Gramercy Park Block Association - Neighborhood News #401
"People elect the government they deserve"
The Tragedy at The Players
For those who still cannot fathom how The Players has fallen into $4 million in debt and has come to be in "imminent danger of closing," all you need to know is the following:

1) Johnnie Planco, who was  president of the club while most of the debt accrued,  INCREDIBLY and TRAGICALLY has just been RE-ELECTED PRESIDENT by The Players board.  Based on his record, Planco has shown himself to be a man with few leadership skills and little business acumen.

2) The club does not have a business plan to begin solving their startling debt, and goes deeper into debt by many thousands each month.

All our many offers of support were contingent on Planco's removal and putting a realistic detailed business plan in place. Sadly neither has happened.   The Players board has made a clear statement by re-electing Planco. We believe they have chosen Planco over the survival of the club. As more disturbing financial details are revealed, there is nothing more we can do but watch this continuing tragedy unfold.

Please see a recent e-mail below from Planco titled "The Transparency Plan: The Promise" and read some of his ludicrous comments.

Dear Fellow Player,

This is an impassioned plea to all Players and lovers of our clubhouse for really big bucks ASAP.
All who heard or have heard about the frank Financial Report from our new Treasurer, Giacomo Selloni, have learned the good new and the bad news. We have promised to be open and not sugarcoat the truth. Most of us Players claim to be grown ups or at least will try to appear to be.
So here goes!
Top Priorities

1. Tax Lien
Back on May 17, 2013 the New York City Dept. of Finance sold a tax lien "for nonpayment of taxes, and/or water and sewer charges, other assessments and the interest accrued on these charges." The total lien amount was $251,494.82 and it was sold to MTAG Services, LLC. The date of the letter from NYC is June 28, 2013. Foreclosure can begin one year after the sale date or we don't pay the semi-annual interest on the lien sale amount within 30 days after it is due. We have not been notified when that date is. It seems that we haven't made a payment on the payment plan entered in October 2011 with NYC in almost a year and that is why our lien was sold.
2. Union Issues.
As of May 31, 2013 we owed over $190,000.00 in past due contributions to the Union Health Benefits and Pension Plan Account. No payment has been made since July, 2012. Interest and penalties push this closer to $250,000.00. There is an upcoming arbitration hearing for the matter on Aug. 1 of this year. We will know more about where this stands then.

There is also the matter of union dues that were never forwarded to the union. As of March, 2013 the amount we owed was over $136,000.00.              

We must set up a payment plan to set this situation to rights, and to be sure we don't allow it to happen again.  And, we need to negotiate a new contract.

3. Reclaim the Sargent painting.
We must raise approximately $315,000 by August 13th for The Players to retain control of the painting.  This will enable us to sell the painting for future debts and not lose it to the current loan company.  Through your donations we have made the July 13th installment of $7,470.00. We continue to raise donations but we may not have enough time. We have been in contact with and it is possible to extend the payment due date. It will, as I am sure you can guess, going to cost us to do so.
4. Complete the facade restoration.
This will take approximately $325,000. A payment of approximately $56,000.00 will get the work started again. We're looking for an "Angel."
5. Repair the elevator.
Approximately: $5,000 plus $1,600 owed on maintenance agreement. Donations have been secured and the work should begin early this week.
6. Repair the air conditioning.
Approximately: $16,000. COMPLETED!  With funds donated by membership we were able to put down a deposit to get the job started. The original estimate came in more than 25% cheaper but a number of issues (mainly due to lack of maintenance and corner-cutting on the previous installation) caused the costs to rise. The largest overrun was due to contamination of the Freon in the system because necessary filters were never installed. This alone cost us more than $3600 because Freon costs $60/lb. and the system takes more than 60 lbs.
7. Back Sales Taxes
We owe NYS for unpaid sales taxes 11/30/2012 through 2/28/2013. The amount is $37,230.86. With interest and penalties of $9601.71 the total owed (and it continues to accrue) is $46,832.57. An installment payment agreement has been entered into. We would be making 44 payments of $1500 and the estimated additional penalty & interest accruing during the life of the IPA is $18,552.26.
8. Vendors
We can't even begin to give an accurate total as we owe so many people and companies for the food we serve, the linens and uniforms we used to launder, service calls, etc. gone unpaid for. Let's just say it totals in the mid five figures. We are paying many vendors C.O.D.
9. Prioritize all other outstanding debts by interest payments to lower our ongoing costs and debts a quickly as possible.
We will need contributions from inside and outside the club to facilitate these issues.
This not only the business of the officers and the Board, it is all of our business and we can only make this happen by working together.  Giacomo has promised to set up separate account for each of these obligations and report on them regularly.
Johnnie Planco