Today’s news:

New operator for Douglaston Manor

By Kathianne Boniello

The city Parks Department has chosen a new concessionaire for Douglaston Manor catering hall after City Comptroller Alan Hevesi accused the current operator in November of under-reporting his income and failing to pay the city nearly $50,000 in fees.

Led by Tommy Chan, who has run a concession at the Olmstead Center cafeteria in Flushing for about four years, Douglaston Manor International was slated to take over the catering hall on Jan. 22, a Parks Department spokeswoman said last week. Douglaston Manor uses city-owned land in exchange for fees, taxes and a certain portion of its revenue.

The spokeswoman said Chan, who also operates a number of food carts around the city, was in “great standing with Parks” and submitted the best proposal the department had received while it was searching for a new concessionaire for the site.

Chan’s proposal for Douglaston Manor includes plans to maintain it as a restaurant and catering hall that would continue to host weddings and parties, the Parks Department said. Chan said he would honor arrangements for events already booked at Douglaston Manor, such as weddings.

Hevesi accused the restaurant of hiding an estimated $526,000 worth of income from the city after a surprise audit conducted in April 2000. The restaurant, Hevesi said, failed to pay nearly $50,000 in fees on the allegedly hidden income.

The restaurant’s contract with the city expired Oct. 31. Its owner, Robert Santucci, denied the comptroller’s charges in the days after they became public and said the catering hall had “fully satisfied” all the city’s requirements.

Douglaston Manor has been at the intersection of Commonwealth Boulevard and Marathon Parkway since 1980. It shares the space with the Douglaston Golf Course.

A resident of Fresh Meadows, Chan said he would keep everything at Douglaston Manor the same — such as lobster night every Thursday — and retain its employees.

“We’re going to keep it as it is,” said Chan, who has 30 years experience in the restaurant and catering business. “When I saw an opportunity to take over Douglaston Manor, I put in a bid.”

After a few months, Chan said, he would work to expand the restaurant’s menu and pursue developing a signature steak for Douglaston Manor.

“We’ll improve the service and quality of food and give people what they want,” Chan said.

Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.

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