Maragos slams county on contract

The Nassau County parks department failed to properly administer and supervise licensing agreements with a food vendor, which cost county taxpayers $430,989, an audit released by County Comptroller George Maragos found.

The audit, which covers January 2013 through May 2015, showed that Dover Gourmet Corp., which provides catering, vending and concession services at county parks, never finished $295,635 worth of improvements at Nickerson Beach and other county parks.

The department did not bill Dover $22,800 in unpaid late charges, too, the audit shows.

“The Parks Department’s informal relationship with Dover resulted in significant lost revenue opportunities,” said Maragos, who is running for county executive as a Democrat. “The Parks Department should now make every effort to recover the uncollected revenues and obtain legislature approvals for all unauthorized catering services received.”

Dover currently has two licensing agreements with the county — one with the parks department, which granted exclusive rights to provide its services at county parks, and one to provide vending and concession services at county office buildings.

Efforts to reach Dover were unavailing.

The audit says the parks department “did not levy liquidated damages against Dover for repeated incidents of noncompliance such as late payments, nonpayments of late fees and nonsubmission of aggregate reports.”

“The comptroller’s claims are politically motivated to grab headlines and were completely disputed by both the parks department and vendor,” said Mary Studdert, a Nassau County parks spokeswoman.

The audit also accused Dover of not paying monthly license fees in a timely manner to the department, and underreporting cash sales receipts, which “resulted in nonpayment of over $11K in New York sales tax and over $27K in loss of fee revenues to the County.”

It also showed that Dover did not have the department’s approval for using the county’s seal for advertising its business. 

The audit suggested the parks department “ensure that Dover submit monthly gross sales receipts,” bill Dover for the $22,800 in late charges; bill Dover $27,075 for underreporting fee revenues; bill Dover for $1,402 in catering fees that were originally underpaid; and review other statements for accuracy.

By Stephen Romano

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Stephen Romano

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