??? when i see time share it makes me think whats up .??the place was far up but real nice .


Some of the biggest names in the industry run timeshare programs names such as DISNEY and MARRIOT Hotels run very successful time share programs and have done for years but under the name vacation ownership, also there are laws in place now that give the customer a cooling off period after purchase where they can cancel with no penaliteswithin 7-14 days.

The concept of timeshare/vacation ownership is not bad when offered by a well funded legitimate company unfortunately it also attracts scammers and underfunded projects that start with good intentions but fall into trouble when sales drop.

Best way to buy a TM is buy a well known name such as Marriot or Disney via a resale where they can be picked up for a song and then it can really save you money on vacations.

Gaz
Posted By: reaper

Re: Sueño Del Mar Closes - 03/26/11 07:10 AM

$50,000 plus monthly installments.

That's a lot of nights at some great resorts for a lot of years.
Posted By: catdance62

Re: Sueño Del Mar Closes - 03/26/11 11:49 AM

i never understood time shares. If you really really like a country (Belize), why not just buy land and build a house. usually those timeshares are as much (or MORE--in some cases a LOT more) than building your own place. Plus, selling a house is a lot easier than selling a timeshare if you ever want to sell.
Seems like having a timeshare is just like renting a place.
Posted By: elbert

Re: Sueño Del Mar Closes - 03/26/11 02:51 PM

The problem at Sueno however isn't that they did timeshares its that they got creative with the arrangement and now fall out of the definition so consequently are not protected by the Time Share rules.
but for the record i despise timeshare and all the petulant sales people it attracts.
Posted By: captjeff

Re: Sueño Del Mar Closes - 03/26/11 04:48 PM

Ernie not to get in a fight about time share AS THIS POST WAS NOT ABOUT THAT . And as you like to fight with peopl and enjoy confortation .I then say if your so right with your feelings show me on paper how it makes sense.AND THEN I WILL SAY E SORRY YOUR RIGHT .I BET YOU CAN NOT DO THAT And your friend who owns time share may feel happy, good for them .but the truth is over the long haul it is the worst investment in travel or investment ..
ANYBODY WITH ANY BRAINS AND KNOWS BASIC MATH KNOWS IT IS OVER TIME A BAD INVESTMENT ..SPEAK TO ANY ACCOUNTANT CPA .. THEY GET A GOOD LAUGH WHEN THEY HEAR ABOUT THE VAULE OF TIME SHARE..LOL.NOW THATS FUNNY.AND TRUST ME I HAVE DONE MY HOME WORK . AS TRAVEL WAS MY BUSINESS .I COULD RIGHT A BOOK ABOUT THAT.
Posted By: Ernie B

Re: Sueño Del Mar Closes - 03/26/11 06:04 PM

Ah Jeff, you are just to full of yourself LOL ! grin I really dont have the time nor the inclination to educate you.

Have a great day !
Posted By: captjeff

Re: Sueño Del Mar Closes - 03/26/11 07:37 PM

E some how I new you would say that .talking the talk is as important as walking the walk the facts are power .show me is power .Have a great day .
Posted By: Ernie B

Re: Sueño Del Mar Closes - 03/26/11 09:23 PM

smile
Posted By: CaptOneIron

Re: Sueño Del Mar Closes - 03/27/11 12:08 AM

I stand by my comments. The best way to buy a time share is not to buy it in the first place. There is a Fortune 50 company that runs one of the biggest time share scams going. That does not make it right. Why would someone sell something with value for a song? Get it?
Posted By: captjeff

Re: Sueño Del Mar Closes - 03/28/11 04:16 PM

Capt one Iron you are on the money .I did a report years back
for my travel group .The report showed ,just how bad the investment $$$ realy was .Not to say the way it is sold is just so bad .that's why they hire scam men ,con artist from all over the globe .A shame that they permit this to go on and on and hurt so many people .But when people are on vacation have a few drinks and are happy and living the dream they are prey for this type of close , sale .As they forget buyer beware and forget using good judgement And they get caught up in the moment and get sold the pie in the sky . It is only when they get home the realize how screwed they got ...!!!!!It can sure put a damper on there vacation big time .The few people I have meet who have time share are to embarrassed to say how they realy feel .
Posted By: elbert

Re: Sueño Del Mar Closes - 03/28/11 04:19 PM

Go Captjeff!
Time share Grrrrrrrrrr!
Posted By: captjeff

Re: Sueño Del Mar Closes - 03/29/11 02:32 PM

Elbert I can say they way the go about selling time share here on the island is not good for the island it leaves a bad taste in tourist mouths while not as bad as cancun it just is not good for the island .Again this is my thoughts .While not a belizean
but a owner of a condo who loves the place .
Posted By: elbert

Re: Sueño Del Mar Closes - 03/29/11 03:03 PM

Did you think I was disagreeing with you? Time Share sucks from any direction you look at it!
Posted By: captjeff

Re: Sueño Del Mar Closes - 03/29/11 03:24 PM

Elbert no not at all .I know you have seen what time share does to peoples lives and how bad it is for all envoled ,except the sales folks LOL .WE AS MANY AGREE TIME SHARE SUCKS.
Posted By: Katie Valk

Re: Sueño Del Mar Closes - 04/16/11 01:51 PM

Ad in April 17th Amandala advertising rooms and rates April 1-December 14.
Posted By: deepseadetective

Re: Sueño Del Mar Closes - 04/17/11 01:16 AM

Does anyone else see the irony of someone (Captain Jeff) who sells cut rate cruise ship holidays bashing time share holidays?
Posted By: GwenA

Re: Sueño Del Mar Closes - 04/17/11 01:44 AM

For someone who just joined the board today, deepseadetective, you seem to know a lot about Cap'n Jeff. Did you just join to be unkind? It seemed to take you a few hours to find a target!
Posted By: SimonB

Re: Sueño Del Mar Closes - 04/17/11 01:59 AM

Cruise ships aren't my thing but at least you get what you pay for. Comparing what Jeff does to timeshares is like comparing apples to Hamster turds.
Posted By: deepseadetective

Re: Sueño Del Mar Closes - 04/17/11 02:01 AM

I wounder how many families on the island are supported by the time share industry. Who is being unkind here?
Posted By: SimonB

Re: Sueño Del Mar Closes - 04/17/11 02:09 AM

As a percentage of population? Not many. How many tourists are harassed by illegally operating timeshare salesmen giving them a bad taste about Belize and affecting the families of many who count on those tourists coming back or not telling their friends about the bad experience they had? A much bigger percentage...
Posted By: GwenA

Re: Sueño Del Mar Closes - 04/17/11 02:19 AM

Sounds like Pedro to me....he's always concerned about how many locals are supported by this or that endeavor.
Posted By: deepseadetective

Re: Sueño Del Mar Closes - 04/17/11 02:23 AM

Well stated Simon equally if Ambergris Caye the percentage maybe small but I know that its enough to be significant.
Posted By: deepseadetective

Re: Sueño Del Mar Closes - 04/17/11 02:28 AM

Gwen get on subject ole girl.
Posted By: GwenA

Re: Sueño Del Mar Closes - 04/17/11 02:29 AM

How is that not on topic, Nova?
Posted By: deepseadetective

Re: Sueño Del Mar Closes - 04/17/11 02:32 AM

Are we talking about me or timeshares?
Posted By: AT602

Re: Sueño Del Mar Closes - 04/17/11 03:31 AM

why do we worry about people about who are taken in by time share sales personnel? I have traveled and been asked by these people everywhere. Just say NO.
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