Players director John Martello resigns

John Martello at the club's Edwin Booth Room last year Photo by Sabina Mollot

John Martello at the club’s Edwin Booth Room last year
Photo by Sabina Mollot

By Sabina Mollot

John Martello, the executive director of The Players, who’s been blamed for the current financial disaster at the Gramercy Park club, has resigned, the club announced today.

In an official statement, Johnnie Planco, club president, said, “After nearly 20 years of serving as executive director of The Players Club, John Martello has resigned from his position. On behalf of the Board of Directors we wish to thank him for his years of service and wish him well on his future endeavors.”

The statement, which came from the club’s vice president, James Fenniman, via email, added that there would be a press briefing on Monday afternoon, but until then, “no further information will be provided.”

The club held a meeting on Wednesday evening that was closed to the press and according to an employee, this is when the decision was made. On March 14, at another meeting, the club’s membership learned through an audit committee that the club was in danger of closing due to allegations of money mismanagement.

As Town & Village has previously reported, Martello is being criticized by members and former members as well as employees for giving away memberships and spaces for events that could have earned the club $3,500. The club’s seven-member executive committee has also come under fire for having relationships with the institution that could be considered a conflict of interest. Two sell insurance to the club and another has employed Martello as a New York Film Academy teacher. As has also been reported by T&V, club members kept propping up the club for years whenever there was some sort of financial emergency through large loans and gifts. One loan from a member was for $2 million. One gift, from a former member, for fixing up an office was $60,000. Another member repaired the water-damaged Grill Room after an oversized ceiling panel came crashing down during a dinner.

Martello has said the club was doing poorly because membership took a nosedive during the recession.