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Judge orders Dover Hospitality Services to pay SCCC $290,347

Suffolk County Community College sued Dover Hospitality Services

Suffolk County Community College sued Dover Hospitality Services over commissions for operating cafeterias and vending machines at the Selden and Brentwood campuses. Credit: Danielle Silverman

A State Supreme Court justice has ordered Dover Hospitality Services to pay Suffolk County Community College $290,347 for failing to turn over commissions for operating cafeterias and vending machines at the college’s Selden and Brentwood campuses.

Justice Joseph Pastoressa issued a default judgment against the Freeport-based food provider on July 31 in an unopposed motion brought by the Suffolk County district attorney’s office.

Dan Deegan, Dover’s attorney, said Newsday’s inquiry about the judgment “was the first that Dover Hospitality or its principal ever heard about this lawsuit. Court records indicate that it was served on the Secretary of State in 2017. Dover did not receive notice of the lawsuit and will be immediately moving to vacate this default judgment and address this issue on the merit.”

SCCC's court papers say Dover “breached express provisions of the contract.” While the college has “given Dover the opportunity to cure such breach” the company has refused to do so, the court papers say.

In the lawsuit filed Feb. 28, 2017, SCCC said Dover “did not account for and did withhold and refused to report commissions due the college for debit and credit card sales,” from 2009 to 2015.

The legal action came after the college conducted an audit of Dover’s books. The examination found the company did not pay $192,327 for such sales through June 20, 2014, and also accrued 1.5 percent in monthly interest penalties totaling $39,520 through June 2014, SCCC said in its legal papers.

The college maintains Dover continued to withhold payments and refused to pay or report fees or commissions due on debit and credit card sales through June 2015 in an amount college officials say totaled $58,000, plus penalties. The penalties will continue to accrue until the commissions are paid, SCCC said.

SCCC removed Dover as cafeteria operator at the start of the 2015-16 school year because of complaints about service and food selection, school officials said. The college replaced Dover, after a request for proposals, with Aramark Educational Services LLC, which provides food service at 2,200 colleges and schools nationally. At the same time, the college implemented a $200-a-year meal plan fee.

Dover Gourmet Corp., a related company, came under fire from Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen last month. Gillen criticized a five-year contract extension for Dover Gourmet as operator of popular Malibu Beach Park, saying the agreement would shortchange taxpayers by $169,000 a year. The company disputed Gillen's assertion.

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