Caravanserai timeshare owners join forces for legal battle

POSTED: 01/22/15 11:10 PM

St. Maarten – Timeshare owners who were robbed of their rights at the former Caravanserai resort in Beacon Hill (now Alegria) have formed an association that will initiate legal procedures against Alegria and its beneficial owner Ray Sidhom. Currently Toca (Timeshare Owners of Caravanserai Association) has 67 members. Its president is Carol Anne Lee-Desmarais.

“At the request of Jeff Berger we have been asked to reach out to owners who are stunned, surprised and shocked at what has transpired with our timeshare ownership rights at the Caravanserai Resort,” Lee-Desmarais writes in a post that appeared this weekend on Berger’s electronic newsletter St. Maarten Weekly News.

In August of last year, Alegria Real Estate bought the resort at auction for $14 million. Shortly afterwards timeshare owners received an email announcing that their ownership rights had become null and void, but that they could get a hotel room on the same conditions, providing they pay their maintenance fees. However, the rooms were no longer part of the timeshare exchange system. Many timeshare owners invested tens of thousands of dollars in these ownership rights.

Lee-Desmarais point out in her report on St. Maarten Weekly News that unlike the United States, St. Maarten does not know the system of class action lawsuits. To get around this problem, the disgruntled owners went to Bermon Law to form an association that will now pursue legal action against Alegria and Sidhom.   The other board members are John Minielly, Frank Schepers and David Burwell.

The association managed to block the November 1, 2014 deadline Alegria had given to timeshare owners for a decision, but a few weeks later it lost a lawsuit in summary proceedings, according to Lee-Desmarais “based on a technicality.” Berman advised not to appeal the decision. “We are now proceeding forward with a new law firm (Lexwell) with our main case procedure,” Desmarais stated. “In order not to jeopardize our legal battle, our lawyer has advised us not to disclose our main case procedure’s strategy to any social media.”

The board invites timeshare owners who want to join the legal battle to contact Toca via email at tocagroup@gmail.com

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