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.
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley is suing the owners of Saratoga Springs, N.Y.-based Morgan RV Resorts, alleging the company is intimidating members to collect exorbitant fees in a Cape Cod manufactured housing community it owns.
According to a press release from Coakley, the company’s sales team “aggressively solicited homeowners at Peters Pond to pay up to $16,000 as a membership fee to remain in the community.” The fee was on top of the $6,000 annual fee owners paid to lease their properties at the Sandwich, Mass., housing community.
Coakley’s lawsuit seeks to end the collection and also return fees already paid by residents. She alleges the practices are a violation of the Consumer Protection Act and Manufactured Housing Act.
According to the lawsuit, nearly 100 homeowners have paid to join the club out of fear that they would lose their home.
In a separate report by the Journal and Courier, Lafayette, Ind., an amusement ride inspector from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security is at Indiana Beach, also owned by Morgan RV Resorts, partly in response to a protest last weekend led by a group of former employees,
The state inspector is checking the safety and documentation of the approximately 30 rides at this lakefront tourist attraction.
Further protests have been canceled following a pledge by officials with Morgan RV Resorts, which has owned Indiana Beach since 2008, to meet with representatives of the one-time workers. They had demonstrated near the park to bring attention to their concerns about ride safety and maintenance, employee treatment and guest relations.
Morgans RV owns and operates several RV parks and campgrounds in the Saratoga region, including: Coldbrook Campsite Resort on Gurn Springs Road in Gansevoort, NASCAR RV Resorts at Adirondack Gateway on Fortsville Road in Gansevoort, Lake George Suites on Lake Shore Drive in Lake George and Lake George Campsites on Route 9 in Queensbury. The company also has several properties in vacation spots in New Jersey, Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin, Maine and Indiana.
The Peters Pond manufactured housing community is the seasonal home for dozens of retirees and elderly residents.
Braig, who spent the last eight years serving as president of Daytona International Speedway (DIS), recently joined Morgan RV Resorts as sales and marketing manager for the Florida Region, Auto Racing News reported.
Morgan RV Resorts is a chain of privately owned RV park corporation with over 40 RV resorts including NASCAR designated resorts.
While Braig’s thoughts are sure to be in Daytona on Feb. 20, his new position will deliver no less fun and exhilaration.
“It will be a different version of all that craziness. Morgan RV Resorts are open every day, seven days a week, 24 hours a day. There is plenty of excitement at those RV resorts to keep my attention. It’s like working with 50 race tracks around the country,” said Braig.
Before reaching the pinnacle of success in the motorsports management field, Braig started his career on the lowest rung one can imagine in the sports world: making cotton candy, driving the team bus and washing uniforms for the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Class A Team in Vero Beach. But Braig quickly advanced serving first as head of promotions for the Golden State Warriors and then, as Anheuser-Busch’s Sports Marketing Department head. After 16 years with Anheuser-Busch, Braig made the jump to NASCAR, managing Phoenix International Raceway for three years before taking helm of the most coveted motorsports facility management job in NASCAR.
At first glance, it might seem peculiar that the RV business would appeal to Braig. His business contacts are deep and his experience vast and so, he could have selected from a number of new, challenging ventures. However, as a lifelong camper and lover of the outdoors, when Braig decided that retirement was not for him, Morgan RV Resorts immediately came to mind.
Recalling memories of family camping trips with his parents and sisters in a converted school bus borrowed from his Uncle Brownie, Braig fondly remembered driving from Ohio to California thinking that they were “the bomb” as they rolled in to Yellowstone and Black Hills. “It was a blast at each destination with campfires and hikes and meeting new people. That stuck with me,” said Braig.
Braig had interacted with Bob Moser, president of Morgan RV Resorts, on the licensing deal that formed NASCAR RV Resorts. Admiring Moser’s energy and creative business instincts, Braig put on a courtship of sorts to Moser because in his words, “the squeaky wheel gets the oil.” Moser, after severally phone calls and even flowers, decided to give Braig a chance.
Characterizing it as “a wild ride already,” Braig is confident that the skill he most regularly employed while working as President of DIS that will bring the most value to his new role is guest services.
“There is no difference between race guests rolling in to The Daytona 500 or a Morgan RV Resort. We ask a fair price to experience our resorts and we have to deliver. From the first person our guests meet at check-in to the pool attendant to the activities director, we all have to be in sync,” explained Braig.
His goal, he continued, “is to make sure that our people always have the right answer for our guests, and if they don’t, they will be expected to get the right answer.”
After leaving Daytona, Braig set sail for the Florida Keys where he now lives in Key Largo with his rescue dog Schrader (who is named after race car driver Kenny Schrader).
About NASCAR RV Resorts
Featuring live satellite coverage of NASCAR race events on oversized jumbo screens, a tailgating atmosphere and family-friendly activities, NASCAR RV Resorts delivers an at-the-track experience for race fans of all ages. Guests will enjoy unique pre and post-race coverage, race day BBQ’s, special events such as driver appearances, and contests to win NASCAR officially licensed prizes and merchandise.
Recreational vehicle and motorcoach sales are on an upswing in Florida’s Lee County.
The RV industry struggled through the downturn, but Tim Lowry, marketing manager for North Trail RV Center in Fort Myers, said sales are on the rise, the Fort Myers News-Press reported.
The Lee County RV dealer was hard hit in 2008, but the company started to see business pick up in the third quarter of 2009, even though about half of Florida’s RV dealers closed that year, Lowry said.
“The herd was thinned,” he said. “What happened is there was a lot of growth in the industry and the industry has always been give or take.”
Several RV manufacturers were producing very similar products and competing with each other and some dealers managed their businesses poorly, relying on sales to keep their doors open, he said.
But the big factors that drove the decline were credit availability and a drop in consumer confidence, said Kevin Broom, spokesman for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).
Consumer confidence, while it’s still down, it isn’t dropping any further,” Broom said.
Through September, RV manufacturers have shipped 194,000 units, an increase of 59% from the same period in 2009, according to an RV association report released this month.
The same report shows shipments for the month of September totaled 16,700 units, a decline of 4% from the same month a year ago.
North Trail RV Center has grossed $73 million year-to-date compared to $42 million for the same period a year ago, said Alan Erp, company vice president.
Erp said mid-to-high-end recreational vehicles and motorcoaches — starting at about $75,000 and peaking at about $2 million — are the vehicles that increased sales.
He attributes North Trail’s growth to sticking with or adding product lines from leading manufacturers that have survived the downturn, such as Newmar Motorhomes and Tiffin Motorhomes.
Meanwhile, Robert Kohn, an independent consultant, is working with Signature Naples Motor Coach Resort on the high-end resort’s first sales campaign, which launched Nov. 1.
“We’ve taken in 11 reservations in the first 23 days,” he said.
The resort, located at 13300 Tamiami Trail E., has 184 spaces and sits on about 23 acres of beachfront property offering boating access, beach, lake and interior sites ranging from $89,000 to $250,000.
In 2009, Sunland RV Resorts based in La Jolla, Calif., and Morgan RV Resorts based in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., bought the property at the courthouse steps and paid the full purchase price of the property, which allows them to set a fair price that is still a good deal, Kohn said.
“We have an incredibly stable platform for people buying here because there is no bank debt, which means there is no gun to the head of the developer,” he said.
Sales are up for the high-end motorcoach resorts, Kohn said, because of careful financial investment. Also, there is a shortage in RV resort property as many resorts were purchased by developers in 2004 and 2005 to build homes.
North Trail RV Center also adapted to meet customer needs through the downturn as sales slowed.
North Trail converted its dealership at the Billy Creek Commerce Center to a tire and collision center offering body shop services to fix wrecked units, a 60-foot paint booth and tire balancing for trucks and motor coaches.
It also expanded its operations and opened a second dealership in Fort Lauderdale in April.
“It was a necessity if we were going to be the kind of dealership we wanted to be and that people expected us to be,” Lowry said.