Doug Manor ex-operator clears debt

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Robert Santucci, who ran Douglaston Manor for 21 years before leaving this month, said he actually had owed about $6,700 to the Parks Department for the last three years. Santucci said he was offered the newest contract for Douglaston Manor, but turned it down.

A new concessionaire, Tommy Chan of Flushing, took over the catering hall Monday.

Santucci - a Long Island resident who also has some real estate holdings - said he chose to stay on an extra two weeks in January to accommodate previously scheduled weddings and bridal parties.

Douglaston Manor uses city-owned land in exchange for fees, taxes and a certain portion of its revenue. The restaurant and catering hall have been at the intersection of Commonwealth Boulevard and Marathon Parkway since 1980. It shares the space with the Douglaston Golf Course.

Hevesi accused the restaurant in November 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.

Hevesi did not return a phone call requesting comment.

A spokeswoman for the city Parks Department confirmed the agency had settled its debt with Santucci and collected an undisclosed amount of money. The spokeswoman would not name the amount Parks had collected from Santucci or say whether or not it was close to what Hevesi had described.

Santucci, whose contract with the city expired Oct. 31, has been working on a monthly basis. The longtime operator of Douglaston Manor said he was recently offered a contract to run the restaurant but declined because it was only a three-year lease.

"I took Douglaston Manor when it was closed for six years," he said Monday. "I put myself in hock for that place - we never made a profit."

The actual debt from the April 2000 audit, Santucci said, turned out to be about $2,200 a year. A previous audit three years earlier, he said, showed that Douglaston Manor owed about $3,600.

"The new owners - good luck to them," said Santucci, who said he would probably not pursue another city concession.

Updated 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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