Two More Whistleblowers – Bluegreen Whistleblower Confirms Bluegreen Owner Reports

March 24, 2023 Update: Angela reported that after her article was published, her account was reinstated.

Former Bluegreen Vacations manager, Denise Mecke, filed a lawsuit against Bluegreen Vacations and nine of their agents, managers and executives. She alleges that those named as defendants were complicit in employing deceptive practices, including selling points to rent for profit or offset costs, a common complaint reported by timeshare owners and members industry-wide. A rental strategy is unfeasible for the average timeshare owner, so those who counted on renting can find themselves with little choice but to default.

In October of last year, we published a report by Angela concerning her Bluegreen account suspension. Angela was a Bluegreen Vacations owner since 2016 until her account was permanently suspended because of reservations not in her name. She is one of many who have had their Bluegreen accounts suspended, all reporting that their sales agents promoted renting points. One of the individuals Angela wrote to about her suspension is named as a defendant in Ms Mecke’s lawsuit. As Angela explains:

I rented points to friends and family because they were going to expire. I was not able to travel much in 2021 because my husband had a stroke. His short-term memory is impaired and he falls frequently. I booked short stays for friends. In no way should my reservations be considered commercial activity. There was only one three-day rental booked for someone I did not know. A friend helped me set up an ad and listed it on her Facebook page. I emailed a letter on August 17, 2022, to Bluegreen representatives Kathy Foster, Dusty Tonkin, and Chief and Legal Compliance Officer Jorge De La Osa. I was not engaged in commercial activity.

Former Bluegreen Manager Denise Mecke’s Lawsuit Complaint

Ms Mecke worked for Bluegreen Vacations from 2002 until she was terminated on August 4, 2022. A high-performing sales agent,  she worked her way up from receptionist to manager. There was a brief period in 2010 when Ms Mecke resigned because she could not tolerate the deceptive practices she had witnessed. According to Ms Mecke, “These employees were advising timeshare owners on renting points online, which violated Bluegreen policies.”

Ms Mecke reported the violations through the proper channels. No changes were made. Following her 2010 medical leave, she was rehired in April 2011. In 2015 she was promoted to Inhouse Sales Manager.

In October of 2020, Ms Mecke noticed a representative “pitching rental income.” She reported the violation to Branson, MO defendant Steve Coen, Inhouse Sales Director. No action was taken. Ms Mecke escalated her concerns by reporting them to Coen’s supervisor, defendant Howard Kitchen.

Coen was one of five members of a team called the “SWAT” team due to their high volume sales, described amongst the employees as the “hostile takeover” of the sales force. Kitchen ultimately moved all the SWAT team members but Coen to another location, promoting one to a supervisory position.

After returning from medical leave in February of 2021, on Ms Mecke’s first day back, Coen requested a private meeting. During the meeting, he asked if she was “on the bus” which she took to mean, would she go along with the tactics used to sell timeshare points? She confirmed her loyalty. Coen demoted her to sales representative.

Coen was in daily contact with Dusty Tonkin, VP of Sales at Bluegreen corporate (who Angela wrote to). Other named defendants include Branson employees Russell Cox, Heather Pilkinton (Nixa), Kathy Jo Conque, Lynn Brown (Hollister) and Bluegreen corporate employees Susan Saturday, Executive VP, Chief Administrative Officer, and Yolanda Armalin.

According to Mecke:

Repeated violations included referring timeshare owners to an independent rental company owned by a friend of the group to rent their timeshare, or promising potential timeshare owners guaranteed buy-backs, and return on investment and also guaranteeing potential owners lower financing rates through referrals to external third-party finance companies.

Following Ms Mecke’s reports of ethics violations, on March 21, 2021, the five SWAT team members were fired.

Ms Mecke had provided recordings of deception. Bluegreen authorizes the use of recording to monitor the actions of sales agents. As instructed, Ms Mecke sent the recordings to Howard Kitchen for review. On August 4, 2022, she was fired for “breach of confidentiality by covertly recording reps” even though she had been instructed by defendant Conque to do so. She had even been reimbursed for the Fed X shipping costs. On the day the SWAT team was fired, Ms Mecke received  the following message from an unknown person (unedited):

“What a real cunt you are. You will get yours someday. You fat bitch. Every time you feel back pain just remember that’s called KARMA. There’s a reason your single u cunt. This isn’t over.” 

Coen was later rehired.

To give you an idea of what those reporting deceptive practices face, and the character of some members of the timeshare sales community, below is a revolting conversation allegedly held with Wyndham whistleblower, Julia Havey and Senior Manager Joe Minor and four other male sales agents. In a February 9, 2023 court filing, Wyndham denied all wrongdoing. They are asking the court to order Ms Havey to pay Wyndham’s legal fees. It’s hard to imagine that anyone would fabricate Ms Havey’s report. Her experience is similar to timeshare members who report oral representations.

Ms Havey follows Wyndham Whistleblower, Tiffany Birch, and former Wyndham sales agent Trish Williams, who was awarded $20 million by a jury in 2016. The following conversation Ms Havey said took place as part of her interview for a Presenter position.

Case 3:22-cv-01047, filed 12-21-2022:

  1. During this interview, Joe Minor, Senior Manager for Defendant, subjected Ms Havey to a one-hour closed-door mock presentation. 
  2. During Ms Havey’s mock presentation, Jason, Shawn, Jake, and Chris, acted as prospective clients and asserted that they were on vacation to “fuck Shawn’s wife.” 
  3. Ms Havey openly expressed her humiliation during this mock presentation. 
  4. Following this interview, Defendant hired Ms Havey to be a full-time presenter at the downtown Nashville office. 
  5. Throughout her employment, Ms Havey was subjected to extreme and pervasive sexual harassment. 
  6. Managerial employees, on multiple occasions, made comments to Ms Havey about her breasts and made inquiries about her private sex life. 
  7. On several occasions, Andre Carey, an employee of Defendant, asked Ms Havey “where [she] got them” and “how much did [she] pay” in reference to Ms. Havey’s buttocks. 
  8. On one occasion, Josh Frakes, a sales manager for Defendant, addressed Ms Havey in front of a room full of Defendant’s employees saying “Damn Jules, you’d better not fall down, or we’d have to milk you before we can stand you up!” 
  9. Shortly after Mr Frakes’ comment, Jennifer Null, a manager for Defendant, gave Ms Havey a hug and then commented, “They are so much firmer than I expected them to be!” in reference to Ms Havey’s breasts. 
  10. After this instance, several more of Defendant’s employees made comments about Ms Havey’s body. 
  11. Ms Havey then filed a formal complaint with Human Resources. 
  12. Defendant did nothing to investigate Ms Havey’s complaint. 
  13. The harassment continued, and in February 2021 Ms Havey again made a complaint to Human Resources regarding sexual and verbal harassment. 
  14. On May 26, 2021, two Human Resources employees approached Ms Havey about a statement Ms Havey made in support of another employee of Defendant who had been sexually assaulted by an upper-level male employee of Defendant. 
  15. During this conversation, Defendant interrogated Ms Havey for upwards of four hours. 
  16. At the conclusion of this conversation, Ms Havey commented that she felt like the only option was for her to resign if the harassing behaviour was going to persist. 
  17. Defendant immediately responded, “we accept your resignation.” 
  18. Following this conversation, Ms Havey sent Defendant a letter stating she needed more time and that she did not resign.
  19. Ms Havey clarified that she had offered solutions to prevent being harassed by her coworkers going forward. 
  20. Ms Havey further clarified that she communicated that she felt the only way to prevent future harassment would be to quit.              

Renting Complaints from Owners and Members Industry-wide

As we reported last October, Bluegreen is the 9th developer with owners reporting how they were sold points to rent, following Westgate Resorts, Vacation VillageClub Exploria, Branson’s Nantucket, Tahiti Village (Soleil Management), Diamond Resorts, and Wyndham (the 10th resort). Two additional resorts resolved disputes with owners complaining about being sold points to rent.

A two-faced whistleblower sued Diamond Resorts, claiming that Diamond insisted he employ deceptive practices that included renting. As a result, he said he suffered severe emotional and physical distress. However, one year later, on September 23, 2022, Wyndham filed a lawsuit against the same agent caught renting to Wyndham members as a side business.

Related article: Tiffany Birch, Wyndham Whistleblower

Wyndham member Les in New York Confirms Tiffany Birch Report

Other Articles about Renting

A group of Westgate owners filed a Public Records Request with the Florida Attorney General. Nearly half complained about being encouraged to rent to pay for the timeshare. The owners reviewed 584 complaints filed over a three-year period.

Club Exploria (2) March 11, 2022

Vacation Village (2) March 18, 2022

Branson’s Nantucket (3) May 13, 2022

Military affected:

Tahiti Village Soleil Management, Active Duty Navy, 14 years served

Diamond Resorts, a Decorated Army Veteran

Westgate, Active Duty Air National Guard, 8 ½ years served

Westgate, a Veteran, 100% Disabled, works at the Pentagon, 24 years served

Whistleblowing is very much associated with making public wrongdoing or unethical policies by governments, it is down to the conscience of the person making it known, Julianne Assange and his “Wikileaks” exposures are probably the most well-known. It is a practice for which we the public should be supporting, whether it be in political life or consumer affairs.

The timeshare industry is well known for misleading consumers, and sales agents lying about what they are selling, all with the connivance of their employers, who hide been hide the clause “we are not responsible for what our sales agents say”. In our last article “When Comedy gets the Point Across“, we highlighted the HBO episode of John Oliver and his take on the timeshare industry. For those who have no idea about the “bad practices” used to sell a product which should bring joy to any family, it is an eye opener to be sure. If you know nothing of timeshare, you would run a mile from the suggestion of purchasing a timeshare after seeing it.

If the industry had any sense, it would curb these practices, then there may not be a need for decent people to put their lives and careers in jeopardy to make it known that what they are being made to do is wrong. AIT applauds these people, and we thank them for allowing us to publish their stories. For the timeshare industry, the ball is squarely in your court, it is time to change.

That is all for this week, on Monday we shall be publishing the news on the amendments to the Spanish Timeshare Laws, from what we have seen so far, it is yet another attempt by the industry to influence the lawmakers in their favour. All will be explained. Baby Dog has taken his posing to the next level, rather than sit on his chair and watch the world go by, he decided he wanted to be in full view. Certainly brought a smile to those walking past. Have a great weekend.




  1. Cheryl Farmer

    These disgusting sales need to be stopped! All they do is tell you a bunch of lies and make the sales pitch sound so good! Sure it’s nice to be able to go on vacation put with the taxes on their properties keep going up and when your on fixed incomes it never pays you to go! I just hope and pray that people wake up and see the wrong doings with these Time Shares!

  2. John

    Timeshare consumers owe John Oliver a huge debt of gratitude. In 25 minutes, he covered ALL the bases on why it is never a good idea for the uninitiated to get hooked into a timeshare promotion/presentation. He skipped rescission. He skipped resale. He just poured in on as to why timeshare generally sucks. I would venture that there will be some not-busy booths in Myrtle Beach, and some lonely OPCs in Atlantic City.

    He covered all the bases with accuracy and humor. Hats off to Mr. Oliver.

  3. Les Jamieson

    We were sold a Wyndham timeshare in 2018 in Myrtle Beach, then “upsold” 2 times after that. In each of the 3 experiences we were lied to. With the most recent experience, the only reason we met with sales staff was to correct a problem with our Member ID. We were told there would be no sales presentation. However, the sales rep didn’t get our problem resolved, but seamlessly moved into a sales presentation and basically blind-sided us. She said the maintenance fees for our existing program would skyrocket, so we should change to another resort program. This required buying more points. We explained we had trouble using the points we already had. It didn’t matter. The bottom line is that these sales reps are highly trained to get around any objections people have, whatever it takes. They come across as nice, caring people when the reality is that they are sharks after your money regardless of whether you can afford it or not. It’s time for congressional regulations to protect the thousands of people who have been suckered into these unfair, unconscionable contracts.

  4. Jamie Slone

    Great article on the atrocities of timeshare sales and they manipulate, beat down and make you feel like a horrible person if you don’t believe all their lies and intimidating tactics! It took a lot of moxie for for Miss Havey to stand up to their bullying practices. Their ‘like-a-dog-with-a-bone’ mentality is disgusting and definitely needs dealt with!!

  5. Joan

    I am constantly reading posts by consumers on various Bluegreen and Capital Facebook groups. Most people want out. Sadly, timeshare companies are so corrupt that they lie to people to get their money, provide no way out other than to pay off the thing they do not want and give it back to them once they pay it off. Actually, they try to squeeze a few more thousand or a few more hundred dollars (depending on the timeshare) in order to let the scammed consumers out. Somebody, somewhere with any authority needs to do something about this. In America, who would expect to be scammed by timeshare companies unless you already knew their record. As of a couple of years ago, Bluegreen started accusing owners of renting out vacations and started shutting down their accounts that they paid for. Many are suffering from this. They are sure that they will win, although it’s so very obviously a setup. Sales always and still do, talk people into buying more points so that they will have extra points with which to rent out a few a year to help pay for the annual fees, which are high. Then they have the buyer to initial that they know they are not to buy to make a business out of it. Rentals have been abundant for years and Bluegreen is renting abundantly at a very nice profit. Their policy has quickly progressed to the degree that no one is allowed to rent one and if they rented one years ago, their account gets zapped too. It is so obvious that their plan is to take back every account they can at no cost to them and then they can use those points for renting or for selling again. I’ve seen several posts of owners who had just paid their annual fees of $10,000 or in the case of one owner who paid the next two years at $20,000 and then their accounts got zapped. It is SO wrong, the deceit in order to obtain money, having people to sign that they acknowledge something in order to use it against them in order to take back what they bought and paid for. I’m assuming it has to be lawmakers to write up a new law that would stop the lying, deceit and actual stealing of people’s money. It is ridiculous for normal people to have to pay for a lawyer to help them out when this business dealings should not be allowed in the first place. America is full of problems but this is one I happen to be in the middle of. It took me 3 solid years to make the money to buy the Bluegreen timeshare. To have them to take it back from me for free is hell on earth. They suck you in, take your money, keep smooth talking you out of your money, then take the whole thing back for free. There’s no way this is not terribly wrong. And another thing, you’re lied to all the way through. I kept asking what happens if I can’t use it anymore. I was always assured that I would get most of my money back. Yeah, right! As in zero dollars.

  6. Amy Metrailer

    I too have been a victim of Bluegreen’s lies and deceptive, fraudulent sakes practices. If any other owners out there have info on any lawsuits open to more plaintiffs please advise.

    1. Irene Parker

      Amy, Be sure and file a complaint with the appropriate regulators as numbers matter. Some attorneys general do a better job of protecting developers from consumers, but it is still important to file for the record. I will add you to our weekly US article distribution list. If there are lawsuits filed, we do our best to keep up with them.

      1. Marilena Cruz

        can you put me on a Blue Green report list in the event of lawsuit. I got roped into points with lies. Thank you

        1. Irene Parker

          Marilena, The best way to keep up with pending legislation is to join the Bluegreen Timeshare Hostages Facebook Group. I will be attending oral arguments this upcoming week concerning a lawsuit that involves Bluegreen buyers who are active duty service members. This is the link to the Facebook Group. I am a member and post updates on pending lawsuits.

  7. Pastor Thelm,a L. Williams

    My husband and I just bought a Time Share from Bluegreen Fountain Resort in Orlando Fl. we were on our honeymoon when we purchased the timeshare.

    Fortunately, I did my due diligence and found information about the Class Action Lawsuit, as well as, all the complaints against them, once we returned home so I was able to cancel and rescind the agreement and financial transactions during the 10 day grace period! Our funds have all been returned. Quick question, do we get to utilize the cruise and the 2 (7 day trips) they gave us or do we need to just trash them? That was their way of giving us an offer we couldn’t refuse because we initially wanted a cruise and a Honeymoon in Hawaii. What is the procedure since they were gifts? Your thoughts….

    1. Irene Parker

      Pastor Thelma,Thank you for your report. There is a Bluegreen Timeshare Hostages Facebook Group that can address your question. If the gifts were a sweetener to buy, I would think they would not honor the gift. If it was a gift to attend a presentation, then those gifts should be honored.

  8. Suzanne L Spiczka

    I to am locked out. I was given this sales pitch on mare then 1 occasion.
    How can this help us get back in ?
    They constantly lie to us!!
    Abd this contract is one sided and can change to benefit them only.

    1. Irene Parker

      Suzanne The testimony under oath by a former employee adds credibility to the reports of owners that have no written proof that agents sold points to rent to cover costs. This has been the common complaint- that points were purchased because sales agents encouraged buying more points to cover costs. There is a Bluegreen Timeshare Hostages Facebook Group for those in the same situation or feel they were deceived another way. If enough people complain to the Florida AG a Public Records Request can at least show a pattern of complaints. Filing with the BBB also helps to expose unfair and deceptive practices.

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