Questions, We've Got Questions!
by Julie Forestell
So many unanswered questions!
Your vote to determine if you want to Exit or Stay is now due in less than 20 days. For some, that vote is easy as they have enough information, based on their circumstances, to make the decision to vote now. For another unfortunate group, they have irregularities that make it impossible to vote correctly. For many others, they are still lacking the specific answers needed to make that vote. And for a final group, they aren’t even aware that there is an option to vote.
Owners had concerns and questions about the original filing back on April 30th. A trio of Owners retained legal counsel, and with financial support from other concerned Owners through a GoFundMe (“GFM”) campaign, some of the Owners’ inherent rights as outlined in the TimeSharing Agreement and ByLaws were maintained. Fast forward to the BDO fillings for the July 2nd hearing and unfortunately, more issues, more confusion. While the issues at the hearing were not all decided favourably for Owners, there were some concessions made, some clarity achieved. Most notably, that those who were deemed delinquent were counted as voting exit. Because of the involvement of the GFM lawyer, all Owners (regardless of being Exit or Stay) have benefitted from the clarity in the FAQs that BDO published in response to pressure, and in the additional information outlined in BDO's supplementary report.
But it begs the question, why are so many FAQs needed? Why the continued need for supplementary reports? BDO was retained almost a year ago to address the concerns of many owners about the desire to exit, the “in perpetuity” clause, and the ever-increasing Maintenance Fees. Now that the survey is out, there seems to be an endless array of problems and increased Owner frustration. Our Facebook page is very active, with many posts and comments from confused Owners who didn’t get the survey. Others have contacted BDO and the Board members and are getting little more than platitudes about what the next steps are to resolve issues. BDO is now requesting Owners refrain from contacting them saying that they will get to those issues in time. There are some Owners who are dismissive about the multitude of issues stating that the process was bound to have issues. Why is the bar so low? Why is it okay to have this significant expense for such a poor execution? Why is it okay to see any Owner left without recourse?
To date, BDO has provided multiple FAQ documents to try to clarify things. A group of concerned Owners, noting the many issues being posted to Facebook and to the Owners’ webpage, assembled more than 90 questions and sent these to BDO back on July 12th. BDO sent their acknowledgement and suggested they would “take them into account” for their upcoming FAQ. When their FAQ was published many of the questions were not covered. It is alarming that when asked for information on things like, ‘how will the votes from Wyndham be weighted?’, there was no reply from BDO. ‘Will the portions of land sold off be in equal percentages, within reason, to those exiting and delinquent members?’ was also ignored.
The following is a list of subject areas that remain unclear or have had little to no response from BDO. Owners have the right to ask and receive answers.
Survey distribution: No clarification was offered in the FAQs on how they would contact people who did not open the email, emails that were bounced, or letters that were returned to sender. In short, there was no guarantee of any efforts after the first email or letter that they would try to find Owners. (What was the purpose of sending a reminder within two business days of a 45 day process?)
Survey Responses by Contact: All questions regarding revealing the number of responses by method of contact (sent email, email bounced, sent letter, etc.) were not covered in any FAQs. BDO put forward the table of information, yet when asked, were not inclined to provide any surety that they would share information with owners.
Treatment of Delinquents for Voting: FAQ stated: “In accordance with the July 2nd Court Order, all Delinquent Members will be counted as voting to exit for the purposes of the survey results”. However, BDO has failed to commit to providing voting contact rate, response rate and voting results breakdowns.
Voted Weighting: The FAQ deliberately ignores the weighted voting question; they only provided a subset of the information requested on Wyndham’s intervals.
Survey Results: All questions regarding revealing number of votes for Exit / Stay by Interval Type and By Owner / Wyndham were not covered in any FAQs. Questions regarding how to confirm votes were cast for the right number of intervals, or how an Owner could confirm their intervals were not clarified in the FAQs.
Effective Date of Exit: There was no confirmation on effective date of release from CH / CR, nor any confirmation if the deeds would be held in trust until all transfers.
Restructured Resort – Determination of Viability: All questions asking for an understanding on the viability, the commitment of percentage of Exiting Owners and Delinquent Owners forming a similar percentage of reduction in the resort were not covered in any FAQs.
Restructured Resort – Proposal: All questions regarding the timing of a proposal, a commitment to having that proposal ready prior to the second round (with enough time to review), confirming if the information would be on the BDO website etc. were not covered in any FAQs.
Restructured Resort – In Perpetuity Clause: All questions to confirm the removal of the ‘in perpetuity’ clause, any condition or commitment to opt out were not covered in any FAQs.
This binding survey will cost many Owners in real dollars, stress, and unnecessary grief due to its poor execution. While some owners may be content with the pace and quality of the process and feel Owners should ‘just let BDO handle it’, others are clearly, and justifiably, not okay with how this is proceeding.
The fact is that, even as Owners of what BDO themselves has described as “real property” of the Carriage Resorts (and not simply Members of a timeshare club), we are left without a great deal of power to get the due consideration and reasonable clarity that should be given to us. We are Owners, and we are paying for all this work to be completed on behalf of all those involved.
Every Owner should be notified. Every Owner should be able to vote and not incur Maintenance Fees in the fall if they choose to Exit. And Every Owner should be granted factual information and full disclosure. Nothing else should be accepted.
Questions should be sent to the appropriate BDO email for your ownership:
Technical questions about the ballots received by email or by postal mails can be addressed to eBallots at: 1-866-984-3125 between 9 AM - 5 PM EDT or email firstname.lastname@example.org