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Sustainable Playland President Steps Down After Tax Issues Revealed

Two of the founders of the organization chosen to revamp Playland resigned after information on the back taxes they owe were publicized.

Two leaders of the non-profit organization the county executive chose to renovate and redesign Playland have stepped down from their position after a local paper published information on back taxes they owe.

Dhruv Narain, the president of Sustainable Playland Inc. (SPI)  and his wife Sandhya Subbarao, a board member, are about $233,249 behind on their city and school district property tax payments, according to SPI spokesperson Geoff Thompson and the Chris Falcone’s article in The Sound Shore Review. The money is owed from 2009, 2011 and 2012 and Narain is working with the city to pay the debt, Thompson said.

Narain and Subbarao, own two adjoining properties at 4 and 6 Martin Butler Court, bought in 2007 and worth nearly $9.2 million combined, according to Falcone’s article. Narain had a lien placed on his property in 2009 and 2011 due to $145,000 in unpaid property taxes, Falcone reports.

Narain has been in ongoing, cooperative discussions with the city and has agreed to have all matters settled by next spring, SPI public relations manager Geoff Thompson said. He made a payment of $387,000 towards the debt over the last two years, Thompson said.

“His personal real estate taxes have nothing to do with Sustainable Playland,” Thompson said of Narain. “He and his wife are very committed to seeing the SPI dream and concept come true and they didn’t want to hurt that in any way. They felt the tax issue was being made an issue and they voluntarily stepped aside and resigned from the board and he resigned as president of organization so that SPI can stay focused on what it is doing.”

Two weeks ago, Nairan joined county executive Rob Astornio at a celebratory press conference to sign a letter of intent for SPI and the county to enter into a 10-year management agreement, which includes a $34 million renovation of Playland. SPI was chosen from among 12 applicants who submitted a vision to revitalize Playland.

Narain currently works as the managing director and co-head of the restructuring group at Goldman Sachs, and was volunteering his time to SPI. He, Subbarao and Rye resident Peter Rukeyser founded SPI in 2010 when the county first sought management proposals for Playland.

“Mr. Narain and his wife have done a tremendous job and given a lot in terms of their own personal time, investment of their own money and organizing the group. They are integral to the entire concept that is now up and running,” Thompson said.

Board members Peter Rukeyser and Kim Morque will now serve as co-presidents of the organization. The board hopes to expand and aims to have the management agreement in place by the end of the year, according to Thompson.

To read more about Sustainable Playland’s plan, click here.

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Do you think Narain and Subbarao should have resigned? Tell us in the comments. 

Demoralized Citizen October 27, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Plenty of people, rich and not rich, found their homes underwater when the great recession hit. This property tax situation was in the public record and disclosed in the bidding process. If you understand how public-private partnerships work, you this was a red herring. Even if you think getting behind on taxes reflects on their ability to run Playland, an independent management company (which currently runs Bryant park in NYC) not SPI will oversee the various independent contractor companies who would operate the different parts of the park. They are not running for political office or making any money from this. The only effect of this story was to personally humiliate them and the only purpose, to wound SPI’s reputation rather than challenge its proposal on the merits. They got caught in the middle of a petty political fight between the Country Executive and the Board of Legislators (where whatever one side supports the other automatically opposes). The only crime here is character assassination, probably by a disgruntled losing bidder or one of their political patrons. Sound Shore Review (--a paper that exists mainly to sell ad space to hair salons) allowed their journalist to be used as a political sock puppet. With these kinds of dirty tricks, you can seldom prove who was behind it even though you can hear their wristwatch ticking when the sock puppet speaks. But watch who tries to take advantage of the story to wound SPI and then you'll know.
Tea Leaves October 27, 2012 at 11:01 PM
Sound Shore review did their job. Why attack them... it was news worthy. The fault lies with the politicians who hid behind their sealed rfp's for months, then rushed out to congratulate one another without doing their due diligence that whole time. It is simply amateurish on the part of the County Executive and the Mayor of Rye (and has a bunch of his own tax warrant issues). If they knew about this as they said they did, they are either asinine or think we are all morons. The system is all over these people. They will either pay up or lose their properties, as it should be. No bailouts here. I am just glad they immediately did the right thing once it came to light (ever heard of Benghazi... in principle). The mayor of Rye was caught red-handed and had to repay the county for ten years of illegal school tax exemptions earlier this year. Why is he still in office? If you do not like the Playland plan by all means stand up and be heard. It is far from perfect. At the end of the day, this was a failure of leadership. No excuses. Just keeping the focus where it belongs. As for the Port Chester guy, you live in a village where each individual get six votes for village trustee. Take care of business in your own little banana republic before you go bringing your tired bs class warfare elsewhere. Rye folks do plenty of donating of time, money and food to the Carver Center for example and other much needed charities in your community. Fool.
Demoralized Citizen October 28, 2012 at 12:24 AM
Responsible media balances personal privacy against the public right to know. These were not candidates for public office. These were not bidders with a personal financial interest. They were not personally going to be operating Playland. So again, what is the relevance. Why is that news? How interesting that you slide so quickly from defending this shoddy story straight to beating up on politicians you oppose (who happen to support Playland). Why raise the Rye mayors tax history (completely off point to Playland)? Kind of proves my point about the real political motivation here don't you think. You may prefer to allow a different bunch of Yonkers pols to hand the key over to their favorite mobbed-up amusement park operator. You are entitled. My point was simply that, however, much I disagree with someone’s position I don't get to hack their computer to see what embarrassing web sites they visit, dig into whether their spouse is cheating on them, whether they ever failed to file an IRS return or have kids with drug problems. Reputational rape is repulsive (and in certain of the examples I gave, thankfully, illegal). More to the point, none of it would have any bearing on the merits of whatever future for Playland you support. The more you try and defend this story and what you think says about politicians you dislike, the more I hear that ticking watch.
Demoralized Citizen October 28, 2012 at 12:34 AM
I also meant to add, ditto on Portchester guy.
Tea Leaves October 29, 2012 at 05:08 AM
DC, I do not defend this story. I defend the right of the news media to print stories like this. They did not print rumor. They did not slander. They went to the public record. It is fair game. I wouldn't have done it, they did. Get over it. We are still a free nation with a free press (kinda). Also: the Rye mayor cheated the star tax system and coughed up a ton of dough for it... we don't know any other elected members of Rye that have done that. There is no public record of those acts, but there are for those of the mayor. I like the facts, all the facts. He didn't pay his personal income taxes either, twice. This too is part of the public record. And its relevant considering the mayor, as the head of the legislature, can create, amend or repeal laws and craft budgets taxes. The SPI folks were private citizens trying to help the community. Irrelevant to me but maybe not to others. It does highlight the hypocrisy of the mayor and the stupidity of the county executive. The two SPI people didn't deserve this kind of public expose... the politicians should have know better. That sounds funny, but its true. Astorino has to take the hit, he's a thousand times smarter than Frenk. At least we saw eye to eye on the Port Chester guy.

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