Westchester County has formally notified attorneys for Standard Amusements, the company which had been in contract to take over operation of the Playland Amusement Park in Rye, that as far as Westchester is concerned, Standard’s breaches of that contract cannot be rectified.
A May 28-dated letter was sent from Westchester County Attorney John M. Nonna to two law firms in Manhattan representing Standard Amusements. May 28 is when County Executive George Latimer said cancellation of the Playland contract would become effective.
The Business Journal obtained a copy of the letter in which Nonna states that Standard Amusements for months failed to fix material breaches of the contract and did not engage in good faith negotiations with the county.
Nonna said that a letter from Standard Amusements dated May 23, 2019, and emailed to Benjamin Boykin, chairman of the County Board of Legislators along with County Executive Latimer was an “eleventh-hour ultimatum” and had a wholly unreasonable demand that within 24 hours the county accept its undefined offer to cure its contract breaches.
“Standard has not put a single dollar into tangible improvements at Playland,” Nonna wrote. He said that Standard has not provided the county with documents it is obligated to provide. He said that the company’s filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on May 27 “confirms that the company is a severely undercapitalized entity completely unable to perform its obligations under the agreement (Playland contract) to invest $27.75 million in capital improvements – let alone pay its employees and litigation expenses.”
Nonna wrote that after the county delivered a letter to Standard Amusements last December explaining why the company was in material breach of the Playland contract, “Standard launched a public relations attack on the county and Playland that was aimed at sabotaging the success of the park.”
Nonna said that the company hired two public relations firms that made and planted false stories in the media claiming that there were problems at the park related to food safety and ride safety.
“The county cannot possibly trust a supposed ‘partner’ that has refused to invest under the agreement, concealed its failure to invest, and shown itself to be unable to invest. Nor can the county trust a company that has systematically tried to prevent the success of the park after getting caught red-handed,” Nonna wrote.
“Even if Standard were to offer to cure its various material breaches of the agreement, the company would still be in irreparable breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing that inheres in every contract under New York law,” Nonna wrote to Standard Amusements’ attorneys.