Long Island City restaurant and wedding venue Water's Edge closed last week after unpaid employees walked out, according to Newsday. It's not a total surprise — owner Harendra Singh was hit with 13 bribery, fraud, and obstruction charges in September after an FBI investigation, and many wedding vendors had already stopped doing business with the venue after receiving bounced checks.
Singh, who mostly owns restaurants in suburban Long Island, was indicted for underreporting some $17 million in sales and wages to the IRS and falsely applying for nearly $1 million in Superstorm Sandy relief money that Water's Edge didn't need, according to a release from the FBI. He also owed some $2 million in rent for the popular waterfront venue.
Water's Edge continued to operate after his arrest in early September, but he apparently stopped paying employees to run it — meaning four to five weeks and thousands of dollars in unpaid wages. Couples who had put down deposits for weddings also said they were struggling to get thousands of dollars in cash back, according to Gothamist.
Singh's attorney told Newsday in a statement that everything will be running again soon. The restauranteur does plan to pay employees and vendors back, the attorney said, the restaurant is simply undergoing minor renovations. Singh is under house arrest after pleading not guilty to the charges. But a former manager at the restaurant was not so sure about a reopening: "It's officially shut down," the former manager told Newsday. "Everybody is owed money. Purveyors are owed money, and employees are owed money. And he ain't paying."