A new management company is operating food and beverage services at Oyster Bay’s golf course, where jailed restaurateur Harendra Singh ran the Woodlands at Woodbury banquet hall, according to town officials and those involved in the takeover.
New Hyde Park businessman and investor Ravinder Chopra said in an interview that Singh is no longer involved and that he and his partner, Manoj Narang of Syosset, have hired a newly formed company, MS Hospitality Management Inc. to operate the facility.
Singh’s wife, Ruby Singh, continues to own a 50 percent stake in the company, Chopra said. In an interview, Singh attorney Howard Greenberg of Smithtown, said that represents a “controlling interest” in the company.
Town parks commissioner Frank Nocerino said during a town board meeting Tuesday that he had met with Chopra and has closely monitored business at the Woodlands.
“We are simple business people,” Chopra said. He said they had not been aware of Singh’s legal problems until they became public. “We just want to save our investment,” he said.
Chopra, who owns a mobile phone business in Flushing, Queens, and Narang said they each bought a 25 percent stake in Singh’s company S.R.B. Convention & Catering Corp. in December 2014. Chopra said he paid $800,000 for his share.
Chopra said Harendra Singh had been working as a general manager after selling his stake, but is no longer involved with operations.
State records show the new management company was formed on Nov. 23, listing the Woodlands as its address.
Supervisor John Venditto, in response to questions at the meeting from former town board candidate Robert Freier, said he had not heard the name MS Hospitality, but that an interim operator had been doing “an excellent job” with weddings.
“Apparently H. Singh is no longer involved in the operation — others have stepped into his shoes,” Venditto said. “We’re not totally clear on what the arrangement is. We’re still finding out.”
Venditto said Tuesday that it’s an “open question” as to who will replace Singh in running concessions at the golf course, Tobay Beach and Tappen Beach.
In 2014, the town board extended Singh’s concession at the golf course by 20 years, to 2070. Canceling the agreement could trigger multimillion-dollar payments by the town to the contractor.
Oyster Bay’s outside counsel, Jonathan Pickhardt of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan in Manhattan, said town officials became aware of “increased involvement” by other interests at the Woodlands after Singh’s Sept. 9 arrest.
Singh was charged with 13 federal counts, including bribing an Oyster Bay official. He was remanded to prison last month after a judge ruled he had violated terms of his release.
Pickhardt said the concessions agreement with Singh’s company did not prohibit other investors from buying part of the company. “The concessionaire does not need the town’s approval to bring in new investors,” Pickhardt said.