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Oyster Bay deputy town attorney tied to Singh documents resigns, town's outside counsel says

Oyster Bay town hall is seen in this

Oyster Bay town hall is seen in this undated photo. Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

An Oyster Bay deputy town attorney has resigned after documents that raised "troubling questions" related to concessions agreements were discovered in the attorney's office, the town's outside counsel said in a letter Wednesday.

The documents in question referred to agreements with concessionaire Harendra Singh at the town golf course and Tobay Beach, which have been under public scrutiny following a series of Newsday articles.

The outside counsel, Jonathan Pickhardt of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP of Manhattan, did not identify the attorney and said in an email that he could not comment.

Calls to town officials were not returned Wednesday night. It was unclear when the deputy town attorney resigned.

Early last month, Pickhardt said Deputy Town Attorney Frederick Mei's employment was "under review," but he did not elaborate.

Newsday has reported that Mei accepted paid travel from Singh and was involved in negotiations for loans to Singh that were backstopped by the town.

Mei did not return a call Wednesday.

Town Supervisor John Venditto has been on the defensive over the concessions agreements, and last week Oyster Bay Democrats called for the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate whether the town broke federal disclosure laws.

Documents released Wednesday evening show the town entered into agreements in 2010 that made it liable to pay $3.5 million, if Singh defaulted on two loans. One of those liabilities in case of default expired in April, but another, for $2 million, is in place until 2025.

If the town terminates the agreements without cause, it would be liable to pay millions for capital improvements made by Singh at town facilities. Pickhardt has said the structure of the agreements did not constitute a guarantee, which would be illegal under New York State's constitution.

Pickhardt also wrote that the questionable documents found in the deputy town attorney's office relating to additional loans to Singh had not been properly executed and were not enforceable. He wrote that the town informed the parties in June that those documents were invalid.

Last year, the town board extended the town's concession agreement with Singh at Tobay Beach to 2065 and at the golf course to 2070, even as the restaurateur was having financial troubles. Singh fell about 10 months behind on his payments to the town, but his attorneys say he has caught up.

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