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Oyster Bay ends concessions agreements at two town facilities

Singletons Salsa Shack at Tobay Beach on Dec.

Singletons Salsa Shack at Tobay Beach on Dec. 30, 2015. Credit: Ed Betz

Oyster Bay has terminated its concessions agreements at the town-owned Woodlands catering hall and Tobay Beach with companies formerly owned by indicted restaurateur Harendra Singh, a spokeswoman said Tuesday.

“We were trying to work out or negotiate a termination agreement throughout the summer,” spokeswoman Marta Kane said. “That was unsuccessful.”

Town attorneys did not immediately respond to questions Tuesday about whether the termination would trigger payments to the concessionaires.

An amendment approved by the town board in 2010 to the concessions agreement at the Woodlands requires the town to make a payment of at least $2 million if that agreement is terminated before April 30, 2025, for any reason. In 2014, the town board extended the concessions agreements to 2065 and 2070.

The companies — S.R.B. Convention & Catering Corp. and SRB Catering Inc. — were taken over from Singh by a group of investors known to include Ravinder Chopra, Manoj Narang and Jagadeesan Poola. It’s unclear when the investors took full control of the companies. The investors’ attorney, Ed Troy of Greenlawn, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Town Supervisor John Venditto and parks Commissioner Frank Nocerino have praised the performance of Chopra and the investor group at the Woodlands.

Kane said she did not know when the decision was made to terminate the agreement with Singh’s former companies. The termination letters state that the concessionaires failed to resolve financial defaults.

The town notified the companies that they were in default in March, June and September of last year, according to the termination letters that the town provided Tuesday.

Documents obtained by Newsday showed that three of Singh’s companies, including the two taken over by the investor group, owed the town $155,157 as of Dec. 31, 2015.

In May, Kane said in an email that the investors at that time owed the town $119,722.75 at the Woodlands and were current at Tobay Beach.

The town has extended an emergency contract to another company whose name has not been made public to operate the Woodlands through Sept. 27, when the board will consider longer-term emergency requests for proposals for both facilities.

In May, Oyster Bay’s outside legal counsel, Jonathan Pickhardt of Manhattan-based Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, made a presentation to the town board about a proposal that would have removed disputed loan guarantees related to the facilities and left the investors in place for 25 years.

In July, the lenders, subsidiaries of Connecticut-based The Phoenix Companies, sued Oyster Bay in state and federal court demanding the town pay $14.6 million because the former Singh companies had defaulted on their loan payments.

The loans were supposed to finance capital improvements at the town-owned facilities. The town disputes the validity of those guarantees.


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