St. Maarten News – Bruno Sitbon and his family are attempting to buy Sapphire Resort and return it to the pre-eminent state it was in before the Verdiers stopped maintaining it to the satisfaction of timeshare owners. As a result, the Sitbons say, thousands of timeshare owners have walked away from their Sapphire timeshare weeks, Jeff Berger reports in his electronic newsletter St. Maarten Weekly News.
Some Sapphire timeshare owners have drafted an online petition regarding their plight. Here is the full petition text:
“For many years we have owned timeshare weeks at Sapphire Beach Club Resort in Sint Maarten. We and thousands of other Sapphire timeshare owners all pay annual maintenance fees that by contract must be used to pay for required maintenance and renovations of the resort.
Clearly, expenditures on maintenance are not being made as required in all timeshare contracts. Timeshare owners know this all too well, by virtue of the long-standing deterioration of furniture and appliances in many units and the general condition of the resort. The Resort developers are not complying with the contract they have signed with Sapphire timeshare owners.
RCI, Resort Condominiums International, the timeshare trading company that normally enables Sapphire timeshare owners to trade their weeks for stays elsewhere — and allows owners at other resorts to trade into Sapphire – many months ago severed the trading relationship with Sapphire.
That move resulted directly from numerous complaints about Sapphire received by RCI from both Sapphire timeshare owners and from owners at other resorts who expressed great disgust after trading into Sapphire. RCI for more than two years has allowed no trades into or out of Sapphire because of the deplorable condition of the property. Government inspectors have confirmed many violations from building codes.
The hotel continues to deteriorate every year. Often, nothing works — elevators, air conditioning, water in apartments that has scalded some of us, unhealthy pool water, leaks, flooding, mold and mildew in our apartments …and countless issues with decrepit or non-functioning appliances, filthy or non-working Jacuzzi whirlpools, and much more.
Many of us have pictures proving the validity of these complaints. When we try to complain to the Verdiers, in the rare times when Jean Verdier is there, he (the father) pretends not to speak English. Usually he refuses to see timeshare owners in his office.
His son, Philippe, who is now supposed to be in charge, seems never to be present — or at least timeshare owners are told that when we seek him out. As a result, we are reduced to sending emails or letters which no one bothers to answer. This horrible mistreatment of timeshare owners must stop.
Years of requests for audited financial statements from Sapphire have never been answered, which fuels the widespread belief on the part of timeshare owners that their hard-earned funds are either going into the pockets of the developers or to their numerous projects on other islands and not into the contractually required maintenance of timeshare units at Sapphire.
But if we refuse to pay our maintenance fees, we risk losing the weeks we have bought. We do not receive what we paid for and are reduced to posting public complaints in petitions. We hope St. Maarten courts allow this sale instead of the continued abuse of Sapphire Resort timeshare owners, which worsens the already tarnished image of St. Maarten timesharing and gives yet another black eye to St. Maarten as a desirable location for warm-weather winter vacations. We hope the courts hear our plight and solve these long-worsening, totally intolerable problems.”