Rye Golf Club members are “disgusted,” “outraged,” and “upset” at the recent revelation that tips intended for employees at Whitby Castle have been going to the club to offset operating costs.
Members asked the RGC commission how much gratuity-generated revenue the club collected in recent years, and some suggested that money should be retroactively allocated to the employees for whom they were intended. The commission explained they were never asked about, nor did they approve, that policy and it was an action taken by the general manager on his own.
“I am very upset about this gratuity thing,” said one member. “That’s despicable,” he added as another member called it “fraud.”
The information was first revealed during the Oct. 9 RGC Commission budget meeting, which was called to discuss the budget but turned into a discussion of allegations regarding the general manager, Scott Yandrasevich. Based on billing documents from RGC, members have accused Yandrasevich of misappropriating funds and having a conflict of interest with the staffing agency he hired to service the club. Last Wednesday, the city council put Yandrasevich on a 30-day administrative leave and police are investigating the allegations. Yandrasevich is currently on a planned vacation to Italy, according to City Manager Scott Pickup.
At Whitby Castle, many members use a credit member account to pay bills, according to Business Administrator Angela Runco. Members say they often tip anywhere from 15 to 25 percent on dining bills. One member said he has personally spent thousands on regular 25 percent gratuity for meals and more on two larger private parties in recent years.
Last night, the commission confirmed the club saw $1.9 million in food and beverage revenue at Whitby Castle this year, including special events and catering. One member in the crowd who said he was rounding down, calculated that the club likely made approximately $100,000 in gratuity-generated revenue.
Members said that there was no notification on menus or bills to inform them tips go back to the club.
“I want to make it clear to the membership that as a commission, we were never asked about that policy,” commission member John Duffy said. Yandrasevich made that decision on his own, Duffy said.
The City Manager told Duffy that they could change that policy with a vote.
Another member urged the commission to carefully consider New York Wage and Hour law before retroactively making payments to employees, or changing their policies.
“Virtually every club in the county takes some (gratuity) back to payroll,” he said. The crowd murmured back that Whitby is open to the public so it is different.
Other members asked the commission to consider the likely loss of revenue since people will no longer tip knowing it goes back to the club.
City councilman Joe Sack, who was one of the three council members present at the meeting, told the crowd that the council’s investigation will cover the gratuity issue, but that no answers were available while the investigation is pending.
Also at the meeting, the commissioners voiced their opinions on the recent allegations and investigation of Yandrasevich. Most apologized, expressed disappointment and said they hope the public does not assume guilt before due process. They also reviewed the 2013 budget proposal and the commission and council discussed the $300 dining minimum and other concerns. Read more on the meeting on Patch this week.
Did you know tips did not go to employees, but to the club? What do you think about how tips are handled at the club? Tell us in the comments.