Mr. Michael D. Burke
1759 Bay Road
Miami Beach, FL 33139-1413
Dear Mr. Burke:
In your e-mail (see attached copy) to me of October 24, 2007 you stated that I would receive a full refund of my $500 deposit for my scheduled sailing on the Polynesia on December 22, 2007: Booking # 3550650 which Windjammer Cruises cancelled.
I have made telephone, e-mail, and fax requests for this refund, but I have not received my refund.
Because you have delayed so long in making the refund you promised, I can no longer make a request through my credit card or bank which apparently was your intention. My bank recommended that I initiate a claim through my Small Claims Court which I intend to do if I do not receive a positive response to this letter and my $500 on or before May 8, 2008. A copy of this letter will be provided to the Small Claims Court along with all the other documentation I have. If my Small Claims Court action is not successful, I intend to ask my personal attorney to take appropriate legal action against Windjammer Cruises.
My parents, my sister, and I are repeat vacationers on Windjammer Cruises. It’s most unfortunate that our relationship has to end in this manner.
Sorry to hear about your loss. The lying Mr Burke probable doesn't care what you do. I doubt if you will ever see any money back. The Burke family has robbed thousands of people and they no longer will respond to anyone. Their promises were all lies. You can go ahead and file a claim against them in small claims court and you will win a judgment against Windjammer, but you will probably never collect it. So not only will you be out what they owe you, but you will also be out what you paid to file your case. Even their cult following has turned against Windjammer and Joey Burke after they realized that he was stringing them along.
Perhaps I am missing some of the particulars, but I have seen the corporate veil pierced in cases that appeared to be far less egregious than this one. It will be interesting to see how the card company's suit plays out. It would be great to see those self-indulgent woods colts have to pay up from their personal fortunes. Some people will take your last dollar to make their ten-billionth. Most of them work for the government, though.
Those are my principles. If you don't like them, I have others. ---Groucho Marx
Navigator of the Seas 2005, 2006
Holiday 2005, 2006, 2008
Sovereign of the Seas 2007
Carnival Fantasy 2008
Carnival Fascination 9/14/09
Freedom of the Seas 11/28/10
Getting a judgment is one thing, but collecting on it is another. I am a maritime attorney in So. Cal., and I represent a former passenger who was seriously injured on a Windjammer cruise. We settled the case - they paid part of the settlement (in 2007), and the remaining portion was to be paid over a couple of years. They made one payment. We were able to convert the settlement into a judgment. Unfortunately, the judgment may only be worth the paper it is written on.
There are pending inter-family suits (or maybe just one) in the courts of Trinidad. Don't know much about the legal system there, but those who paid money for cruises may have to go there to bring their fraud lawsuits.
If I find out any further details, I will be in contact with Paul Motter, who has my permission to post those details here, should he wish to do so.
In answer to the question as to whether anyone showed up, Sterling told me that Michael Burke (JR) did show up for the arbitration hearing, held in 2006, and did agree to the $350k settlement. They paid $250k and made out a payment plan for the remaining $100k. The final part was never received.
It just goes to show you how quickly Windjammer went downhill. In 2006 MJB felt they had enough cash to make a $1/4 mil payment in a lump sum. But by end of 2007 they were ignoring requests for refunds for a few hundred dollars.