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Plan to cancel Harendra Singh loan guarantees considered by Oyster Bay

The Woodlands at Woodbury banquet hall, operated by

The Woodlands at Woodbury banquet hall, operated by concessionaire Harendra Singh on the grounds of the Town of Oyster Bay Golf Course in Woodbury, on July 1, 2015. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto said Tuesday the town is considering a proposal that could nullify $20 million of loan guarantees the town made with indicted restaurateur Harendra Singh.

Under the proposal, Venditto said, indicted restaurateur Harendra Singh and his family would no longer own or be involved in concessions agreements at the town golf course, Tobay Beach and Tappen Beach.

Venditto said the investors have agreed to “removing the disputed amendments from the concessions agreements that purport to create financial obligations for the town...” He said the town board would review the proposal with counsel.

Venditto spoke of the proposal at Tuesday’s town board meeting. He declined to be interviewed after the meeting.

In September, Singh was indicted on 13 federal charges including bribing an Oyster Bay official to obtain the loan guarantees. Oyster Bay officials have disputed the guarantees’ validity. If the guarantees were found to be valid, town officials could face legal sanctions from the Securities and Exchange Commission for omitting them as liabilities from the town’s audited financial statements.

Howard Greenberg, an attorney for Singh, has said the guarantees, which bear the notarized signatures of Town Attorney Leonard Genova, were entered into with the knowledge of all parties.

Asked about the proposal on Tuesday, Greenberg said in an email, “there are talks, nothing finalized yet.”

It is unclear whether Connecticut-based Phoenix Wealth Management — whose subsidiaries hold the debt with the disputed guarantees — has been a party to the proposal talks. A Phoenix spokeswoman did not return a call requesting comment Tuesday.

The town board has repeatedly extended Singh’s concessions agreements, most recently in 2014 when it extended two of those agreements to 2065 and 2070.

Under the proposal, investors would also settle an undisclosed amount of arrears owed to the town by Singh’s company, Venditto said.

Two of the investors are known: New Hyde Park businessman Ravinder Chopra and Manoj Narang of Syosset. The two hired a newly formed company, MS Hospitality Management Inc., to operate the golf course concessions in November.

No Oyster Bay employees have been publicly charged in the federal investigation into Singh and the town. Town officials have not publicly disclosed how much money they have spent on legal fees connected to Singh and the concessions. In September town officials said they had been billed $234,487 by legal counsel working on this issue.

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