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#44656 - 05 August 06 3:54 pm - America/Chicago Sanctuary Bay & Andris Pukke? ***
LanSluder Offline

**

Registered: 04 May 04
Posts: 8109
Loc: USA/Belize
I have some questions about Sanctuary Bay Estates and its alleged relationship to Andris Pukke, who achieved notoriety in the U.S. for his role in the 1990s and early 2000s in large consumer credit debt counseling companies that became targets of Federal Trade Commission and Internal Revenue Service investigations.

Perhaps folks who are knowledgeable about the development and about Pukke and his companies can respond, either here or privately.

The questions relate to the Sanctuary Bay Estates development and its original development company, Dolphin Development Company. Also involved are an entity called Sittee River Wildlife Reserve and an entity in Irvine, CA, called Starfish Development.

Sanctuary Bay, located about 15 minutes south of Hopkins, says it offers some 220 lots at prices of about US$50,000 to $200,000 each, and buyers also get a share in the 11,000-acre Sittee River Wildlife Reserve.

What I'm curious about is the association of Sanctuary Bay with the U.S.-based entrepreneur and former consumer debt counselor Andris Pukke.

The fellow heading up Sanctuary Bay in Belize is Peter Baker. He has posted here a time or two.

Baker is associated with, among others, Colin and Joan Medhurst. Medhurst & Associates used to do PR for the Government of Belize back in the 90s.

Baker also allegedly has had an association with Andris Pukke. Pukke founded AmeriDebt, a large U.S. consumer counseling service, and an associated company, DebtWorks. AmeriDebt, DebtWorks and other Pukke companies were based in Germantown, MD.

In 2003-2005, Pukke was the target of a U.S. Federal Trade Commission lawsuit charging misuse of funds collected from consumers. The FTC was seeking US$170 million in refunds. The IRS was also seeking US$300 million from Pukke.

The FTC action reportedly was the largest ever taken against a consumer debt counseling company.

An attorney, Gary Owen Caris, for a court-appointed receiver, claimed in 2005 that Pukke was hiding assets. A Washington Post story of September 25, 2005, reported:

>>One example of hiding assets, Caris said, was that Pukke initially omitted from his financial statement his ownership in a Belize resort [we assume this "resort" is Sanctuary Bay and Sittee River Wildlife Sanctuary]. Then Pukke said that he had a 30 percent stake but that the resort had no assets and was "worth zero." In reality, Caris said, Pukke lent the resort $3 million and owns a 60 percent stake in the company, which has started to sell 220 lots ....<<

In January 2006, the FTC announced it had reached a settlement with Pukke and two of his companies, AmeriDebt and DebtWorks. The settlement requires Pukke to give up virtually all of his assets to be put in a consumer redress fund that could total up to US$35 million. The agreement also bars Pukke permanently from engaging in credit counseling, debt management and credit education activities, prohibits him from violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule, and prohibits him from engaging in other conduct in connection with telemarketing.

According to a document filed June 29, 2006, by Robb Evans & Associates LLC, a fiduciary and asset management firm appointed by a Maryland District Court, Pukke is, or was, chairman of the board of Dolphin Development and also chairman of Sittee River Wildlife Reserve. The Robb Evans document also alleges that at one point Pukke transferred ownership of Dolphin Development to Peter Baker and also, at one time, his voting rights in Sittee River Wildlife Reserve to the Medhursts.

While there may be nothing in this that directly affects Sanctuary Bay, and no wrongdoing is alleged here, issues involving the ownership of Sanctuary Bay and Sittee River Wildlife Reserve could potentially impact those who have bought or are buying property at Sanctuary Bay.

Do you think that Sanctuary Bay's alleged association with Andris Pukke will have an impact on Sanctuary Bay and those who have invested money there? Could the court-appointed receivers of the Pukke assets and their representatives move to obtain the Sanctuary Bay assets?

If anyone has any information about this matter, please post here or contact me, privately if you prefer.

Thanks.

--Lan Sluder
www.belizefirst.com
(email bzefirst@aol.com)

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#44657 - 05 August 06 4:25 pm - America/Chicago Re: Sanctuary Bay & Andris Pukke?
KatieValk Offline

***

Registered: 13 November 03
Posts: 3411
Loc: Belize City and Placencia
Saw the Medhursts a few days ago who said they are no longer involved with SB.
_________________________
Belize based travel specialist
www.belize-trips.com

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#44658 - 06 August 06 11:23 am - America/Chicago Re: Sanctuary Bay & Andris Pukke?
LanSluder Offline

**

Registered: 04 May 04
Posts: 8109
Loc: USA/Belize
Are the Medhursts living in Belize now?

--Lan Sluder

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#44659 - 06 August 06 11:39 am - America/Chicago Re: Sanctuary Bay & Andris Pukke?
chrismason Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 13 June 06
Posts: 23
Loc: long island
I'd first like to thank Lan for posting his "research" on this issue and giving me the opportunity to finally post the FACTS on this ridiculous situation and dispell all of the rumours that are out there.

Let me start by saying that Andris Pukke no longer has, and hasn't for over a year now, ANYTHING WHATSOEVER TO DO WITH SANCTUARY BAY, SITTEE RIVER WILDLIFE RESERVE OR STARFISH DEVELOPMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is true that he is a long time childhood friend of mine and that my family originally invited him into our project as a lender and marketing consultant. As Lan's research suggests, it is a fact that he lent Dolphin Development, LTD (the original development company of the project) $3mm and that he owned 60% of Dolphin Development. However, what the receiver fails to write in his reports, is that in the written agreement that Andris had with Dolphin, for his 60% stake, he was responsible for continuing to finance 100% of the project's expenses until completion. Unfortunately, due to his legal issues (which I will discuss below) his assets were frozen by the US government and he was unable to fund the project as agreed. Therefore, unfortunately, Dolphin Development was unable to continue as developer and Andris lost all interest in the project.

As a result, I was forced to raise the capital needed to complete the project from other sources and investors and I was successful in doing so. Starfish Development was created to take over the role of developer, which due to financial restrictions, Dolphin could no longer do. Starfish became the new and is still the current development company and things have been running extremelly well ever since.

The receiver of Andris' assets, continues to incorrectly write in their reports that they have an ownership interest in the project. However, they have clearly done very little research into the facts regarding the situation and I have not yet had the opportunity to explain the facts to them. Hopefully I will be doing so shortly. The bottom line is that by "freezing" Andris' assets and by not allowing him to continue funding the project, they had in effect destroyed his (and as a result, their) interest in the project. It's that simple!!

Lan's concern is that somehow, as a result of this, lot buyers may be effected. While I can certainly appreciate and understand his concern, let me assure Lan as well as any existing or future lot owners that there is absolutely no risk for problem. Regardless of what ultimately happens with Andris and the receiver, all lot owners will be 100% protected and the project will be completed 100% as planned.

Here are the FACTS:

First of all, Sittee River Wildlife Reserve, which is a non-profit company, owns all of the lands. Andris never owned or had an interest in SRWR. Therefore, the 12,000 acres of land comprising the SRWR and development, are not at all at risk

Second, as Lan probably knows, all lot owners receive "free and clear" title to the purchased property from the government of Belize. Therefore, regardless of what happens with the receiver and Andris, lot owners title to their property will never be effected whatsoever.

Thirdly, Starfish Development is now, and has been for over a year, the sole developer of the project. Andris never had any ownership interest in Starfish and it is fully funded by investors and other sources that have absolutely no financial ties or relationship with him.

Therefore, due to the numerous FACTS that I stated above, all property owners are 100% secure and their is absolutely zero risk in future investment.

I'd also like to take a minute and clear up the numerous misconceptions and frankly, slanderous stories, that have been printed about Andris.

Let me first state that every story has two sides, therefore, I am only going to state things that are 100% undisputed and documented as FACT regarding his unfortunate situation!! Like I said, he was and continues to be, one of my best friends, therefore, I personally know this situation very well.

First of all. In the 90's and early 2000's Andris was the pioneer of the credit counseling industry in the US. He basically created the industry. Over the years, his companies, assisted over 750,000 individuals and families resolve their financial problems and avoid bankruptcy. As a result, and this has been documented, he helped save consumers over a billion (that's billion with a B) dollars in debt.

However, due to the fact that he assited over 750,000 consumers, his companies did receive complaints at local Better Business Bureau offices. However, all of the complaints were resolved and the total number of complaints was extremelly small in relation to the number of people he helped. In fact, over the years, his companies received less than 200 complaints in total. That may seem like a lot at the surface, however, if you do the math, that equates to less than one out of every 3750 clients. By the way, that's a better record than companies like Wal Mart and McDonalds have.

Anyway, there's no doubt that as a result of the tremendous amount of business that his companies did that he made a great deal of money. However, he made a very small amount from each customer, but because he had so many customers, he did extremelly well.

Well, the FTC, in doing their job, investigated his companies due to the # of complaints at the BBB. However, they refused to look at the number of clients helped and only focused on the ones that complained. Andris, as well as his attorneys and outside consultants tried tirelessly to point these facts out to the FTC, however, they refused to listen and simply chose to ignore the facts.

The FTC's job is to collect money. It's cut and dry. Therefore, do to the fact that Andris had a lot of it, they continued to persecute him for years. He fought with them and tried to get them to look at the facts for over two years. However, the government refused to listen and eventually froze all of his assets (in part because he did business in Belize and the fact that they hate any "off shore" businesses by US citizens). In fact, they wouldn't even allow him to continue paying his legal bills. As a result, even though he and his attorneys felt that he was 100% wrongly accused and innocent of all accusations, the freezing of his finances left Andris with absolutely no choice but to settle the case. He unfortunately never even got his day in court, which he had been fighting for so long to get.

As Lan's research shows, he admitted absolutely no wrong doing, however, he was financially destroyed by the legal cost of the battle and the settlement amount.

Let me finish by stating that the whole thing is one of the biggest injustices I, or anybody else who has knowledge of the case, has ever experienced. Andris is not only one of the nicest, generous and most honest people you'll ever meet, he helped save Americans over a billion dollars and received nothing but persecution and a destroyed reputaion from the US government as thanks!!

Many of you who either live in Belize or are thinking about moving there are doing so to avoid the possibility of the exact persecution and injustice that he experinced. The US has a powerfull government and if they want something, whether financial or otherwise, they'll get it.

I'll close by once again saying thanks to Lan for his research and for giving me the opportunity to "clear the air". I also want to once again assure all exixting and future residents of Sanctuary Bay that they have absolutely nothing to worry about as their investment is completely safe and protected and that the development is actually progressing better than I ever expected.

I welcome any further questions and I look forward to our continued success!!

Sincerely,

Peter Baker
President
Starfish Development, LTD.

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#44660 - 06 August 06 1:05 pm - America/Chicago Re: Sanctuary Bay & Andris Pukke?
LanSluder Offline

**

Registered: 04 May 04
Posts: 8109
Loc: USA/Belize
Peter, just to clarify one small point:

The court-appointed receiver, Robb Evans & Associates, claims in a document it submitted to the court in June that Andris Pukke was at one point chairman of BOTH Dolphin Development (the predecessor company of Starfish Development) and Sittee River Wildlife Sanctuary.

But you're saying that Pukke was not chairman of Sittee River Wildlife Sanctuary and never had an ownership position in it? Right?

Thanks.

--Lan Sluder

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#44661 - 06 August 06 1:13 pm - America/Chicago Re: Sanctuary Bay & Andris Pukke?
dfrostondabeach Offline

****

Registered: 19 August 04
Posts: 1328
Loc: Iowa / Placencia Peninsula
just curious to a fault.
Why is Peter Baker posting as crismason?

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#44662 - 06 August 06 5:27 pm - America/Chicago Re: Sanctuary Bay & Andris Pukke?
chrismason Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 13 June 06
Posts: 23
Loc: long island
In response to the last two postings. Lan, just to clarify, Andris never had an ownership position in Sittee River Wildlife Reserve. In fact, no individual has an ownership position in it. It is in fact a not for profit entity, therefore, there are no owners or shareholders.

He did act as Chairman at one of the SRWR board meetings. However, it should be noted that the Chairman of the Board seat is a ceremonial position and it rotates each meeting. Whomever at the meeting wishes to document the minutes, holds the chair seat at that meeting.

It should also be noted that Andris hasn't even been a board member of SRWR for over a year. The by-laws of the company state that if any board member becomes insolvent (files bankruptcy), then they are automatically removed from the board. Andris most likely would have resigned from the board anyway, due to his lack of interest and involvement in the project, however, due to his unfortunate and unfair insolvency, we were forced to remove him.

In response to the person posting and questioning why I'm "posing" as Chris Mason. Please don't insult my intelligence. If I were trying to "pose" as someone else, I wouldn't have signed my name to the post I sent. However, just to answer any potential doubters out there, one of my assitant managers is Chris Mason. He monitors the Belize Forum from time to time and has a login. From time to time I use his login when I'm looking at the Forum. I very often use it when responding to posts, as I personally don't have a login account. I usually look at the site from his office as he is the one who generally points things out to me. I'm certainly not "posing" as somebody else as I have absolutely nothing to hide. My identity and contact information is always available on the Sanctuary Bay website.

Sincerely,

Peter Baker
President
Starfish Development, LTD.

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#44663 - 06 August 06 5:46 pm - America/Chicago Re: Sanctuary Bay & Andris Pukke?
dfrostondabeach Offline

****

Registered: 19 August 04
Posts: 1328
Loc: Iowa / Placencia Peninsula
Mr. Baker excuse me, but, recently there have been some persons contradicting themselves on this forum, so some things you’ve stated are sending up a red flag to me.

“I very often use it when responding to posts, as I personally don't have a login account."

There are only the 2 posts on this thread that have ever used the chrismason login name. So I don’t understand your ‘often use’.

And you do have a login name:
http://www.belizeforum.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=5;t=000595

edit (sp)these for there.

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#44664 - 06 August 06 6:25 pm - America/Chicago Re: Sanctuary Bay & Andris Pukke?
chrismason Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 13 June 06
Posts: 23
Loc: long island
I appologize. I inadvertantly read it as "posing" not "posting". My error.

As far as the frequency of my posting on the Forum goes. I only post when I feel I need to respond to issues regarding Sanctuary Bay. I don't get involved in other strings. If I do have a login as somebody pointed out, I don't use it and certainly don't know what my password, etc. is. However, thank you for pointing that out to me. I'll see if I can locate or find the password, so in the future, I can post under my own name and won't have to deal with issues such as this.

Thank you all again for your help and support.

Sincerely,

Peter Baker
President
Starfish Development, LTD.

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#44665 - 07 August 06 8:14 am - America/Chicago Re: Sanctuary Bay & Andris Pukke?
smokey Offline
Member
*

Registered: 26 May 06
Posts: 59
Loc: NYC
YOU GUYS WRITING A BOOK?
OR JUST TRYING TO EARN YOUR JUNIOR G-MAN BADGE?

AS A FUTURE HOME SITE OWNER IN SANCTUARY, ITS VERY REASSURING TO KNOW MY AND OTHER TITLE SEARCHES HAVE COME UP CLEAR.

IF ANYONE WOULD GO OUT AND SEE THE SCALE AND PROGRESS IN PERSON YOU WOULD KNOW ITS A VERY SERIOUS DEVELOPMENT OF EXTRAORDINARY MAGNITUTDE...YOU HAVE MY GRATITUDE.
laugh

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