By Steve Plunkett
Four former owners of timeshare weeks and the Delray South Shore Club have ended their courtroom battle over selling the beachfront resort to make way for condominiums.
Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Howard Coates Jr. dismissed the unhappy owners’ lawsuit on Nov. 13 after both sides agreed to pay their own legal bills.
John Runyon of Minnesota, Jacqui and Bob Derrick of Georgia and William Miller of Boca Raton had hoped to unwind a 498-156 vote by week owners to terminate the timeshare and sell the club for $12.3 million. Their suit, which originally sought to block the August 2019 vote, also named two barrier island residents, Kenneth MacNamee and Robert Deutsch, who as members of the club’s board of directors were accused of using “scare tactics” to sway the decision.
The ballots essentially asked owners to choose whether to sell each week for approximately $16,000 or face a special assessment of up to $2,500 per week to make repairs.
The directors, now called termination trustees, emailed owners on Nov. 24 to say a final check for $160 per interval would be mailed in early December, making the total payout $16,560 per week.
MacNamee said “countless interval sales” of similar timeshares have been for less than $1,000 a week and that he is “quite proud of what I did.”
The sale of Delray South Shore, at 1625 S. Ocean Blvd., will add $10 million or more to the city’s tax base, easing property taxes for all city residents, he said.
Runyon, he said, bought four prime weeks at Berkshire on the Ocean, another timeshare two doors south of Delray South Shore, for $27,000 and will receive almost $50,000 for his three DSSC weeks.
“I might be the best friend he has ever had,” said MacNamee, who with his wife owned 20 weeks, purchasing 13 of them, mostly foreclosed intervals, in the 2018 run-up to the sale for $500 to $760 apiece.
The 20 weeks translate into a $331,200 payout.
Similarly, Deutsch bought one week from MacNamee in mid-2018 for $1,000 and acquired 17 more that November. Deutsch’s payout: $298,080.
Runyon plans to alert other Berkshire owners to be on guard but declined to characterize MacNamee.
“Everybody looking at the facts of Ken MacNamee can decide what adjectives they want to apply to him,” he said. He’s also looking forward to using his new Berkshire weeks in February.
“I love Delray. I love walking the beach,” he said. “I love the place.”
But Jacqui Derrick said she and her husband are finished with owning timeshares. “We’re never going to do that again,” she said.
The plaintiffs got involved too late and did not have effective legal counsel, she added.
“A disaster from the start and the loss of a unique resort for regular people,” she said.
Derrick said their legal bill was about $10,000; Runyon said his was more but was unsure how much. Delray South Shore’s insurance company paid to defend the timeshare and MacNamee and Deutsch.
A subsidiary of U.S. Construction, which is building oceanfront condos where Wright by the Sea used to stand and on a parcel just south of Briny Breezes, won site approval in June to construct 14 luxury condos at the Delray South Shore property.
Units at the three-story development, dubbed the Echelon and just south of Atlantic Dunes Park, will range from 2,745 to 3,543 square feet, each with three bedrooms. The plan also calls for a pool deck facing the ocean, a fitness center, a concierge and 35 parking spaces, two underground for each unit and seven for guests.
Construction Journal, which monitors bid opportunities for contractors, says construction is expected to start in the second quarter of 2021.
Prices have not been announced, but condos at the former Wright by the Sea are offered at $5.7 million to $9 million.