Holdout widow settles with Westgate Resorts for sale of condo

Article Courtesy of The Orlando Sentinel
By Stephen Hudack

Published November 5, 2017


Julieta Meija de Corredor and her family stopped using their Orlando vacation villa years ago.

They had once enjoyed the tennis courts, trees and pool at the vacation community on Big Sand Lake, which was close to SeaWorld Orlando, Universal and the Orange County Convention Center.

Those amenities were long gone when the family’s trouble began with Westgate Resorts, the timeshare giant that needed the Corredors’ sliver of land as part of project to build a pair of $20-million high-rise rental towers.

But they refused to sell — until now. The South Florida widow and Westgate struck a deal during a recent mediation in which she and her sons agreed to sell the property and bring an end to a legal saga.

“We’re relieved for Ms. Corredor and the Corredor family that these issues are finally resolved,” said the Corredors’ lawyer, Brent Siegel, no relation to billionaire David A. Siegel, CEO and president of Westgate.

The deal was struck during court-directed mediation, Siegel said. Terms were unavailable because of a nondisclosure clause.

Westgate attorney Michael Marder confirmed Friday the parties had reached an accord but offered no other comment or details.​​​​​

Construction continues on Westgate Resorts tower which looms behind the remains of Julieta Mejia de Corredor's condominum near the Orange County Convention Center.

The settlement clears the way for Westgate to resolve a related dispute with county building officials who had refused to issue required certificates of occupancy for the eight-story tower, which has been empty for four months.

Though the building had passed inspections, Westgate couldn’t lease units in the tower in Orlando’s tourist district. A lawyer for the company once said the county’s denial of occupancy permits was costing Westgate’s parent company Central Florida Investments thousands of dollars a day.

Westgate is likely to now be granted permits from the county to build a second $20 million tower on the same site. The condo stood in the way of Westgate’s development plans, though the company decided to build around Corredor .

The widow, now 83, and her late husband bought the Orlando vacation home in 1985 for $154,000, paid its taxes and other property fees for three decades, then watched as Westgate gobbled up neighboring units when the properties fell into foreclosure.

Court records show Westgate sent the Corredor family offers for the unit as far back as 2004.

The matriarch, now a widow, always said no.

About two years ago, a contractor with a bulldozer and no permit carved away a piece of the Corredor unit by mistake, making it unsafe for habitation, according to Orange County code enforcement. The Corredors suspected the damage was deliberate.

The county said Westgate misrepresented that it owned the Corredors’ unit in its plans for the twin timeshare towers.

Though it was never the family’s permanent home, the modest condo served as a place for a weekend getaways, theme-park vacations and family gatherings for 30 years.

“However we use it shouldn’t matter,” William Corredor once said. “It’s ours.”

After negotiations failed to persuade the widow and her sons to sell, Westgate officials labeled them as “greedy.”

Westgate executives said they offered the widow $150,000 for her condo, which is shrouded by a green covering.

She said no.

They offered her a newer unit in another building.

She said no again.

Neither the Corredors nor their lawyer ever publicly disclosed their demands for the condo.