Westgate accuses Tea Party leader of timeshare cancellation fraud
Timeshare companies filed federal lawsuit against Castle Law Group.
Westgate Resorts and other timeshare firms have filed federal lawsuits accusing Judson Phillips, a Tennessee attorney and founder of Tea Party Nation, of orchestrating a nationwide timeshare cancellation fraud scheme along with several other businessmen.
Phillips is senior partner of Castle Law Group, based near Nashville. Two lawsuits accuse the law firm and a related company, Castle Marketing, of interfering with clients and contracts at Westgate’s many resorts, and at Orange Lake Country Club.
According to both lawsuits, Castle obtained lists of timeshare owners around the nation and blanketed them with pitches to cancel their timeshare. Some of the clients were charged a $7,500 litigation fee, up front.
According to the Orange Lake lawsuit, no lawsuits were ever filed on behalf of any of its timeshare owners by Castle or related companies.
The Westgate suit says “lawsuits were never filed for some of these clients.”
Some timeshare owners’ groups estimate thousands of owners have been roped into fraudulent contracts.
The timeshares may not be canceled, but timeshare owners often stop making payments, which cuts into timeshare company revenue. The Westgate lawsuit has an attachment of about 100 known owners who received letters from Castle or related advocacy groups and stopped making payments.
Phillips said in an email he hasn’t been officially served with the lawsuit.
“Based on what I know about the lawsuit, it is completely frivolous,” Phillips wrote in the emails… “We have a lot of clients we have obtained results for.”
Both lawsuits accused Castle Law Group of using the marketing firms to say that it could “guarantee timeshare owners relief of their timeshare obligations within one year or eighteen months.” The Florida Bar prohibits attorneys in Florida from advertising guaranteed outcomes.
The lawsuits also name Phillips and several businessmen as defendants: Sean Austin, head of Castle Marketing; and Kevin Hanson and Michael Keever, also associated with marketing companies for Castle Law Group.
Phillips is also accused of putting the Florida Bar Board Certified logo on the Castle Law website, under his bio, even though he is not licensed to practice law in Florida, according to the suit.
The lawsuit has an exhibit attached that shows the logo under Phillips bio, but the current website online doesn’t show the logo.
“We have either had a Florida attorney in our office or associated Florida counsel,” Phillips said in an email.
Greg Crist, executive director of the National Timeshare Owners Assocation, said advocacy groups are actually the ones making contact with owners, and they are the ones who sign initial contracts with owners.
A man who answered the phone number on Castle Law Group’s website quickly acknowledged that he doesn’t work for the firm, that he’s just a consultant