Gillen says vendor operating without official contract at Lido Beach hall

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Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen, left, said that Dover Sands Inc. operated without an official contract at town catering hall the Sands on Lido Beach. (Photo courtesy of the Town of Hempstead)

Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen said she has ordered a vendor currently under investigation by law enforcement agencies to cease operating at the Sands on Lido Beach catering hall at the town’s Lido Beach. Gillen said that there is no official contract and events are rarely hosted there.

Gillen said at a news conference Tuesday that Dover Gourmet, which is in litigation with the town after Gillen criticized an alleged oral agreement between Dover Chief Executive Butch Yamali and then town Parks Commissioner Daniel Lino over rent payments, set up a separate entity known as Dover Sands Inc. to operate the Lido Beach facility.

Gillen said that Dover Gourmet Corp. is currently under investigation by local and federal law enforcement agencies and owes the town over $800,000 in rent.

“My office has discovered that this vendor does not even have a contract to be operating this private concession hall at Sands Lido,” Gillen said. “There is nothing in place protecting the town and the town taxpayers from potential liability at this facility should anything occur.”

Dover Sands Inc. made a deal with the town in January 2011 to confirm that the company would be in charge of catering in the hall, Gillen said. However, Gillen said that all that the town clerk’s office could find of this agreement was a February 2011 letter from the parks department acknowledging that Dover Sands Inc. was allowed to use the facility for 30 months with the town receiving 10 percent of gross sales revenue.

Gillen said that it is illegal under state law to authorize this kind of contract without a properly executed deal or vote by the Town Board.

Gillen said that after asking for payment records at the Lido Beach hall from the town comptroller’s office “month after month” her office finally received the records.

In 2018, the town received slightly over $20,000 for holding eight events for the year, and in 2019 the town received $11,000 from four events, Gillen said. In these two years, the town received about 6 percent of the vendor’s gross sales revenue rather than the agreed upon 10 percent, Gillen said.

She said that she will send records she has discovered to law enforcement agencies investigating Dover Gourmet Corp.

Gillen called the venue an “incredible asset of the town” that is valued at slightly over $66 million and said that taxpayers are getting “pennies on the dollar” for the catering hall.

Gillen said that her office has put out an expressions of interest request to find ways of revitalizing the catering hall, which Gillen said is underutilized.

According to Newsday, Brian Finegan, a spokesman for Yamali, said Tuesday that Dover does have a contract and insurance to operate Sands and is up to date on payments owed to the town.

“The supervisor would be well served to review town records before attacking a well-respected vendor who has provided four decades of quality services to Hempstead residents,” Finnegan told Newsday.

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