Sandals Resorts Involved in $5 Million Lawsuit
A $5 million lawsuit filed against Sandals Resorts – operator of the TCI’s biggest hotel – claims as many as 10,000 holidaymakers may have been deceived into paying "profit-enhancers” disguised as taxes.
Attorneys fighting for compensation, initially on behalf of former Beaches TCI guests, filed the mammoth class action with a Florida court on Tuesday (May 21).
They have now broadened their scope, urging anyone who has stayed at any Sandals-operated resort in the Caribbean to come forward.
Lawyers with Miami-based firm Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina and Winkleman, PA say they are "aggressively pursuing litigation” against Sandals for accommodation taxes "unfairly levied” against guests.
"We think this will be a hard-fought battle, but we look forward to working our hardest to help our clients obtain justice,” Michael Winkleman told the Weekly News. Sandals rigorously denies the allegations which it describes as "downright false”.
Meanwhile, within days of the attorneys’ initial call to the public being issued on April 29, the Jamaican resort giant announced it would no longer be closing Beaches TCI in 2021.
Earlier this year, it announced plans to close its 750-room Beaches TCI resort, accusing TCIG of raising taxes after previously promising it would not.
The U-turn was disclosed by email to travel agents and confirmed to the Weekly News on Wednesday by a spokeswoman.
The closure has now been "rescinded and will no longer take effect” Gary Sadler, of Sandals’ marketing arm Unique Vacations, was also quoted as saying.
TCHTA president Todd Foss welcomed the news and said: "Beaches is a vital part of the overall industry and continues to drive the airlift to Turks and Caicos, benefitting all,” he said.
Sandals has been embroiled in vociferous tax spats with regional governments in recent years. In Antigua, the Gaston Browne-led administration has forced the company to pay the full sales levy since January 2017.
The class action is the latest headache for the embattled Butch Stewart-owned chain. Sandals has vowed to fight the Florida lawsuit all the way. The company’s customers are its "top priority”, a spokeswoman told the Weekly News.
Source: Turks & Caicos Weekly News