Anti-Harlequin websites disappear

Dissatisfied investors paid off to remove their websites?

Four websites that were extremely critical of David Ames and Harlequin Hotels and Resorts have recently disappeared from the web. Three of the four websites originally explained that they were operated by disgruntled Harlequin investors attempting to retrieve their money when Ames failed to deliver properties that were paid for years ago. The fourth website gave no reason for its existence except to expose what they called fraudulent activities by Harlecon and the Ames family.

All these websites are gone within a short time and it makes us wonder if these folks were able to get satisfaction from David Ames after going public. If so, perhaps there will be more of these websites springing up!

Harlequin Property Problems posted “Welcome. Thanks for stopping by I have suspended this website pending discussion with Harlequin. Thank you for your continued support.”

Harlecon.net posted “Thanks for dropping by. This site is temporarily suspended.”

Pearlygray1’s YouTube channel removed all the Harlequin videos.

Harlequin-warning.co.uk took down their website and all that remains is a login page.

Could starting a website be the secret to getting your money back from Harlequin?

Check out all BFP’s Harlequin stories here.

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30 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Real Estate

30 responses to “Anti-Harlequin websites disappear

  1. yatiniteasy

    I understand David Ames has a personal bodyguard at all times.Also he has been made a citizen of St Vincent, even though he does not meet the requirements of citizenship under the laws of St Vincent. Wow!
    Perhaps he will get BFP suspended or removed too.
    This dude is someone to be feared.

  2. 144

    Mr Gonsalves’s wife got the contract for the interior design on Bucc Bay and made US$1m according to those working on Buccament Bay. One can only expect the govt of St Vincent therefore to support Ames in the face of evidently irregular payment of staff and suppliers, if that is the case. Many people there expect him one day to disappear as it is commonly accepted he cannot possibly build all he has sold, banks in the Caribbean want nothing to do with him, and at some point he will have to answer for the inability to deliver on commitments to investors. In the meantime, everyone (Ames, agents, celebrities endorsing Harlequin) feeds at the trough of misguided investor deposits, and anyone who speaks out gets shut down (using the same misguided investor deposits) Allegedly of course…. The only two operations he has are losing money hand over fist, Buccament Bay remains at a very low occupancy and Blu in St Lucia is virtually empty. But noone is allowed to know this otherwise they won’t get in more misguided investor deposits. Will BFP survive?

  3. 205

    For all the Dave Ames talk about suing the owners of the websites it looks as if he chose to pay them off instead. Take down the websites, stop the damage before others get the same idea.

  4. 64

    correction to article. harlecon.net website shows as being temporary supended ( not harlequin.net )

  5. 64

    even though it would appear that ames/carter ruck have silenced these websites temporarily/permanently. there is another spread in echo newspapers (essex) in the uk today about “harlequin” and the shenanigans that are going on with regards to the delayed builds/ court cases/ politics. interestingly they allege that harlequin have stated that they are looking to open the first phases of merricks (barbados) and marquis estate (st lucia) as well as another hotel next year. if they still don’t have planning permission a bit optimistic ???? 1 yr to complete phase 1 of all 3 despite Buccament only being c 25% complete after all these years of building. BY 1st phase presumably they may mean a single showhome

  6. BFP

    Hey 64

    Give us the link to the online article if you have it please!

  7. 64

    sorry, not online as of yet (only in printed local paper). however, you could contact the echo investigative journalist who wrote the article -email jon.austin@nqe.com to see whether he can provide to you in pdf form.

  8. 195

    The 3 “show homes” at Merricks are not yet completed.They have sold 100 plus units going back as far as 2006…..so why would you need a show home and show village if they are all sold? DUH…scam that`s why.

  9. 67

    Not even a show home has been started at Marquis Estate, no infrastructure on that site so a hotel is a few years away from being open there. ames is on youtube claiming to have sold well over 1000 homes at Marquis. They also claim to have sold over 1000 homes at Merricks, with very little going on on that site also. Pretty obvious it is a scam if nothing going on 6 years later, with all the promises that are still being made to new buyers. Evidence is there that it is a terrible investment, yet massive returns still promised. Would have to be certifiable to still invest. The Allamanda also not seeing any real action, and will be lucky if that is open next year.

  10. yatiniteasy

    Should be 1000 homes, not 100 at Merricks

  11. yatiniteasy

    This bubble is about to burst…not as big as Alan Stanford, but close.

  12. yatiniteasy

    above link shows “Article not Found”….not surprised.

  13. 144

    Yep, already taken down. Article stuck to facts without conjecture and Ames spouted his usual propaganda in defense. Hotels being open next year at Merricks and Marquis and how progress is going strong (if only a journalist would actually visited the sites then they could comment factually on that claim being far fetched – like Ames claim that the Bucc Bay marina was almost finished back in 2009. Has still not started). A valuation on Bucc Bay was also stated, which was comical as well as owners currently selling for more than double what they paid. Who knows if that is true, if so then great for them. Bandwagon rolls on, seems to be no putting a stop to alleged scams in the Caribbean.

  14. Pingback: Echo-news.co.uk takes down major Harlequin investigative report. Why? | Barbados Free Press

  15. Pingback: BFP readers supply over 30 copies of deleted Harlequin news story | Barbados Free Press

  16. 64

    all a bit scary. cannot make comments without censor/threat of libel. does anybody know whether under english law you can be sued for defamation/libel if you have made a comment on some one elses website e.g harlecon . even if you have not named the company can you be held to account for libel or does the onus rest on the website owner/ isp to moderate comments. i am thinking of opinions comments on harlequin/ conduct of ifs’a/ companies etc in relation to sales of the harlequin investment..any comments advise would be much appreciated

  17. SOME investors want want refunds from a south Essex business which has taken at least £180million in deposits to build international holiday resorts, after years of delays to the ambitious projects.

    Harlequin Property, of Honywood Road, Basildon, says its clients have paid for about 6,000 properties to be built across six Caribbean resorts, and one in Brazil, since it started selling about six years ago.

    According to its website, it has now only opened 192 villas, or rooms, at its partially-built flagship resort Buccament Bay, in St Vincent, since August 2010, while 100 others are near completion with 700-odd still to be built.

    Harlequin accepts there have been delays, which it blames on the economic downturn, and has promised investors will see “significant”

    developments at many of its resorts this year.

    However, some investors, who were told their properties would be built within three to four years, have asked for the return of their 30 per cent deposits.

    A woman from London, who would not be named, said she remortgaged her house to invest £150,000 towards a £495,000 villa at Buccament Bay in 2007.

    She said she was told it would be built by December 2008 – however there is still no guaranteed date.

    She said: “I am at the point where I want a refund, but it is not forthcoming. They have said they will pay it back over 18 months.

    That was not in my contract.”

    Contracts state deposits would be repaid within 90 days if a completion date falls back by six months, with reasonable costs deducted.

    She added: “They said they wanted me to accept it being paid back over two years, then 18 months.”

    Commenting on her claims, a Harlequin spokesman said: “The exact timescale for the return of a deposit depends on the investor’s individual contract.

    In a number of cases, Harlequin has been able to return many deposits with a profit, thanks to our resale service.”

    The business is sponsoring a Britain’s Got Talent prize and has a host of celebrities endorsing its investments, such as tennis ace Pat Cash, Golf legend Gary Player, and ITV football pundit Andy Townsend, It is made up of a number of UK and Caribbean companies run by Dave Ames, 60, and wife Carole Ames, 60, of Brock Hill, Wickford.

    A director of a major accountancy firm, who would not be named, said: “I am informally advising a number of investors about getting their deposits back.”

    Some people who paid deposits for one of around 1,000 homes planned at Merricks Resort in Barbados originally due to be completed by the end of 2008, have seen the completion date slip by more than three years – with none of the predicted returns.

    One man, who would not be named, said: “After a lot of hassle I did eventually get my deposit back, paid over 12 months.”

    Some investors have ploughed personal pension plans into the properties. Howard Winter invested his pension in Buccament Bay.

    He said: “It is taking longer than we hoped, but I am happy. It is a pension, so I am in it for the long-term.

    “It is now involved with Britain’s Got Talent, so that will raise the profile.”

    Harlequin accepts there have been delays in building its holiday resorts, but pledged it was on course for phased openings from 2013.

    The firm says less than one per cent (fewer than 60) of its investors had asked for deposits back.

    A spokeswoman said: “Our investors are kept regularly informed on how each resort is progressing. The overwhelming majority appreciates we are now progressing very well.

    “All of Harlequin’s current projects are on course for phased openings from 2013 and we hold regular face-to-face meetings for investors, as well as providing updates online.

    “We have the capacity to deliver all these projects and are committed to meeting our targets.”

    Harlequin said its Buccament Bay resort was valued last year at US$240million (around £150million based on current exchange rates) and the value was rising as more properties and facilities were finished there.

    The business is also currently renovating two smaller Caribbean hotels, into luxury Harlequin boutiques, which it says will lead to quicker returns for investors.

    On Sunday, it opened one of them, Blu Hotel, St Lucia, before a planned major conversion next year while planning permission is finalised.

    The spokeswoman said this, and the opening of phase one of Buccament Bay, showed it was making good progress. She added: “Harlequin accepts, however, that there have been some delays.”

    The firm said the delays at Buccament Bay were primarily due to problems caused by the developer of phase one of the resort, the ICE Group run by Padraig O’Halloran, not finishing all the work under the contract.

    This has now gone to court.

    She said: “There are additional challenges involved with carrying out building projects in the Caribbean, where delays are not untypical.

    “For instance, in Barbados, a change in local planning laws meant that construction work was interrupted for a year due to circumstances outside our control.

    “We have, however, brought in additional resources in order to make up time that was lost.”

    Harlequin said investor concerns were taken very seriously by the company.

    The spokeswoman said: “Less than one per cent have asked for deposits to be returned and for a variety of reasons, often a change of personal circumstances.

    “The exact timescale for the return of a deposit depends on the investor’s individual contract. In a number of cases, Harlequin has been able to return many deposits with a profit, thanks to our resale service.”

    Harlequin added that partnering with the likes of Liverpool FC and Pat Cash was giving investors more for their money, and had increased its initial plans and their value.

    * If you have invested with Harlequin, contact investigative reporter Jon Austin: 01268 469304 jon.austin@nqe.com

  18. Just take the Google Ad text from the article I found in Echo, off to do a site visit to Harlequin in Hastings! TTFN, LOL 😉

  19. Pingback: Harlequin Barbados: More promises to news media, but where’s the action? | Barbados Free Press

  20. anonymous242

    NEW STORY IN TODAYS ECHO. HARLEQUIN PROPERTY SUING THEIR PREVIOUS AUDITORS FOR LIBEL AND HAVE LODGED A HIGH COURT DEFAMATION CLAIM AGAINST THEM CLAIMING THAT THEY WERE BEHIND THE HARLECON WEBSITE… not online but i’m sure someone can send you the paper copy (sorry my scanners not working)

  21. Anna mouse

    “Harlequin said its Buccament Bay resort was valued last year at US$240million (around £150million based on current exchange rates) and the value was rising as more properties and facilities were finished there.”

    I have been thinking about your comment Ian I have quoted the above for a reason I will explain now. It’s not Harlequins “resort” it’s the investors resort all they have there is a few poxy restaurants and Spa facilities, so what is Harlequin actually valuing here the investors resort or what is actually Harlequins. I think the answer would be very interesting I think we all know the answer.

    It also would be very interesting to know how much exactly Mr Ames has invested in Harlequin…

  22. 87

    If Harlequin have sold all the accomodations as they say they have, then they would only own the common areas, which are worth no more than 1 or 2m at the very most as Anna Mouse says. That is dwarfed by the liabilities sitting on their balance sheet in the form of homes sold but not built both at BB and all the other projects as yet started. The money they have taken for those homes are really liabilities as those homes are not yet commenced – any such scheme should see funds in escrow until the homes are commenced and then only released bit by bit. Any other structure leads to total loss of investment, which this is. Anyone who has invested in any other development other than perhaps the 150 built homes at Buccament Bay is facing 100% loss – there is simply no possibility of recovery unless Harlequin have indeed kept all those funds safely in the bank awaiting planning approval and then commencement of building. Were that the case, then how have they paid for the operational losses, Harlequin air, law suits etc.

    I thought Harlequin accused Paddy O’Halloran of being behind Harlecon? Now it is auditors being accused of this? Honestly, are people really investing in this comedy still? Beggars belief if so.

  23. 2

    Has any investor since Harlequin began, had any monthly return on their investment to date?
    Harlequin last year had an 18% growth, with profits over a million.
    Is anyone aware of any re-sales on properties at Buccament Bay Resort?
    I heard a rumor that a beach front property had been re-sold for over a million pounds.

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