Nautical Watch Agent Says Belleair Beach Motel Is a Timeshare
by Leo Coughlin
BELLEAIR BEACH - The registered agent for The Nautical Watch, one of three motels in "non-commercial" Belleair Beach, says that the non-profit motel is a timeshare business and implied that the same applies to Belleair Beach Resort Motel and the Belleair Beach Club, the other non-profit motels here.
Dennis DiTinno, whose office is in St. Petersburg, is listed as the owner and chief executive officer of the Liberte Management Group of the Pinellas Islands, Inc. on an Internet web site called LinkedIn.
DiTinno says he has been in the property management business since 1974. He is listed as attending the University of Massachusetts in Amherst from 1972 to 1974.
DiTinno said that The Nautical Watch Owners Association, Inc. is a "timeshare resort with 980 owners. It only rents out units for the individual owners at their request or any that may have been foreclosed on and belong to the association."
Nautical Watch is listed on the Internet as a regular motel with 21 units and giving the seasonal rates for the units which range from one bedroom to studio. A two-night minimum is listed. There is nothing to distinguish it otherwise from the many motels and hotels in the area.
DiTinno did not specify under which of 26 designations the Internal Revenue Service lists for non-profit corporations but did say Nautical Watch "is a not-for-profit corporation" registered in Florida operating under "Florida Statutes 721 and 718 as well as corporate law 607 and 617."
Actually, Chapter 721 of Florida Statutes is entitled "Vacation Plans and Time Sharing." Chapter 718 refers to condominiums.
Chapter 607 and Chapter 617 are in Title XXXVI of Florida Statutes "Business Organizations," with Chapter 607 (Florida Business Corporation Act) concerned only with corporations for profit (which apparently does not apply to the three motels in Belleair Beach), while Chapter 617 is entitled the "Florida Not for Profit Corporation Act."
DiTinno said that "the tax reports for the IRS are filed under section 1120 H and annually the owners must vote according to IRS Rule 70.604 to maintain funds transferred from one year to another."
Those references lead into a wilderness and tangle of arcane requirements and regulations that are beyond the scope of an ordinary mortal.
Asked to give any information on the other motels, DiTinno said, "These each have their own story. Belleair Beach Hotel is a condominium owned by individual owners that purchased the units as a life style (investments are sold by a securities broker). They cannot reside there and must offer them for rentals, again each unit is owned by individuals.
"The old Carriage House was a timeshare, it went under and was transferred to a Greek investor who also lost it due to poor understanding of the use and the building was sold to a contractor from (New Jersey) who, after some time of trying to get it back to a saleable shape, was contracted by the current tenants.
"I've only heard the deal from the (New Jersey) owner, they rent the building from him for a fair fee and use it in their vacation club and some rentals but I am only offering that as third hand info.
"So as you can see, even though they look like a motel, operate somewhat like a motel with owners and guests always changing and pay rental taxes like a motel - they are not a motel," DiTinno said, sort of the equivalent of "it walks like a duck and looks like a duck, but it actually is a Shetland pony."
Of the three motels doing business in a non-profit status, DiTinno was the only representative who was found and who provided the answers given here.
While DiTinno's answers give somewhat of a clue to the status of the three motels, the idea of what ostensibly looks like three ordinary motels with nothing to distinguish them to the general public as timeshare operations remains.
All three advertise on the Internet. No mention is made of timeshares and perhaps no such mention needs to be made. To all appearances the businesses are just run of the mill motels.
As DiTinno says, The Nautical Watch has 980 owners. The question arises - to what purpose? As a non-profit there can be no dividends paid on shares and the suggestion is that there are many owners for each individual unit.
What that means is that with non-profit status, the 980 owners of a 21-unit motel cannot be share holders or stock holders. A non-profit can make no distribution of profits.
So the mystery continues with the Belleair Beach Resort Motel at 2040 Gulf Boulevard, Belleair Beach Club at 3200 Gulf Boulevard, and The Nautical Watch at 3420 Gulf Boulevard.
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