And it isn’t the big Lahaina Wastewater Treatment Plant. Oh, wait–yes it is. You know, I used to live in Honokowai, which is just north of both the sewage plant and North Beach (all of which are located on Maui’s Westside) and watched (again, over the period of years) the construction of the thousands of Honua Kai timeshares, which are only now nearing completion, all the time wondering to myself, “Why the hell would people buy a timeshare right next to a sewage plant that smells, well, exactly like a sewage plant?” I mean, everyone I knew in the area was very much aware of the plant–and its smell–and couldn’t stand even driving by the place during warm, not particularly windy days. “If we’re disgusted just driving by at 50 miles per hour,” we’d say (or something to that effect), “why on Earth would people decide to spend their hard-earned, expensive vacation just sitting out there?”
Well, this Maui News story offers up one potential answer: Honua Kai owner Intrawest allegedly just never told prospective buyers that the plant was there. Well, so says a dozen buyers who are suing the timeshare giant for allegedly not telling them that there was a giant sewage treatment plant literally across the street from their new luxury North Beach digs. The article says the company did disclose the plant in 2007, but apparently not in 2005 or 2006, when many of the buyers first signed their contracts, which called for down payments in the $130,000-$320,000 range.
Intrawest didn’t respond to The Maui News questions by press time. But I did note that Wailuku attorney Richard Rost is representing all 12 plaintiffs. I happen to know firsthand that Rost is very, very good. I know this because for two days in late 2006 he argued before the Maui County Liquor Control Adjudication Board–the board of political appointees who sanction liquor licensees found to have violated liquor laws (you can read about the trial here). This board, which rarely hands down anything other than “Guilty” verdicts and heavy fines (I can and sometimes do count the Not Guilty verdicts they handed down in four years on one hand), gave Rost’s client a full and complete exoneration.
Now Intrawest is a giant company with timeshares all over North America, but if I were them, I’d be a little bit scared.