Standard Amusements, the private operator who won the contract from the former Astorino administration to run Playland only to have it voided by current county boss George Latimer, filed for bankruptcy Tuesday.
It's just the latest in the ongoing Playland saga.
This latest salvo appears to be a Hail Mary by Standard (or in reality the larger holding company and assorted investors) to buy some time versus throwing in the towel. As for county boss Latimer, he put out a three line statement via his office Tuesday: “We have been notified that Standard Amusements has filed for bankruptcy. Our legal team will continue to address this matter as it will now be dealt with by the bankruptcy court. At this point we are continuing to focus on Playland having a vibrant and successful 2019 season.”
Here are excerpts from LoHud and Bloomberg:
"The would-be manager of Playland amusement park filed for bankruptcy yesterday, one day before Westchester County planned to kill the company’s contract to run the park.
Standard Amusements said in a Chapter 11 filing that without the contract it would lose its only source of revenue. It's asking the court for a stay during reorganization that would block the county from terminating its deal "or otherwise taking steps that would frustrate SA's preservation of the Agreement."…
As part of the deal, Standard was to invest more than $27 million and Westchester had to invest at least another $30 million as landlords. Latimer took issue with the contract, which said the county didn't share profits until Standard made that investment back. The company had to make upfront payments and an annual management fee starting at $300,000…
In court records, Standard reported spending more than $9 million to date.
The company owes $529,000 to 18 debtors, the bankruptcy filing said. This includes $178,000 owed to law firm Quinn Emanuel and $145,000 to AtelierNY Architecture, a firm based in Long Island City, Queens. It listed total liabilities at more than $705,000, including accrued payroll and $112,000 owed to Standard’s parent company United Parks.
The investors behind the company have been a point of contention for the Latimer administration.
The bankruptcy filings reveal that 90 percent of the company is owned by United Parks Holdings, which also controls Daytona Lagoon waterpark in Daytona, Florida, and Hydro Adventures in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. Ten percent of the company is owned by an unaffiliated company called Dragon Partners LLC.
The United Parks Holdings company is owned by United Parks LLC. Standard is managed by a company called PCI UP, which is owned by Singer and holds a majority interest in United Parks. There is also another investment company Jadian UP Holdings LLC with indirect ownership.
“SA’s investors remain committed to continue funding SA although such funding is expressly conditioned on the Agreement remaining in full force and effect,” Singer said in his declaration. “If there is a successful resolution of SA’s disputes with the County, funding to SA by its investors will be automatically restored.”"
Read the rest on LoHud.
"Standard Amusements LLC, controlled by Standard General co-founder Nicholas Singer, listed assets up to $500,000 and liabilities up to $1 million in its petition filed in the Southern District of New York. The company’s principal asset is a contract with Westchester County, which was supposed to allow it to take control of the park, located in Rye on the Long Island Sound…
Standard Amusements was founded in 2011 for the sole purpose of managing and operating Playland. It entered a contract with the county in 2015 that called for a total of $27.75 million in investments from the company.
“Acting on its repeated threats to walk away from the agreement, the county has willfully breached its performance obligations,” Singer said in the declaration. Without the contract, Standard Amusements “would lose access to its only source of future revenue and its rights under a contract it negotiated and has performed in good faith,” he said…
Singer, who still owns his childhood home in Harrison, New York and now lives in Miami, said Playland was for many years the “center of the universe'' for him and his family. They went to the amusement park, spent beach days there and ice skated in the winter, according to the declaration.
Prior to his involvement with Standard Amusements, Singer co-founded Cyrus Capital Partners LP and Standard General, where he focused on distressed assets. His work investing in amusement parks while at Standard General, combined with a background in distressed assets and his personal history with the park is what led him to form Standard Amusements, he said in the declaration…
“This agreement has Westchester taxpayers on the hook for $125 million dollars with Standard committed for $27.5 million,” County Executive Latimer said in the statement. “The County’s relationship with Standard Amusements must come to a close. We cannot have confidence in Standard Amusements based on its actions.”
The case is: Standard Amusements LLC, 19-23061-rdd, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Southern District of New York (White Plains)"
Read the rest on Bloomberg.