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N.Y. AG obtains court order against luxury hotel

By Bryan Cohen | Jul 29, 2014

NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a court order on Friday against a luxury hotel that allegedly engaged in fraudulent sales tactics related to timeshare interests.

The Manhattan Club and its principals, Ian Bruce Eichner, Leslie Eichner and Stuart Eichner, allegedly used bait and switch tactics during its timeshare sales presentations. The defendants allegedly used a relentless sales pitch with misleading promises, including assertions that the club does not rent rooms to the general public, that few restrictions apply to reservations by owners and that reservations are easy to make.

After buyers signed a purchase agreement, the Manhattan Club allegedly revealed the difference between what the buyers were promised in the presentation and what they actually bought. The buyers allegedly found that room availability to owners was limited by the renting of rooms to the general public. Buyers who paid tens of thousands of dollars to become owners were allegedly unable to make reservations due to a claimed lack of available rooms by the hotel's operators.

The owners' annual common charges also allegedly increased approximately 200 percent in the last 10 years.

"When sellers use high-pressure tactics to sell timeshares, consumers should be wary that they may not be getting what they were promised," Schneiderman said. "We allege that the Manhattan Club, near New York City's iconic Carnegie Hall, is a particularly stark example of such a bait-and-switch timeshare scheme. We will use all the tools at our disposal to protect customers from unscrupulous scammers and predatory businesses and hold New York developers to the promises they make, whether orally, in their sales pitches or in their formal offering plans."

The court order requires that the Eichners testify in court about the club's practices and produce documents to Schneiderman's Real Estate Finance Bureau. The order also bars the corporations through which the club and the developers act from moving funds related to the hotel during the inquiry. Additionally, the Manhattan Club is barred from foreclosing on timeshare purchasers.

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