Sun Communities Inc. expects above-average returns on its investment in the 10 RV parks it purchased earlier from Morgan RV Resorts as Sun evolves into a year-round operator of these lucrative properties.
Gary A. Shiffman, chairman and CEO of Southfield, Mich.-based Sun, updated the company’s progress on refurbishing the 10 former Morgan properties in the Northeast and Midwest during an investors’ conference callon Thursday (July 25) following release of its second-quarter results.
“Approximately 60% of the capital expenditures planned for the repositioning of the 10 ‘Morgan’ RV properties on the Eastern Seaboard have been completed. We are beginning to experience both positive feedback and results from residents who have begun to return to the communities since the opening of the season in June,” Shiffman stated.
In fact, the response by returning and new visitors has been “extremely positive,” Shiffman told investors, as the company updates the under-performing properties.
From a revenue perspective, the acquisitions make running RV parks a year-round business and removes the seasonality of the “snowbird” business predominately in Texas and Florida, which had boosted revenues during the first and fourth quarters but depressed them during the second and third, Shiffman said.
Besides updating virtually all of the 10 RV parks acquired from Morgan, Sun has installed new management at many of the parks, launched a new website which features a complete online reservation service, deployed a Facebook page for each park and relocated its call center from Florida to Southfield to guarantee that no call goes unanswered, he added.
He projects the return from the 10 parks will boost Sun revenues 7% to 9% over the next several years.
In addition to the Morgan parks, Sun bought two RV communities – one in New York and one in New Jersey – during the second quarter for $28.9 million, increasing the year-to-date total to 12 properties acquired for $140.9 million. One of the parks is located in Cape May Court House, N.J. and comprises 528 sites. The park in New York comprises 299 sites.
“The two recreational vehicle communities acquired during the second quarter fit well in the geographic footprint we have been establishing in the northeastern seaboard. We continue to remain actively engaged in reviewing acquisition opportunities of both manufactured housing and recreational vehicle communities,” said Shiffman.
As seasonal campers return to the recreational vehicle park in Maine’s York Beach, the foreclosure sale of Flagg’s RV Resort has been rescheduled for 9 a.m. on June 20.
Seacoastonline.com reported that uncertainty over the park’s future, and tumultuous changes for campers over the past two years, has not stopped those who have called Flagg’s their summer home — some for decades — from coming back.
Pat Lee, who first started staying at Flagg’s as a child, returned June 3 from Florida. Lee said she had heard of the potential sale of the park, but said, “We don’t know anything.”
The water and electric is on and there is a manager on site, Lee said.
No one at the on-site management office could be reached for comment, nor could Flagg’s owner Bob Moser of Morgan Recreation Vacations in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Campers Melvin and Pam Riggs of Oklahoma said they’d also heard the camper park was going to be sold when they learned of the original scheduled mortgagee’s sale March 22. The couple expect to return to their RV at Flagg’s in mid-June, Melvin Riggs said.
Lee, Riggs and other returning RV campers have paid Flagg’s an estimated $5,000 for the season.
Prior to learning of the March sale, Riggs said, Flagg’s representatives repeatedly called him to get him to pay the remainder of the $5,000 the couple owed on their lease prior to the April 1 deadline.
A new owner has to honor any leases within the RV park, according to Linda Conti, assistant attorney general in Maine. Flagg’s RV Resort LLC stopped the March 22 sale, at least temporarily. The day before it was to take place, Flagg’s obtained a 60-day emergency restraining order in York County Superior Court, according to court records.
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As seasonal campers return to the recreational vehicle park at Maine’s York Beach, the foreclosure sale of Flagg’s RV Resort is still planned. Seacoastonline.com reported that the proceedings are now scheduled for 9 a.m. on June 20, according to an attorney for the mortgage company. Flaggs is owned by Morgan RV Resorts.
“The foreclosure sale is going forward,” said Alan Mills, of Indianapolis, Ind., an attorney representing the mortgage holder. Mills said he believed the sale would be held on-site. The sale originally was scheduled to take place March 22.
Seacoastonline.com reported that 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.
“The foreclosure sale is going forward,” said Alan Mills, of Indianapolis, Ind., an attorney representing mortgage holder MLCFC 2007-9 ACR Master SPE, a Delaware limited liability company.
To read the entire article on Seacoastonline.com click here.
A second campground in Saratoga County operated by Saratoga Springs-based Morgan RV Resorts has been reassigned new management by the state Supreme Court as foreclosure proceedings get under way.
The Saratogian reported that 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. It is one of seven Morgan RV Resorts-managed campgrounds put up as collateral toward a $36 million loan that has been defaulted on, 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 (May 7) afternoon, trying to relax. 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 from Cohoes 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. Money is taken out of the couple’s checking account each month to pay for the rest of the membership, he said.
According to The Saratogian, 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 stood at the front of the campground Tuesday.
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A new company has been assigned to manage Cold Brook Campsites, a recreational vehicle campground in Ganesvoort, N.Y., managed by Saratoga Springs-based Morgan RV Resorts, while foreclosure proceedings on the campsite 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, The Saratogian reported.
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 Tuesday (April 30) it has been assigned by a Saratoga Springs attorney to take over management services of the 277-unit campground.
The Saratogian reported that the president of Janus, Michael Nanosky, stated in the press release the campground would be open as planned Tuesday.
“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.
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, N.Y., are worried they won’t have a home this summer, the Saratoga Springs Saratogian reported.
Moser, a resident of Greenfield Center, is the owner and CEO of Morgan RV Resorts, which is a division of Morgan Management LLC. According to its website, the company manages $2 billion in real estate assets and “is responsible for 16,000 apartments, 16,000 recreational spots, 8,000 mobile home sites and a variety of industrial parks and resorts.”
The company maintains RV parks, campgrounds and manufactured home sites in Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin and other states. Morgan RV Resorts is considered one of the largest privately owned RV park corporations in the country.
The Coldbrook Campsites in Gansevoort is normally bustling with activity at this point in the season, a week before opening day, summer resident Helga Manning of Schenectady said.
But on Wednesday afternoon (April 24), the campground was deserted, with no workers in sight. 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.
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, Mass.
“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.”
But 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 in Rochester.
White County, Ind., businesses and residents are hoping that attempts to bolster the area’s economic lifeblood — the tourism industry — won’t stall in the wake of a large outstanding bill.
As reported by the Journal & Courier, Lafayette, officials discovered recently that Monticello’s most popular recreational attraction owes the county hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes.
Indiana Beach Amusement Resort, owned by Morgan RV Resorts, owes White County an estimated $347,000 in combined property and innkeeper’s taxes, according to the county’s tourism authority and treasurer.
Indiana Beach has neglected to pay an estimated $180,000 in innkeeper’s taxes, which partly go toward promoting the area’s tourism industry, and about $167,000 in 2011 property taxes.
And the financial health of Morgan RV Resorts has been called into question.
Morgan RV Resorts recently agreed to sell 11 of its RV communities to Sun Communities Operating Limited Partnership LLC of Michigan for $135 million. Since the deal hasn’t been finalized, it is unclear whether Morgan’s assets in Monticello are part of the agreement. The company did not return numerous calls and messages from the Journal & Courier.
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Sun Communities Operating Limited Partnership (SCOLP), the primary operating subsidiary of Sun Communities Inc. and newly formed wholly owned subsidiaries of SCOLP, entered into an agreement on Dec. 9, to purchase 11 Morgan RV resorts for $135 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Properties listed in the SEC document include: Ideal Private Resorts LLC, Morgan Fiesta Key LLC, Gwynns Island RV Resort LLC, Indian Creek RV Resort LLC, Lake Laurie RV Resort LLC, Newpoint RV Resort LLC, Peters Pond RV Resort Inc., Seaport LLC, Virginia Tent LLC, Wagon Wheel Maine LLC, Westward Ho RV Resort LLC and Wild Acres LLC.
The aggregate purchase price under the agreements is $135 million, subject to certain adjustments, which will be paid by cash to pay off all existing secured debt and the balance will be paid in a combination of cash and up to $10 million of newly created Series A-3 Preferred OP Units of SCOLP, as determined by the contributors prior to closing.
The York, Maine, Board of Appeals on Oct. 26, denied Flagg’s RV and Cottage Resort LLC a reconsideration of a September decision upholding a town order for the company to remove six new units it moved into the York Beach camper park this past spring.
Seacoastonline.com reported that the town calls the units dwellings, which are not allowed in the park, while Flagg’s claims they are “park models,” recognized by industry, state and federal standards as recreational vehicles. RVs are allowed at Flagg’s as a legal, nonconforming use.
In their Sept. 14 decision, Appeals Board members said they had to make a decision based on town ordinances. Code Enforcement Officer Ben McDougal claimed the new units are not RVs by town standards because they are portable only as escorted “wide loads,” unlike street legal RVs; they do not have wheels underneath when parked; and have air conditioning condensers and propane gas tanks freestanding on concrete pads versus being attached as normally found on RVs.
Robert Moser, president of Morgan RV Resorts LLC, which owns Flaggs, took issue with the basis of the Appeals Board September decision, called findings of fact. Moser claimed through his attorney, improper testimony was given at the Sept. 14 hearing about the wheels being removed from the units. Moser asked the board to reconsider both the wording of the findings of fact and its September decision. The board denied both requests Wednesday, according to McDougal. Therefore, his June 28 notice of violation and order to remove the six new dwelling units, stands.
The denial opens the door to a potential appeals by Flagg’s to the York County Superior Court. Neither Moser, nor his attorney David Ordway, of Saco, could be reached for comment Thursday (Oct. 27).
Seacoastonline.com reported that McDougal said York’s case is being watched as precedent setting. He has fielded numerous phone calls from officials in other towns who want to know how York is handling the issue, McDougal said. Park models have become the trend in RV campgrounds nationwide, according to Bill Garpow, executive director of Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA).
“Recreational vehicle parks have determined they can increase their cash flow and bottom line as a RV park if they do more rental use than just allowing people to bring in their own units,” Garpow said in July.
Morgan RV Resorts LLC, of Saratago Springs, N.Y., owns numerous RV parks from Maine to Florida. It has had no other problems with park models in other towns, according to Moser.
This past spring, Flagg’s management told 10 RV owners in the park to remove their RVs to make way for six new park models. One seasonal resident said he paid an estimated $5,000 a year to park his RV there, compared to the park models, which rent for an estimated $1,400 a week. This past summer, Flagg’s asked the remaining seasonal campers to pay upwards of $13,000 in membership fees to reserve summer spots in future years.
When Morgan tried a similar move at its Peters Pond development in Massachusetts, asking residents of the Cape Cod housing community to pay a $16,000 membership fee, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley sued the company for allegedly intimidating residents into paying what she called “exorbitant” fees, according to an Aug. 23 released statement from her office. After the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office sued, Morgan stopped pursuing the request for a membership fee at Flagg’s.
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has obtained a preliminary injunction prohibiting the owners of a manufactured housing community from continuing allegedly intimidating sales tactics.
According to Legalnewsline.com, Morgan RV Resorts LLC and its sales team allegedly used intimidating tactics to charge homeowners excessive fees for a questionable membership club in order to stay in their homes at the Peters Pond housing community. Suffolk Superior Court Judge Paul E. Troy found that the state’s allegations that the defendants violated the Consumer Protection Act held merit and granted the preliminary injunction.
Last month, Coakley filed an enforcement action against Morgan and its sales team for allegedly violating the Massachusetts Manufactured Housing Act and the Consumer Protection Act by using intimidating sales tactics to force manufactured homeowners at Peters Pond in Sandwich to pay thousands of dollars in additional fees to remain in the community and avoid losing their homes.
Coakley’s complaint alleges that Morgan sales people threatened homeowners that if they did not join a new membership program and pay up to $16,000 in membership fees, their manufactured homes would be removed from their sites. Nearly 100 homeowners allegedly paid to join the club out of fear that they would lose their homes.
The preliminary injunction prohibits Morgan and its sales team from collecting or soliciting membership fees from homeowners for the alleged membership club and from destroying any information or documents. The order also requires Morgan to place all collected membership fees in an escrow account and provide Coakley’s office with a record of fees collected and any inquiries concerning Peters Pond membership programs on a monthly basis.
Coakley’s lawsuit seeks the recovery of monies that Morgan allegedly collected improperly for the club membership as well as penalties for violations of the Consumer Protection Act and the Manufactured Housing Act. The lawsuit also requires that Morgan obtain proper licensure and cease all deceptive and unfair conduct.