‘Deceptive’ timeshare company settles State Attorney General lawsuit | VailDaily.com

‘Deceptive’ timeshare company settles State Attorney General lawsuit

DENVER — A timeshare sales company was fired for underperforming and sued by the Colorado attorney general for deceptive sales practices.

Edward "Todd" Herrick's Highlands Resorts at Christie Lodge agreed to pay $325,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman.

Herrick declined to comment, saying everything was a matter of public record.

The state's suit named Herrick, salesperson Greg Penrod, Highlands Resorts at Christie Lodge, LLC and Sedona Pines, LLC, saying they "intentionally deceived, misled and financially injured consumers."

The Colorado Attorney General's Office is proceeding against other defendants, said Annie Skinner, the attorney general's communications director.

Not part of Christie Lodge

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Highlands Resorts at Christie Lodge is an independent company contracted by the local hotel in 2013 to sell timeshare weeks for Christie Lodge. They were not part of the Christie Lodge, said Lisa Siegert-Free, Christie Lodge managing director.

Herrick made Christie Lodge part of the company's name Highlands Resorts at Christie Lodge, when they landed the contract. Siegert-Free said they should not have allowed them to use the Christie Lodge name in their company's title.

Christie Lodge, established in 1982, has 280 units timeshared in one-week intervals, totaling less than 14,500 available weeks, making it one of the nation's largest independent timeshare properties.

Herrick's company sold almost 1,300 intervals in two years. Highlands Resorts sold those timeshares through operations mostly in Denver and Sedona, Arizona, but almost none in Avon at the Christie Lodge.

"We were unaware of the tactics the company apparently used to generate leads that led to the infractions," Siegert-Free said.

No more timeshares

Highlands Resorts had stopped selling Christie Lodge timeshares as of November 2015.

Christie Lodge's board of directors terminated the contract with Highlands Resorts in March 2016, citing lack of performance, Siegert-Free said.

The state attorney general filed its lawsuit against Highlands Resorts earlier this month in Denver County Court.

The Christie Lodge management team learned about the lawsuit and stipulation earlier this month.

"Obviously it was disappointing for us," Siegert-Free said.

Herrick lives in Telluride and owns Highlands Resorts. He also owns a heli-skiing company, a whitewater rafting and fly fishing outfitter in Gunnison and is listed as a mentor to startups on the Telluride Venture Accelerator.

Along with the money, the attorney general's lawsuit asked that Herrick and the other defendants not be allowed to advertise timeshares without displaying fees and conditions.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

Among the accusations against Highlands Resorts

In its lawsuit, Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman accused Highlands Resorts of:

• Highlands Resorts lured more than 2,500 potential clients to sales pitches in Denver and Sedona, Arizona.

• Highlands Resorts told potential buyers they could have free travel packages by attending sales seminars.

• Highlands Resorts sales pitches lasted 90 minutes, where would-be buyers learned they would have to pay deposits up to $200 for those travel certificates.

• Highlands Resorts determined the destinations and times would-be buyers could travel.

• Highlands Resorts claimed those travel packages were worth $1,900, but cost the company only $40 to buy.

• Highlands Resorts told customers that the price of a timeshare package would increase to $25,000 unless would-be buyers bought it that day.

• Highlands Resorts’s “discount” never expires, and buyers paid an average of $7,000.

• Highlands Resorts was not a registered telemarketer in Colorado while it was marketing Christie Lodge packages.

• Highlands Resorts and its vendors called people on Colorado’s no-call list, the complaint says.