The Aruban Resort sold for 35 million

ORANJESTAD — The American investment fund Icahn Partners purchased The Aruban Resort for 20 million dollars (35 million florins) during an auction. This so-called hedge fund of billionaire Carl Icahn was the only bidder during the auction.


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According to John Cole, member of the board of the timeshare hotel, Icahn Partners – who already had a share in the timeshare hotel as co-owner – had requested the auction. "They indicated they wanted to develop the hotel further and build a new casino", Cole told the Amigoe this morning after the auction.

Summary proceedings
Before the auction could take place, a problem between the timeshare owners and the new buyers had had to be solved first. There were still approx. 15,000 unsold timeshare weeks in the hotel that had to be brought into discussion. The timeshare holders and their board, united in a cooperative association, had instituted summary proceedings against the Wells Fargo Bank. This bank, which was contracted by Icahn Partners, became mortgagee of The Aruban Resort after KL Resort Development had gone bankrupt. This company had managed the hotel on behalf of the shareholders. Lawyers Arie Swaen and Winfried Kloes, curators in the bankruptcy of KL Resort Development had been summoned as well. The cooperative association had demanded – with a penalty of twenty million florins per day – that the unsold timeshare weeks would not be included in the auction. They namely wanted to claim these for themselves and in that, also secure their own purchased weeks. According to Cole, it mainly concerned the latter. "This was a matter of form. We wanted to be sure of our position as timeshare holders and had therefore instituted these summary proceedings." Cole himself says he is happy with the auction and the buyer.

Pulling one’s punches
Parties had pulled their punches during the court case. According to lawyer Milly Schwengle, who acted on behalf of the cooperative association, Wells Fargo could not claim the weeks. KL Resort Development – in their capacity of timeshare owner – would be expelled from the association. KL, the largest shareholder in the resort, had supposedly not paid any maintenance costs for a long time. However, according to the lawyer of Wells Fargo, Jeannot de Cuba and curator Kloes, there could be no question of expulsion if KL Development had already been bankrupt before. According to them, there is not one single piece of evidence that KL Resort Development was a member of the association at all. They had also stated that regarding a bankruptcy, the statutes do not mention anything about the open weeks automatically falling to the cooperative association. Protection of the already sold weeks is taken care of through the so-called ‘non-disturbance’-clause of the timeshares.

The judge rejected the demand. Granting would namely lead to depreciation of the mortgage right and furthermore, the mortgage deed is older than the statutes of the cooperative association. However, prior to the trial, the judge indicated that distinct legislation in the in his opinion ‘vague’ timeshare sector, would be in order.