The cast has changed at the financially troubled Players Club: Executive Director John Martello, who served the club for nearly 20 years, resigned this week, according to a statement issued by the club's board.
The private, theater-centric club at 16 Gramercy Park has been struggling to meet its costs within the last year, according to numerous reports.
A board meeting on Wednesday night was perceived by members and some former members as decisive in determining the club's leadership and future.
The statement about the resignation said nothing about the club's finances. A press conference is planned for Monday.
Mr. Martello didn't respond to multiple requests for comment, nor did members of the Players Club's executive committee.
Members are forbidden from speaking to the press about the club, but bartender Joe Canela, a 10-year employee and union shop steward, said that by Thursday, once word had spread, the mood at the club was celebratory.
"There were a lot of toasts. People were relieved and hugging," he said. "The main thing people were saying was that now they had a chance to get the club back."
A group of members initiated a financial audit committee in October 2011.
Their findings, which were reported to the club at a March 14 meeting, show a once-august institution having trouble paying its bills, raising revenue and maintaining a consistent membership base, which is said to be about 600.
The exit of one leader may enable a change in policies but there are still many financial issues to solve.
Last year, the Players Club's leadership moved to sell a painting by John Singer Sargent to fund repairs to the crumbling facade of its townhouse (which is currently under construction).
According to the organization's audit committee, the painting was ultimately used as collateral on a $250,000 loan at 24% interest.
The club is currently facing a $26,000 penalty for temporary failure to pay its workers' compensation insurance, according to a spokeswoman for the New York State Workers' Compensation Board.
Founded in 1888 by a group that included Mark Twain and the star Shakespearean of his day, Edwin Booth (brother of John Wilkes Booth), the club is located in Booth's former residence.
As for the club's next act, former member Doug Gerbino, who was expelled in 2012 for talking to the press, said: "I hope this is a healing process."
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A version of this article appeared April 6, 2013, on page A17 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: A Leader Resigns From Players Club.
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