AmeriGO RV Club Suspending Operations

The AmeriGO RV Club notified its 50,000 consumer members as well as dealers, campgrounds, and other partners that, effective today (July 17) it is suspending business operations while still working to obtain financing for the fledgling national consumer club.

AmeriGO-RV-Club-LogoIn making the announcement, AmeriGO Chairman Joe McAdams said the interest from the RV industry and consumer market for the AmeriGO concept has been “very gratifying and extremely strong,” but the club’s management needed to suspend operations while it explored financing options.

“We still believe very strongly that the concept is much needed in our industry. We are continuing to search for additional funding or a suitable partner within the coming months,” McAdams stated, adding that AmeriGO officials will update members on further status changes as warranted.

AmeriGO was founded in 2013 by McAdams and fellow RV industry veterans Joe Daquino and Mike Schneider, all of whom are former executives of Ventura, California-based Affinity Group Inc.

The independent RV consumer club has been positioned as an affordable membership organization that cultivates a vibrant online community dedicated to RV enthusiasts throughout North America who enjoy benefits, services, and discounts via partnerships with companies across the industry, including resorts and campgrounds, RV dealers, and insurance, financing, and warranty providers.

“Our goal in creating AmeriGO is to build a trusted resource for products, services, and information that adds value and security for the RV enthusiast by providing access to and savings at our premier network of RV vendors, dealers, and campgrounds,” AmeriGO officials stated in September 2013 in announcing the formation of the club.

Joe McAdams, Chairman of AmeriGO RV Club
Joe McAdams, Chairman of AmeriGO RV Club

While it not that unusual for membership camping organizations to experience financial difficulties resulting in reduced services and camping options for its members, it is highly unusual to suspend operations during the first two years of operation.

One also wonders whether suspending operations and ceasing to operate as a viable company are, in this case, one and the same.

Unanswered questions remain. Are the membership camping organization’s financial difficulties due to a failed business model? Did the promoters fail to provide value to the network of RV business partners? Did the promoters over-compensate themselves? Will full disclosure to the membership be forthcoming?

Worth Pondering…

You don’t pay the price for success. You pay the price for failure.

—Zig Ziglar

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Saving Money On an RV Road Trip

Knowing where to cut costs, save money, and be more efficient in your travels is the key to staying within your travel budget.

Fleetwood Providence Diesel Pusher parked at a Canyon de Chelly National Park (Arizona) view point  © Rex Vogel, all rights
Fleetwood Providence Diesel Pusher parked at a Canyon de Chelly National Park (Arizona) view point © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Following are some tips that will help you save money while still enjoying all the fun, freedom, and flexibility that RVing has to offer:

Before You Go

Check tire pressure regularly; improperly inflated tires means more money for fuel. Under-inflated tires can increase fuel consumption by up to 4 percent, according to International Energy Agency. Proper inflation also reduces the incidence of tire failure.

Preventative measures and maintenance will reduce the risk of problems. Preparatory activities should occupy your to-do list prior to any RV trip. It’s important to make sure that all of “the little things” are in place and working properly. While it does take time, it’s far better to be prepared than face an unanticipated malfunction that sabotages your road trip.

Inspect all the belts and hoses for cracking. Check your headlights, turn signals, and tires. Take a look at all your hitch and towing equipment. Check fire extinguisherssmoke alarm, and carbon monoxide detector. Taking a few precautionary measure before you hit the road could help to avoid a mechanical breakdown.

Check the weight on your loaded RV. Keeping the rig to the recommended weight will save on both maintenance costs and fuel.

Anyone who has listened to John Denver sing about country roads and the Blue Ridge Mountains can easily imagine the transcendent beauty of Shenandoah National Park.
Anyone who has listened to John Denver sing about country roads and the Blue Ridge Mountains can easily imagine the transcendent beauty of Shenandoah National Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Buy your groceries and supplies at a regular store in your town and use coupons whenever possible. Purchasing items at a camp store or convenience store is crazy expensive. You pay a premium for convenience.

When planning your trip, check out the Chamber of Commerce websites for areas you plan to visit. Call or email to request an information packet by mail. Not only will these info packets have plenty of brochures and information on various local attractions, they often include discount coupons. If you’re on the road just stop in.

If you belong to the AAA, ask about discounts on restaurants, museums, theme parks, fairs, and special events.

Reduce Campground Costs

Camp closer to home. Remember, you’re always on vacation at the campsite, even if it’s only an hour drive from home.

When camping with your RV, commercial campgrounds can take a big bite out of your wallet. You can often find better deals at public campgrounds operated by small towns or counties.

Join a membership campground system such as Thousand Trails.

A powerful and inspiring landscape, Grand Canyon overwhelms our senses through its immense size. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
A powerful and inspiring landscape, Grand Canyon overwhelms our senses through its immense size. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Join a camping discount club such as Passport America or Happy Camper.

Consider staying for free or nearly free on federal BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land.

Take advantage of free overnight parking, offered by Wal-Mart, Sam’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Kmart, and some Flying J Truck Stops. It’s also a good idea to know the state towing laws to avoid tickets or towing.

Many Casinos allow free overnight RV parking. A few Casinos require that you be a customer in order to park. There are some Casinos that allow no overnight parking, or require that you park at their adjoining RV campground at their customary nightly rates. You will also find a few Casinos that offer free RV dump stations, and even a few that offer RV hookups on site.

Stay longer in one place. Many RV parks are vacation destinations in their own right, offering something for everyone—swimming pools, playgrounds, game rooms, boating, fishing, nature trails, planned activities and more.

A block east of Santa Fe Plaza is St. Francis Cathedral, named for Santa Fe’s patron saint, St. Francis of Assisi. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
A block east of Santa Fe Plaza is St. Francis Cathedral, named for Santa Fe’s patron saint, St. Francis of Assisi. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Having a written budget is essential to getting your finances under control. If you do not have a written budget it is hard to know if you are living within your means and saving enough money for your long term goals like purchasing a new recreational vehicle.

Worth Pondering…

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.

—Charles Dickens, David Copperfield, 1849

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$4.3 Million Class Action Fraud Verdict In Membership Camping Case

In previous articles on Vogel Talks RVing, I’ve discussed membership camping—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Securities-settlements-gavel-money-article-25In an earlier article I reviewed the current information, misinformation, and confusion about membership camping in order to assist the consumer in making a more informed decision.

Today’s post details an ugly aspect of membership camping as it pertains to one—and I emphasize, only one— membership campground system—Halo Resorts Inc.

Halo Resorts consists of two campgrounds located in southern California between San Bernardino and Palm Springs—Oak Glen Retreat (38955 Oak Glen Road, Yucaipa) and Fisherman’s Retreat (32300 San Timoteo Canyon Road, Redding).

After a two week trial, a San Bernardino Superior Court jury reached a unanimous fraud verdict for intentional misrepresentation, concealment, and negligent misrepresentation and awarded $3.585 million in damages and $750,000 in punitive damages to 2,500 members who purchased campground memberships and/or paid membership fees to Halo Resorts Inc. from December 16, 2007 to February 20, 2013, according to a written announcement from one of the law firms in the case.

fraudPrevention“A jury found Halo Resorts falsely represented to its members that it was entitled to charge these fees and concealed the fact that they were not entitled to charge the fees,” said attorney Kitty Szeto with the R. Rex Parris law firm who tried the case with attorney Kevin Shenkman of Shenkman and Hughes law firm.

“For several years, Halo Resorts has sold a ‘lifetime membership’ to thousands of consumers over those years. Essentially, the membership entitled consumers to utilize the facilities and amenities at Halo Resorts’ two membership campgrounds, and obligated members to pay annual dues to Halo Resorts,” said Szeto.

“Halo Resorts charged its members fees that were never disclosed in their contracts and in violation of the California Membership Camping Act. Members were charged termination fees, transfer fees, and were tricked into going to the campgrounds to take a new photo ID but then were forced into 10 -by-10 rooms and were presented with different options: (1) to leave their memberships alone but then their annual dues would increase and they would be assessed a $60 monthly surcharge for the next five years; (2) purchase an upgrade (gold, silver, or bronze for $3,994 and up) which essentially gave them nothing more than what they already paid for; and (3) terminate their membership by paying $2,350. Unconscionably, consumers were forced to make a decision that day within the hour,” said Szeto.

A judge will be deciding three remaining claims (violation of the California Membership Camping Act, Unfair Competition, and Unjust Enrichment).

Case Name: Wilkinson v. Halo Resorts, Inc. – Case No. CIV DS 1114158.

If you or a loved one have suffered losses in this case, click the link below and your complaint will be sent to a consumer frauds lawyer who may evaluate your claim at no cost or obligation.

Disclaimer: I am a member of Thousand Trails, Western Horizon Resorts, and Passport America camping club but do not represent them or sell memberships.

Worth Pondering…

Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.

—Peter Drucker

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The Expansion-Bust Cycle of Membership Camping

Membership camping systems come and go tending to follow an expansion-bust cycle.

Camping at Hershey Preserve, a Thousand Trails membership campground in Pennsylvania Dutch Country. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Camping at Hershey Preserve, a Thousand Trails membership campground in Pennsylvania Dutch Country. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A privately held company, Western Horizon Resorts (WHR) was founded by Jim Loken and family in 1984 and was designed to provide RVers with “an exceptional outdoor vacation experience”.

At its peak in 2010, WHR operated 18 camping resorts located in nine states— Arizona, California, Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Texas, and Washington—with 3,000+ RV sites and numerous rental trailers and cabins.

Following numerous sales and bank foreclosures their family of resorts has shrunk to six; eight so-called affiliated resorts (formerly owned by WHR) are also available to members at a discounted rate.

Enter Camperworld Vacation Club, a family of seven membership camping RV parks in the state of Utah.

Thousands of members of Camperworld are upset because their offices have been shut down, the website is down, the campgrounds are closed, and they have to pay more in dues.

A recorded phone message has this to say to members, “Thank you for calling Camperworld we are closed until further notice.”

Camperworld is $4.5 million in debt and members have received a notice asking for an addition $880.00 due by April 20 (2014). It is also posted on the website under “Camperworld Special Notice: Updated Information”.

Camping at Chesapeake (Virginia) Preserve, a Thousand Trails membership campground. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Camping at Chesapeake (Virginia) Preserve, a Thousand Trails membership campground. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Following is the posted information:

Q. How much is the assessment?

A. $880 is due no later than the 20th of April, 2014.

Q. What about the $500 idea?

A. KSL-TV got it a little off. Here are the facts. Today, the Board of Directors agreed to $500 assessment rather than $880 if you meet the following conditions…
Your membership now has, and you are willing to give up one or more of the following:
Fixed dues for life, or a dues reduction for life, or free dues for life, or no dues option at 72 years of age, or no dues till 2017 or you have Assessment proof status.
In agreeing to surrender this status, no other features, just the dues discount or Assessment block you will then pay $500 by the 20th of April, 2014 and moving forward begin to pay $499 each year for dues starting January 1st, 2015.
If you are unwilling to surrender the one above listed features, the assessment amount for you will stay at $880. Taking advantage of the $500 option, if you qualify, helps everyone!

Q. What if I send in the money but Camperworld closes or files Bankruptcy?

A. All assessment money will be in escrow pending an accounting on April 21st, 2014. If funds are insufficient to run Camperworld in a size to service its members for the full year, every dollar must be returned at once.

Q. What will prevent this from happening next year?

A. 1st, What got us here, “dues deals” are now blocked from happening ever again. 2nd, The new programs provide a dues plus situation. That means that the new programs like the Explorer program, pay for themselves and extra to buffer the missing dues of others. The new programs don’t bet on a sales price to fix 1 year, rather they gain more dues every year to cover the member plus a little to cover the gap.
2nd, Many members with the “dues discounts” will take the high road because of their love for Camperworld and help everyone by surrendering the discount which is responsible for the entire assessment to begin with.

Q. Where did all the money go?

A. This year, with the majority of members were on a dues discount of one form or another, Camperworld collected just over $700,000 total. This money went to pay the hard money loans and operating costs that made it possible to make it until March 2014. Another hard money loan is still outstanding and due in addition to the $4.5 million due Zions which is not a hard money loan but is under review with Zions because of our financial state. It took just over 2.5 million to run the 7 parks last year after your new board made cuts, bringing it to the leanest in years. Randy Townsend covered 1 payroll out of his pocket 2 or 3 months ago. It was paid back.
Of this you can be sure,

Camping at Lynchburg (Virginia) Preserve, a Thousand Trails membership campground. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Camping at Lynchburg (Virginia) Preserve, a Thousand Trails membership campground. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

We are never to repeat the past and in fact are all about the business of making it impossible to do so. Our actions should speak loud and clear that the new board of directors are not interested in a gimmick loaded fast buck or a big commissions. Everything we do shows the opposite. We, your board of directors test every move we make to see if we are making the financial health of Camperworld stronger, not just in the short term, but in the long run!

Q. I can’t come up with the assessment money in time, what do I do?

A. A minimum of $300 must be paid by the 20th of April, 2014. The balance can be paid in 3 more installments.
A group of volunteers will be contacting all members one on one starting on April 9th to answer any additional questions. If you have not received a call by April 14th, e-mail drhonline@me.com and I will contact you directly.

Worth Pondering…

Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.

—Peter Drucker

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Morgan RV Park Back on the Auction Block

In recent posts I reported on the financial and legal problems encircling Morgan RV Resorts and that the state Supreme Court had assigned a new company to manage two Morgan RV Resorts, Cold Brook Campsites and American Camping Resort, both located in Ganesvoort, New York.

Morgan-Recreation-Destination-logoIn today’s post, I report on a third Morgan RV Resorts property, Flagg’s RV Resort in York, Maine.

As seasonal campers return to this recreational vehicle park, the foreclosure sale of Flagg’s RV Resort is scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday, June 20, according to an attorney for the mortgage company.

“The foreclosure sale is going forward,” said Alan Mills, of Indianapolis, Indiana, an attorney representing mortgage holder MLCFC 2007-9 ACR Master SPE, a Delaware limited liability company.

Mills said he believed the sale would be held on-site, Seacoastonline.com reported.

The sale originally was scheduled to take place March 22.

The website for Morgan RV Resorts is undergoing maintenance
The website for Morgan RV Resorts is undergoing maintenance

The day before the scheduled foreclosure, Flagg’s RV Resort LLC obtained a 60-day emergency restraining order in York County Superior Court to temporarily stop the sale, according to court records.

Attorneys in the case spoke with a superior court judge via a conference call the week of May 27, according to Mills.

Neither Mills nor Flagg’s attorney David Pierson of Eaton Peabody in Portland said he could comment on what took place during the conference call.

On Wednesday, June 5, long grass could be seen growing in the park, which has lost numerous seasonal campers amid changes there over the past two years.

In York, the day after the scheduled auction in March, workers at the park who said they worked for Morgan were disassembling and moving to an undisclosed location an estimated half-dozen park models.

When the six park models were originally moved in two years ago, an estimated 10 RV campers were forced to move out.

Other campers, fearful of the change, moved out on their own accord. Where once there had been more than 80 RVs at Flagg’s, now about a dozen remain.

Flagg’s RV Resort has a value of $1.2 million, according to the town’s assessment database.

In 2007, Flagg’s was among seven campgrounds Morgan used as collateral toward a $38 million loan from Countrywide Commercial Real Estate Finance Inc., according to court records.

The Countrywide loan was transferred several times.

The mortgage holder sought to foreclose on all the properties, according to the published notice of the sale.

Morgan Recreation Vacations sought to stop not only the foreclosure on Flagg’s RV Resort, but also on two other Maine properties in Rockport, Megunticook RV Resort LLC and Camden Hills RV Resort LLC, according to the Bangor Daily News.

Morgan Resorts ideal private resortsMorgan was unsuccessful in its request for an emergency restraining order in the Rockport cases. On March 21, the day the Knox County Superior Court denied the requests, the foreclosure sales went forward.

However, the mortgage holder ended up keeping the properties when it did not receive what it considered to be suitable prices, according to the Bangor paper.

Worth Pondering…

Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.

—Peter Drucker

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Problems Swirl Around Morgan RV Resorts & Ideal Private Resorts

In recent posts I reported on the financial and legal problems encircling Morgan RV Resorts and that the state Supreme Court had assigned a new company to manage Cold Brook Campsites, a recreational vehicle campground in Ganesvoort, New York, managed by Morgan RV Resorts.

Morgan-Recreation-Destination-logoA second campground operated by Saratoga Springs, New York-based Morgan RV Resorts has been reassigned new management by the state Supreme Court as foreclosure proceedings get under way.

The campground, American Camping Resort, more commonly known as the NASCAR RV Resort at Adirondack Gateway, is in Gansevoort and is home to 150 seasonal recreational vehicle sites, reports The Saratogian.

It is one of seven Morgan RV Resorts-managed campgrounds put up as collateral toward a $36 million loan that was defaulted, according to court documents.
People at the site are worried about their investment.

Bill Carter and Karen Bailie-Carter were sitting outside their camper at the American Camping Resort Tuesday afternoon, trying to relax, The Saratogian reports.

Carter has been coming to the campground since 1985, long before Morgan RV Resorts managed the property.

The land has a place in his heart. So, he said, when Robert Moser, CEO of Morgan RV Resorts, showed up at the end of last summer with a proposal to save Carter and his wife money on their seasonal fees and an opportunity to travel the country, he listened to him.

The retired couple liked what Moser pitched, and put down more than $6,000 upfront on a $17,000 membership to a club called Ideal Private Resorts, Carter said.

Morgan Resorts ideal private resortsMoney is taken out of the couple’s checking account each month to pay for the rest of the membership, he said.

The couple thought this membership would give them access to nearly 50 resorts across the country, save $1,000 in seasonal camping fees each year and provide various other perks.

But as of Wednesday afternoon, only five of the 50 locations they thought they could visit were left on the company’s website. And with foreclosure proceedings now under way, they are wondering if anyone will be upholding the membership they bought.

Carter said he felt reassured he was making a good decision joining Ideal Private Resorts, because Moser had dealt with him in person.

The couple has been calling the company repeatedly and requesting to speak with Moser about their concerns, but no calls have been returned and the company has not sent its promised membership documents, Carter said.

“We just wish we knew what was going on,” Bailie-Carter said about the RV campground.

Its store is closed, it is without security at the entrance or anywhere else in the camp and it is without the amenities campers have already paid for. Four dumpsters with garbage spilling out of them stand at the front of the campground.

A few days ago, the Carters and other campers at the park say, people came in and removed equipment — namely computers.

Now they are concerned their records are gone for good.

The website for Morgan RV Resorts is undergoing maintenance
The website for Morgan RV Resorts is undergoing maintenance

Asked for comment Wednesday evening, Moser said all memberships will be honored and the website is under construction.

Janus Hotel Management Services, a Florida-based limited liability company, has been assigned by the court-appointed receiver to take over management of both American Camping Resort and Cold Brook Campsites, which is also in Gansevoort.

While Janus will honor any seasonal fees already paid by campers, it is unclear at this point how they will deal with the Ideal Private Resorts memberships.

Comments

After a brief perusal of the Ideal Private Resorts website it would appear that the club is owned and operated by Morgan RV Resorts may be nothing but an old scam with a new wrinkle.

Worth Pondering…

Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.

—Peter Drucker

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Court Assigns Management Company to Operate Morgan RV Resorts

In a recent post I reported on the financial and legal problems encircling Morgan RV Resorts.

Morgan-Recreation-Destination-logoIn the latest development a new company has been assigned to manage Cold Brook Campsites, a recreational vehicle campground in Ganesvoort, New York, managed by Saratoga Springs-based Morgan RV Resorts, while foreclosure proceedings on the campground are ongoing.

Court documents filed March 4 in state Supreme Court in Saratoga County show the lender, Comm 2006-C8 RV Park Master SPE LLC, is taking action against local businessman Robert Moser and his partner, Robert Morgan, as well as two limited-liability companies affiliated with Cold Brook Campsites, reports The Saratogian.

The lender is foreclosing on the $4.25 million mortgage, which was given to the borrowers in 2006.

The attorney for the LLC states in court documents that Cold Brook Campsites is one of seven campgrounds that are or will be the subject of foreclosure proceedings by his firm, Herrick, Feinstein LLP.

Moser and Morgan own Morgan RV Resorts, which manages campgrounds around the country.

Janus Hotel Management Services, a Florida-based limited-liability company, announced it has been assigned by a Saratoga Springs attorney to take over management services of the 277-unit campground.

The website for Morgan RV Resorts is undergoing maintenance
The website for Morgan RV Resorts is undergoing maintenance

The president of Janus, Michael Nanosky, stated in a news release the campground would be open as planned.

“Although there is a lot of work to do, we want all campers to rest assured that the resort will open on time for the upcoming camping season and full use of the resort facilities will be available as soon as possible,” he said.

Last week, longtime summer residents of Cold Brook told The Saratogian they were nervous the campground wouldn’t open as planned and they’d be left without a place to live. Contacted last week, Moser said those residents had no reason to worry.

This week, Nanosky reiterated that residents have nothing to worry about.

Janus’ general counsel, Eric L. Glazer, said fees for Cold Brook residents will not change and payments already made will be honored.

Attorney John P. Coseo of the McMahon & Coseo law firm is the campground’s court-appointed receiver.

Court-appointed receivers like Coseo manage money or properties that are the subject of litigation. Typically, courts only appoint receivers when it is absolutely necessary to preserve the property.

Coseo also said Tuesday that Cold Brook will definitely open as planned.

Janus manages 11 additional Morgan parks, either as a receiver or as the management company for new ownership.

The company is based in Boca Raton, Florida, and manages a total of 60 hotels and campgrounds in the country.

Details

Janus Hotels & Resorts

JanusJanus Hotels & Resorts provide innovative, marketing driven hotel management services to investors, individual owners, and lending institutions. Janus is be ranked among the largest independently owned, third party hotel management companies in the country with over 30 hotels and 8,000 guest rooms representing all major brands as well as independents.

Address: 2300 Corporate Blvd NW Suite 232, Boca Raton, FL 33431

Phone: (561) 997-2325

Website: janushotels.com

Worth Pondering…

Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.

—Peter Drucker

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Problems Encircle Morgan RV Resorts

Robert Moser is struggling to stay out of financial and legal trouble in other states, and some residents of his Adirondack recreational vehicle campsite, Coldbrook Campsites in Gansevoort, New York, are worried they won’t have a home this summer, the Saratoga Springs Saratogian reports.

Morgan-Recreation-Destination-logoMoser is the owner and CEO of Morgan RV Resorts, which is a division of Morgan Management LLC.

The company maintains RV parks, campgrounds, and manufactured home sites in Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Morgan RV Resorts is considered one of the largest privately owned RV park corporations in the U.S.

Coldbrook Campsites is normally bustling with activity at this point in the season, summer resident Helga Manning of Schenectady said. But the campground was deserted, with no workers in sight, the Saratoga Springs Saratogian reported.

Pinecones and brush littered the property and a glance into the camp store’s window revealed a jumbled, chaotic mess of abandoned camping goods.

Manning is one of more than 200 people who rely on the Coldbrook Campsites as their home for the summer season. She said some residents have already paid the $2,500 camping fee for the summer and that she and other residents of Moser’s campsites are concerned because rumors are circulating that the campground won’t open and they will lose their deposits.

Much of that concern is rooted in court documents, filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission and newspaper articles that tell a story of a company deep in debt and its owners, who are accused of going to unseemly lengths to make a buck.

The website for Morgan RV Resorts is undergoing maintenance, perhaps reflecting the status of the troubled company.
The website for Morgan RV Resorts is undergoing maintenance, perhaps reflecting the status of the troubled company.

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley took Moser to court in 2011 and won, after Moser and his staff strong-armed nearly 100 residents into purchasing expensive memberships to stay in their homes. Some residents paid as much as $16,000 because they were scared of being kicked out of Peters Pond RV Resort in Sandwich, Massachusetts.

“This company took advantage of elderly customers and retirees who invested a significant amount of money in their homes,” Coakley said in a press release after the attorney general won the case in 2012.

“It is difficult to believe that any business would try to strong-arm people who worked and saved their entire lives so they could enjoy their golden years. We are thankful that these practices will end and that consumers will receive restitution.”

Jillian Fennimore, a spokeswoman of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, said the office still has a contempt action pending against Moser, his attorney, Carmel Gilberti, and various companies Moser conducts business through for “discouraging consumers from accepting restitution to which they are entitled,” according to court documents.

The court documents filed by the Massachusetts attorney general allege “defendants and Gilberti repeatedly misinformed consumers that if they accept restitution, the consumer’s seasonal fees for 2012 will increase by about 25 percent.”

Moser’s business partner is Robert C. Morgan, the owner of Morgan Management.

Moser Replies

Robert Moser subsequently replied to the story in the Saratoga Springs Saratogian.

“I typically do not comment on articles, however this one does not have a speck of truth,” Moser stated.

“The story implied that Morgan RV Resorts and the parent company, Morgan Management LLC, were experiencing financial difficulties. Our company is stronger than ever and continues to acquire assets across the country.

Moser further stated in part, “I am currently hiring for both field operations and home office jobs.”

Comments

If the company is doing well as Moser states, then why did the website go down after the story broke? This is the beginning of the camping season and the website says it is down for maintenance. If the site is really is down for maintenance, is this any way run a business?

Worth Pondering…

Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.

—Peter Drucker

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Ocean Canyon Properties Acquires Alabama RV Resort

Ocean Canyon Properties, a privately owned membership camping system, announces the acquisition of Gemini Funding Company, Inc., the owner of Styx River Resort and RV Park in Robertsdale, Alabama.

good ocp logoOcean Canyon Properties has been participating in the management of Styx River Resort since 2009. The acquisition was completed on December 31, 2012.

Styx River Resort is a members-only resort located near the Gulf of Mexico, between Mobile, Alabama and Pensacola, Florida, on the 41-mile long Styx River. Styx River Resort is open year-round and features contemporary amenities with exciting activity programs for its members.

Amenities include a river-front beach, an outdoor and indoor pool, restaurant, a large clubhouse, and activity center with an adjoining outdoor patio, nature trails, and a children’s playground. The resort also features 30 cabins and cottages available for member rental and 150 RV sites.

From their initial involvement in the management of Styx River, Ocean Canyon focused on the improvement of the resort, including the leveling of RV sites, cabin renovation, road repair, general repairs, and cosmetic enhancement.

According to the news release, the company plans aggressive improvements to the resort now that it has assumed ownership.

Mike Pournoury, president of Ocean Canyon Properties, states, “We’ve been working on this acquisition since 2009 and we are very excited about taking ownership. It is a great resort, and although it has been a part of the Ocean Canyon resort system for some time now, full ownership and control will allow us to bring the development and improvement of Styx to the next level.”

Styx River Resort is Ocean Canyon Properties’ flagship property in Southern Alabama and is a geographical complement to Ocean Canyon’s Mountain Lakes Resort on Lake Guntersville in Northern Alabama, near Huntsville.

Styx-River-ResortIt is one of eight resorts in the Ocean Canyon private membership resort system, which also includes Bear’s Den Resort in Grove, Oklahoma; Tres Rios Resort in Glen Rose, Texas; Millwood Landing Golf and RV Resort in Ashdown, Arkansas; Abita Springs Resort in Abita Springs, Louisiana; North Shore Resort in Greensboro, Georgia; Mountain Lakes Resort in Langston, Alabama; and Texoma Shores Resort in Madill, Oklahoma.

Ocean Canyon Properties is a growing system of eight privately owned, membership resorts that offer The Ocean Canyon Properties senior management has been directly involved in the membership camping resort industry on a national platform for more than 30 years.

Details

Ocean Canyon Properties (OCP)

Ocean Canyon Properties (OCP) is a growing system of privately-owned membership resorts that offer RV campsites, vacation cabins, cottages, and condos along with a variety of private resort amenities.

With eight beautiful resort locations situated throughout the southern United States, OCP’s resorts provide the safe, secure, and enjoyable recreational experience that so many families seek.

The OCP senior management has been directly involved in the membership camping resort industry on a national platform for over 30 years.

As an OCP member you will enjoy the many amenities found at the varied resorts: golf, tennis, volleyball, horseshoes, fishing, and walking trails as well as swimming pools and eating and entertainment facilities.

Regularly planned activities are also scheduled for the whole family.

OCP also provides member access to over 300 other membership resorts around the U.S. and Canada. Whether you want to spend time at your OCP home resort or travel the country staying at reciprocal private membership RV resorts, you’ll enjoy the exclusive privileges of your OCP membership.

Styx River Resort map
Styx River Resort map

Address: 1911 Galleria Oaks Drive, Texarkana, TX 75503

Phone: (888) 567-5941 (toll free)

Website: oceancanyon.com

Worth Pondering…

Membership has its privileges.

—registered trademarks of American Express Company

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Is Membership Camping Cost Effective?

In today’s post we’ll look at relative costs and walk through a cost analysis to determine if purchasing a membership camping system makes sound financial sense based on your current camping pattern.

Cost?

Camping at Lynchburg (Virginia) Preserve, a Thousand Trails membership campground. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Membership in a camping system involves an initial purchase price that ranges from under $3,000 to more than $10,000, plus annual dues or maintenance fee that range from less than $100 to $600 or more.

Cost Analysis

The derived benefits depend upon your travel pattern and projected usage. The more you use the membership, the more your savings increase.

Assuming that your objective in joining a membership campground is to reduce your camping expenses, then do the math.

Figure out how many nights you will need to stay in membership campgrounds, as opposed to non-membership campgrounds, to really save money.

Prices of membership campground systems vary; but let’s say, for example, your membership fee is $8,000 and the current annual dues are $400 per year. Let’s also assume you will use the membership for a minimum of 10 years.

The membership cost ($8,000 divided by 10 years) would amount to $800 per year. The annual dues would add another $400 per year.

Using these figures, it would cost $1200 per year to maintain a campground membership.

Camping at Hershey Preserve, a Thousand Trails membership campsite in Pennsylvania Dutch Country. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Campground fees at private RV parks vary with amenities and location (as they say in real estate, location, location, location).

Some rates are hitting the stratosphere! How about the current rates at these resorts:

Campland on the Bay, San Diego, California: $65-$400 per night + tax

Sunland Escondido RV Resort, Escondido, California: $39-$86 per night + tax

Boyd’s Key West Campground, Florida: $70-$90 per night (water/electric sites); $90-$120 per night (full hookups sites) + tax

In spite of these astronomical rates, a non-membership campground charges on average at least $35 (+ taxes) per night for a camping site.

Dividing this $35 into the $1200 annual cost of a campground membership means you could potentially stay in a non-membership campground for 35 nights each year for what it would cost to belong to a membership campground.

In this case, if you think that during the next 10 years you will spend more than 35 nights per year in a membership campgrounds, it might make good financial sense to join.

Assuming an average nightly campground cost of $35, let’s project the costs beyond the initial 35 nights to determine potential savings:

30 nights (1 month)    @ $35     $1050

60 nights (2 months)   @ $35     $2100

90 nights (3 months)   @ $35     $3150

120 nights (4 months) @ $35     $4200

150 nights (5 months) @ $35     $5250

180 nights (6 months) @ $35     $6300

A Review

Check out several competing membership camping systems before signing on the dotted line.

Visit or, better yet, spend several days in several campgrounds in the membership system.

Listen to the sales presentation. Ask questions. Take notes. Take literature and copies of the contracts home to scrutinize and compare. Sleep on it before making your final decision.

Camping at Chesapeake (Virginia) Preserve, a Thousand Trails Preserve. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Ask current members if they would recommend joining. Do they have any difficulty making reservations? What is the financial condition of the camping system? Are they satisfied with the benefits derived from their membership?

Know what you will be getting into before you buy.

Joining a membership camping system should complement your RVing needs, make good financial sense, and enhance your enjoyment of RVing.

And remember that not all memberships are created equal.

Membership campgrounds have worked well for us, but they are not right for everyone.

The bottom line: Read the contract—every single word—before signing on the dotted line!

Disclaimer: I am a member of Thousand Trails, Western Horizon Resorts, and Passport America camping club but do not represent them or sell memberships.

Please Note: This is Part 3 of a 3-part series on Membership Campgrounds

Part 1: Membership Campground Contract Tough to Cancel

Part 2: Is Membership Camping For You?

Worth Pondering…

The older I get, the more I learn to tolerate human shortcomings—and the less I tolerate bad attitudes.

—Anon

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