A creditor that sued Singh Hospitality Group -- the parent company of Oyster Bay's concessionaire at Tobay Beach -- is trying to seize the company's equipment in a move that could threaten summer food and beverage service at the beach.
Capital One Equipment Finance Corp. of Melville last year sued Singh Hospitality Group in State Supreme Court in Mineola, alleging it defaulted on a loan for restaurant equipment and furnishings. According to the lawsuit, Capital One Equipment wants to seize an industrial fryer, five golf carts, a soft serve ice cream maker, hot dog grill, freezer, ice machine and a display refrigerator used at Tobay Beach. Court filings show the company also wants to seize equipment and furniture at the Singh-owned H.R. Singleton's restaurant in Bethpage and the Water's Edge restaurant in Long Island City.
Capital One Equipment attorneys in April asked Judge Julianne T. Capetola to grant them a $152,608 judgment against Singh Hospitality Group and affiliated companies, and the surrender of the equipment or its seizure by the Nassau County Sheriff's Department. Attorneys in the case are scheduled to appear before Capetola for a motions hearing Thursday.
Lawyer files counterclaim
Singh's attorney in the Capital One Equipment case, Darren Epstein of New City, said the allegations were "highly disputed." He has filed a counterclaim alleging breach of contract and that Capital One Equipment had overcharged his client.
The Oyster Bay Town Board last year approved 20-year extensions for concession agreements at Tobay Beach and the town-owned golf course where a Singh company runs the Woodlands at Woodbury restaurant and catering hall.
The golf course concession to S.R.B. Convention . . . Catering Corp. originally ran from Jan. 1, 2001, through Dec. 31, 2020. In 2005, the town extended the concession by 10 years. Three years later, in 2008, the town waived its procurement policy and extended the golf course concession by 20 years to Dec. 31, 2049, documents show.
The town awarded the Tobay Beach concession to SRB Concession Inc., a Singh company, in 2005. It was extended in 2008 and again last year. Town officials have not made public the latest concession renewals, which would extend the Tobay Beach agreement to 2065 and the golf course agreement to 2070.
The extension vote last year occurred as several creditors alleged Singh's companies were months behind on payments and federal liens were attached to the companies, according to court documents. Town Supervisor John Venditto said he did not know about the Capital One Equipment lawsuit or others seeking compensation for nonpayment by Singh companies.
"We're not privy to the lawsuits, we're not aware of them," Venditto said.
The concession agreements require the companies to provide annual financial reports to the town, but Venditto said he did not know if they had.
Singh Hospitality Group, based in Bethpage, is an umbrella organization run by caterer and restaurateur Harendra Singh, who with his wife, Ruby, controls companies that operate restaurants and concessions around Long Island and in New York City, state records and court filings show. The Singhs have registered more than a dozen companies at 150 Hicksville Rd. in Bethpage -- the address for H.R. Singleton's.
Singh did not respond to requests for comment.
Cost of early termination
Although future administrations could cancel the agreements, an early termination without a default by Singh's companies would trigger payments by the town to the concessionaires to pay for some of the millions of dollars of capital improvements made to the facilities under the agreement.
More than a half dozen of Singh's companies are named in creditors' lawsuits as co-guarantors and are liable for other companies' debts, which means that a judgment against one company applies to the guarantors as well. SRB Concession Inc. and S.R.B. Convention ... Catering Corp. have been named as co-guarantors in at least three court cases filed since 2014, records show.
Singh's companies are on a payment plan with Axis Capital Inc. of Grand Island, Nebraska, for about $675,000 to settle a $1 million lawsuit filed last year after a Singh company missed monthly payments in January, February and March 2014.
"Business was slow, they ran behind in some payments," said Joseph Conway of Mineola-based LaRusso ... Conway LLP, Singh's attorney in that case. "They're back now and operating as normally."
Axis Capital's attorney, Mitchell Cohen of the Manhattan office of Chicago-based Vedder Price P.C., said the Singh companies had made a lump-sum payment of $550,000 of the total settlement and were making payments on the remainder.
A judgment entered in state Supreme Court in Mineola in March allows Axis to call the sheriff to seize assets at some of Singh's companies, including those with concessions agreements at Tobay Beach and the golf course because they are co-guarantors. Cohen said his client has no plan to do so as long as payments are made.
Amityville attorney Alan Davis said Singh's companies owed his client, Freeport-based Value Service ... Repair, $30,749 for work completed over nine months in 2012, including $6,452.34 at the Tobay Beach Seafood Shack for repair and maintenance work on a fryer, stoves and freezers.
"Work was done, parts were supplied, material supplied, labor," Davis said, adding that Value Service ... Repair was willing to settle but would pursue Singh's assets if necessary. "My client just ultimately wants to be paid."Steven Bach, owner of Value Service ... Repair, said the town's extensions of Singh's concessions mean it's more likely he will be paid eventually. "If they want to keep him working so he can pay off everyone he's hurt, that would be the positive of allowing him to stay in business," Bach said.
Singh attorney Epstein disputed Value Service ... Repair's claims, alleging in court filings there was no agreement and that even if there was, Value Service ... Repair breached the contract.
More financial ordeals
Singh's companies face other financial challenges.
The IRS in 2012 and 2013 filed liens on behalf of the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. against several Singh companies totaling $2.4 million, including SRB Concession and S.R.B. Convention ... Catering, because of pension liabilities owed by Quinn Restaurant Corp. Quinn, which records show Singh acquired in 2009, owns the Water's Edge restaurant in Long Island City. New York City, which owns the property, started eviction proceedings against Quinn in May. Quinn is fighting the eviction and has countersued.
In April, Santander Bank sued Quinn and other Singh companies as co-guarantors, alleging Quinn had defaulted on a loan with $2.4 million outstanding. Singh's attorney in that case is seeking dismissal, claiming the bank is not authorized to operate in New York State, according to court filings.
CONCESSION AGREEMENTS IN OYSTER BAY TOWN
2000 -- Oyster Bay awards a 20-year concession agreement to Harendra Singh's company, H.R. Singleton's, later renamed S.R.B. Convention and Catering Corp., to operate food and beverage services at the town golf course.
2005 -- Oyster Bay exercises a 10-year option to renew the golf course concession and enters into 20-year agreement with another Singh company, SRB Concession, Inc. at Tobay Beach.
2008 -- Oyster Bay extends the Tobay Beach concession by 20 years.
2009 -- Singh buys Quinn Restaurant Corp., which owns Water's Edge Restaurant in Long Island City.
2014 -- Oyster Bay approves extending concessions agreements at the golf course and Tobay Beach by 20 years. Axis Capital Inc., Value Service ... Repair Corp., Capital One Equipment Finance Corp. and Posses ... Chasan CPA's PLLC sue Singh companies, alleging nonpayment.
Sources: Town of Oyster Bay, New York Secretary of State, New York State Court system, federal court system