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Oyster Bay says it has proposal to manage 2 town facilities

Harendra Singh leaves federal court in Central Islip

Harendra Singh leaves federal court in Central Islip after a hearing on Monday, Oct. 5, 2015. Credit: James Carbone

The Oyster Bay Town Board could approve a new agreement to remove $20 million loan guarantees extended on behalf of jailed restaurateur Harendra Singh as soon as May 24, Town Supervisor John Venditto said.

Venditto said at a town board meeting Tuesday that the town’s outside legal counsel had received a proposal that would address two “critical” issues for the town: “Removing the disputed amendments that purport to create financial obligations to the town of Oyster Bay and the removal of all Singh family members from the business.”

In September, Singh was indicted on 13 federal charges including bribing an Oyster Bay official to obtain the loan guarantees for money that was supposed to be used for capital construction at two town facilities, the Woodlands catering hall at the town golf course and food concessions at Tobay Beach.

Federal prosecutors allege that Singh diverted the money elsewhere. In federal court in Central Islip last week, Singh was granted a six-week adjournment.

Few details of the proposal were provided by the town Tuesday. Town Attorney Leonard Genova said the public could learn about the proposal after the board voted to accept it.

“If the board chooses to go forward, we’ll be happy to have answers for everybody,” Genova said in an interview.

Councilman Chris Coschignano said at a February board meeting that taxpayers need to know about any proposal.

“We have to do this as publicly and as transparent as we possibly can so that everybody can see what we’re going through here, the decisions that will be made,” Coschignano said at that meeting.

It was unclear who would be running the town’s concessions if a proposal is accepted. Currently the Woodlands and Tobay Beach are run by two Singh companies, S.R.B. Convention & Catering and SRB Concessions Inc.

Venditto said at the town board meeting that the proposal had come from “the new investment group of the SRB entities” but in an interview wouldn’t say whether the SRB companies, which records show face multiple lawsuits from creditors, would remain.

“I never said that we were going forward with SRB, nor did I say that we’re not,” Venditto said in an interview.

At least three people invested in the SRB companies: Ravinder Chopra, Manoj Narang and Jagadeesan Poola. None returned requests for comment Wednesday.

Kamlesh Mehta said one of his family’s companies, which had been involved in the Tobay Beach concession as a trustee, is no longer involved.

The loans are held by subsidiaries of the Connecticut-based Phoenix Companies, which did not return a call for comment. Oyster Bay officials have disputed the loan guarantees’ validity.

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