The Brookhaven Town Board on Thursday night severed ties with embattled restaurateur Harendra Singh, who faces federal charges that he bribed a government official in Oyster Bay.
Brookhaven Town board members voted unanimously to rescind a 20-year contract with Singh to manage concessions at town-owned Cedar Beach in Mount Sinai.
Town officials said Singh's company, BRS Concession Inc., bounced a check for $5,100 earlier this month, an installment in an annual license fee that had been set at $31,500 for 2015.See alsoDocs show town helped secure loansEditorialEditorial: Mangano and others have some explaining ...See alsoEditorial: Shameful process
Brookhaven officials acknowledged they also sought to distance themselves from Singh's legal woes.
The town, under then-Supervisor Mark Lesko, entered into the concession agreement with BRS in 2012. Singh entered into an interim agreement to run a seafood concession in June 2010 and invested $50,000 in the location, according to a news release at the time.
Brookhaven Town Attorney Annette Eaderesto recommended that the board exercise an option to end the arrangement.
Singh was charged in federal court last week with 13 criminal counts, including bribing a government official in order to secure loan guarantees from the Town of Oyster Bay. Singh, of Laurel Hollow, pleaded not guilty and was released on a $5 million bond.
The government official has been identified by sources as former deputy Oyster Bay Town attorney Frederick Mei, who recently resigned.
Under the terms of the Brookhaven agreement, Singh was supposed to make $250,000 in capital improvements to the town-owned facility by 2013. Eaderesto said an initial review showed he had done about $200,000 worth.
Howard Greenberg, Singh's attorney, said in an email Wednesday that his client intends to pay all money owed to the town and will confirm that $250,000 in improvements were made at the facility.
The sum spent at the facility is a factor in whether canceling the agreement will require the town to pay Singh. Under the contract, a termination could result in Brookhaven having to pay Singh damages equal to the original value of the improvements.
Greenberg said Wednesday that terminating the agreement "will certainly result in payment to my client."
The concession is being run by another party who has a separate agreement with Singh, Greenberg said.
Eaderesto said Wednesday the town planned to have a new operator by next summer.
"We don't want this kind of a person here, obviously," Eaderesto said after the meeting.