As a Long Island restaurateur remains jailed on federal bribery and fraud charges, customers who paid deposits for events at one of his now-shuttered waterfront New York City restaurants are wondering what will happen to their money.
Harendra Singh, who runs the Bethpage-based Singh Hospitality Group, which has been operating since 1990 and has facilities in Queens and on Long Island, was arrested in September, and now the future of his restaurants is in question.
Singh's properties include H.R. Singleton's in Bethpage, Poco Loco in Roslyn, The Woodlands at the Greens in Woodbury and Melville and Water's Edge Restaurant in Queens, among other establishments.
The Water's Edge in Long Island City boasts breathtaking skyline views of Manhattan from across the East River, and has been a popular event and party destination. Before Singh's arrest, Dahlia and Ighal Bahar planned their daughter's engagement party there, securing a March date with a $1,500 deposit.
But the restaurant closed its doors last month, leaaving the Bahars wondering about their party and deposit.
"It's my daughter's engagement and we saved up," said mother Dahlia Bahar. "We work so hard, and we want to celebrate."
Barhar's search for answers led to the Bethpage offices of SIngh, but repeated calls brought no answers.
"It's frustrating. It's very painful. You don't want to think you will lose the money," she said.
Signs outside the Water's Edge say the restaurant is under construction and will reopen soon with new management. And that's what Singh's office told NBC 4 New York -- but there was so sign of construction at the restaurant.
"I'm crying here," said Bahar. "I don't want to think I lost the money. It's not fair."
The Bahars believe they're not alone, but a source close to Singh told NBC 4 the restaurant will be reopening in the near future and has every intention of honoring scheduled events.
But without definitive answers in the meantime, Ighal Bahar wants Singh to pay up.
"He has the money. At least pay the people after all he did. That's the least he could do," he said.