April 18, 2013
Dear Board of Directors of The Players:
Who am I, and why I am writing to you
I am President and Founder of the 2,000-member Gramercy Park Block Association, a Trustee of Gramercy Park, and for the past 35 years have been the leader of the Gramercy Park community. As a Park Trustee I am a fiduciary to the 39 Lot Owner buildings (including The Players) situated on the lots facing the Park, which are part of Samuel B. Ruggles' 1831 Gramercy Park Trust. I'm also responsible for bringing in over 200 members into The Players, most of whom have left due to "incompetent management" and "decline in services." I feel it is my responsibility now to voice my concerns about the club's future directly to you.
Calling on the Board to do the right thing and act now!!
In recent weeks, current club members, former members, Board members, former Board members, club employees, former employees, and neighbors here on Gramercy Park have expressed to me sadness and outrage over how the Executive Committee and the Executive Director have allowed this club to come to "close to $3 million in debt" and in "imminent danger of closing." Most have indicated that they feel it is "the Executive Committee who are responsible", and they must resign now, or be removed for the club to have any chance of survival.
"Would-Be Saviors, but Only if Leaders Leave"
In recent weeks, since the media reported the sad state of affairs at The Players (thanks to the March 14th meeting and the excellent and thorough Financial Audit Committee report
, attached), offers have come to me from
people around the country (and Europe) wanting to help get the club on the road to financial health. However, no one is interested in doing so until they see those they feel are directly responsible for the problem (the Executive Committee) removed.
We have heard from many that the Executive Committee and Executive Director have kept you, the Board of Directors, out of the loop regarding major issues. However, now that you have been made aware of the club's grave state of affairs, it is your responsibility as fiduciaries to the club to act now to "Save The Players."
In making your decision to ask the Executive Committee to resign (or to remove them), please consider the questions below that people feel they should be held accountable for
Why did their March 6th letter to members seeking proxies state that the Financial Audit Committee was not sanctioned by the management when in fact it was?
Can the Executive Committee explain why they voted unanimously to retain John Martello as Executive Director even though the overwhelming majority of members attending voted to dismiss him?
Why weren't members informed of the March 14th vote and its results?
Why did the Executive Committee not send a recap of the meeting to the membership meeting despite vital issues that were discussed?
Is it true that Mr. Fenniman said the reason the building facade work had ceased was because they were "waiting for good weather" when in fact it ceased "due to lack of funds" as Mr. Planco said to the press.
When do you plan to tell the membership whether there was any severance pay given to Martello?
Why did the Executive Committee not inform the board or employees that the club had been operating without workman's comp for a period of 5 months, which was in violation of the law?
Who is paying the $26,000 in fines for the workman's comp insurance "slipping between the cracks"? The law says the fines should be paid by the president, treasurer and secretary. Are you planning to hold them responsible or are you planning to pass these fines off to members?
Is it true that the Employee's Holiday Fund was withheld this year for two months and that during that time money was borrowed from it to pay for wages?
Arlene S. Harrison
The Gramercy Park Block Association
34 Gramercy Park East
New York, NY 10003