Oyster Bay could be responsible for an undisclosed amount of money if it ended its concessions agreement at the town golf course, Town Supervisor John Venditto said at a board meeting Tuesday.
The town has concessions agreements with companies controlled by Harendra Singh at the banquet hall at the golf course in Woodbury, and Tobay Beach. Those companies, and several others Singh controls, have been sued by creditors for nonpayment, threatening summer concessions in town. "If we were to terminate those concession agreements, those license agreements as of right now . . . we may owe a fixed amount over at the golf course, but it would be substantially less than the improvements [Singh] made there over the many years," Venditto said.
The town would not owe money at Tobay Beach, Venditto said without explanation. Venditto declined to take questions after the meeting. Town officials did not respond to questions about the amount the town could have to pay or how the potential liability had been calculated.
Venditto had said at a June 23 meeting that the agreement was "terminable at will."
"I don't want to say that the length doesn't matter, but as a practical matter to us it really doesn't, we can terminate it on a moment's notice," Venditto said then. "It might matter to him [Singh] in terms of his ability to borrow money to keep his own ship afloat."
When the town board voted last year to extend agreements with Singh at the golf course to 2070 and at Tobay Beach to 2065, officials said independent reviews showed Singh had completed $11.7 million in capital work.
If the town canceled the contracts for any reason other than cause, it would have to pay Singh's companies a portion of the millions of dollars of capital investments at those facilities based on formulas, according to concessions agreements provided by the town in response to a Freedom of Information Law request. The town did not provide agreements authorized last year.
Independent reviews provided by the town indicate $5.6 million of work was done; and town officials have not responded to requests to explain the discrepancy.
On Tuesday Venditto, a Republican, blasted Democratic town board candidate Robert Freier, an executive recruiter from Woodbury, who asked at the June 23 meeting what kind of vetting the town had done when extending the concessions deals. "What surprised me of Mr. Freier was his total lack of knowledge," he said. "For someone who's a candidate for town board, he didn't really seem to know what he was talking about, quite honestly."
Freier, who was not at Tuesday's meeting, said in a statement he was sorry he "wasn't in attendance to stand up for myself in response to the bullying, inane statement by Venditto."
"It just means that my team and I are onto something about the Singh contracts and how they can hit every town taxpayer in the wallet," Freier said.