The Glen City Council voted on Tuesday to award Kent Monkan, owner of KVM Food Corp., the license to operate the restaurant at the Glen Cove City Golf Course in 2024, subject to negotiations on the terms of a contract.
The council vote was 4 to 2, with Councilwoman Marsha Silverman weighing in against the resolution and Councilwoman Danielle Fugazy Scagliola abstaining. Mayor Pamela Panzenbeck attempted to vote for the resolution, but City Attorney Tip Henderson told Panzenbeck that the city charter prevents a mayor from voting on the sale or release of city-owned property.
For months, North Shore residents have awaited the decision on the city’s request for proposal on the property, which it issued in July. Numerous protests and petitions have advocated for the restaurant’s current leaseholder, Jeanine DiMenna, whose lease for The View Grill expires in February, to receive an extension.
A committee comprising Louis Fugazy Jr., Scott Grupp, Pat Hall, Cherise Kramer, Vincent Hartley, Cynthia Ayres and Lisa Travatello reviewed Monkan’s and DiMenna’s submissions to the RFP, the only two the city received. Yelena Quiles, Glen Cove’s purchasing agent, recommended that the council award the contract to Monkan after meetings with the committee and both applicants.
Councilwoman Barbara Peebles said she voted for Monkan because she trusted the committee’s and Quiles’ recommendations. Peebles added that she had initially advocated for DiMenna’s lease extension, believing the hardship brought on by the coronavirus pandemic affected The View Grill’s business.
Silverman said her vote wasn’t for or against either applicant, but reflected her belief that the process lacked transparency and accountability. She added that she wasn’t given enough information to make an informed decision.
“On Page 12 of the proposal, the request clearly states that the committee will provide the City Council with the list indicating wherein the reasons for its recommendations and selections,” Silverman said. “That did not occur. I do appreciate the members of our finance department who provided the answers they could, but I could not get full reasons for the recommendation and selections.” an claimed that her questions about the investors supporting the applicants had gone unanswered. She asked whether Butch Yamali of the Dover Group, or any of the group’s subsidiaries, were involved with either proposal. Panzenbeck said she had anticipated Silverman’s question, and told her that Yamali and his subsidiaries were not involved.
Fugazy Scagliola abstained, she said, because she knew there were concerns about the fact that her brother, Louis Fugazy Jr., was a member of the committee. She said she trusted Quiles’ recommendation to the city, but added that she believed the RFP was written to keep small proprietors from competing for the license.
At the last council meeting, on Oct. 24 — just two weeks before the mayoral election — residents such as Peter Budraitis expressed their disappointment with the decision’s timeline.
“It’s hard to imagine that such a decision was purely coincidental, and not made so that the record of each of you who voted tonight couldn’t be an influence on the election,” Budraitis said on Tuesday. “When Jeanine (DiMenna) comes back with great success, and she will, don’t any of you dare to take solace that her future success was a result of this decision and likely to have been the best thing to happen to her.”
Budraitis went on to say that the award timeline caused DiMenna and her staff unnecessary hardship, since she was unable to book events for next year.
“I have nothing against (Monkan),” Rachel Bueno, a View Grill employee, said on Tuesday. “What I do have a problem with is, I’ve known since the summer that you guys were already going to pick him. You can say, ‘no, we weren’t, we were going through a process,’ but a lot of people talk, and they hear it from some of you folks sitting up here.”
Bueno added that she was concerned about her colleagues at the restaurant who now face job insecurity, and Silverman suggested to Panzenbeck that the city’s negotiations with Monkan include employing local workers. Panzenbeck said she was in favor of the idea.
Asked how long those negotiations could take, Henderson said he wasn’t sure, and added that they could take days or weeks. If they were to fall through, Henderson said, it would be the council’s decision to either award DiMenna the contract or restart the RFP process.
DiMenna told the Herald that she learned about the proposed resolution last week via a screenshot of the agenda item in a Facebook neighbors’ group. She added that she looked forward to her next business venture.
“I’m extremely disappointed with how the whole process was handled, but I wish Kent the best,” DiMenna said. “I hope he enjoys The View as much as I have.”