Suspended employee demands money from Alpha Marketing

POSTED: 04/11/11 12:18 PM

Another dispute involving MP Jules James

St. Maarten – A female employee of Alpha Marketing and Management, the vehicle Royal Resorts used for selling timeshare weeks at the former Pelican Resort until it closed down on January 18 of this year, demands payment of close to $40,000 for unpaid salaries and commission fees. Alpha was sentenced to pay on January 14, but so far it has not complied with the court order.

Alpha Marketing is part of the timeshare operation in Pelican Key that until December of last year used the name Pelican resort. After an auction, the resort was renamed Simpson Bay Resort and Marina, but the main players in the company remained the same: Royal Resorts, Richard Sutton, Richard Corso and United People’s party parliamentarian Jules James.

While the attorney for Alpha argued in court yesterday that Alpha is “a third party that handled timeshare sales for royal resorts” it became clear that Corson, Sutton and James are among the directors of Alpha.

The female employee was suspended on May 7 of last year for not following reasonable instructions of her employer. The day before, Alpha filed a request to dismiss her. But on July 28, the executive council turned down the request to dismiss. A month later, on August 24, Alpha informed the employee that it disagreed with the Exco-decision, that it planned to ask the Court in First Instance to dissolve the labor contract and that it was prepared to talk about a settlement.

The employee successfully claimed in summary proceedings in court on December 14 her right to return to work and her right to payment of her salary and commission. Judge mr. R.W.J. van Veen ordered Alpha in his January 14-ruling to let the employee return to her work, and to enable her to do her work. The Judge also ordered Alpha to pay a bit more than $21,500 plus a legal increment and interest for unpaid commission from May 7 until December 31, 2010. The court furthermore ordered Alpha to pay the employee $2,789 gross per month from January 1 until the moment the labor contract ends.

Yesterday, Alpha was in court to ask for a suspension of the ruling, because Alpha is unable to comply with it. Attorney mr. J.G. Bloem referred to “a possibly expected bankruptcy” of the company, among others due to cash flow problems caused by $2 million in unpaid commissions.

Of the 18 employees at Alpha, Bloem said, 17 signed a departure agreement, whereby they were paid “70 to 80 cents on the dollar” for what the company owed them.

Bloem contested beforehand attempts at identification of Alpha with Quantum, Corso or the new sales organization at the Simpson Bay Resort, but the attorney for the employee, mr. W.A. van Sambeek later pointed out that the directors on the board of Alpha are the same people as those that are involved with the Simpson Bay resort and its sales organization: Corso, Sutton and James.
Bloem said that Alpha had ceased its business activities on January 17 and that it is therefore not possible for the employee to return to her work.

Van Sambeek countered that there are plenty of statements, but that there is no evidence to support them. “The employer ignores a court ruling and is now asking, based on abuse of the law for a suspension of the ruling. All colleagues of my client are employed at the new sales organization that is under the management of people who have ties with Royal Resorts.”

Van Sambeek said that the key question is the ability of Alpha Marketing and management to comply with the court ruling.

Bloem said that the company had made several offers for a settlement to the employee (from $30,000 to $37,500), but that she had turned down both offers. But Van Sambeek said that the offers included a demand that his client waives the rights that are hers based on the January 14 court ruling.

Judge mr. D.M. Thierry pointed out to Bloem that his client has an obligation to pay the salary of a suspended employee. “It would not be pretty if your client decided not to pay thinking that once she is up to her neck in difficulties she will agree with a settlement.”

The Judge will rule on the case on April 21. “But it would be nicer if you could find a solution together,” he said.


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