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.

3 thoughts on “Players director John Martello resigns

  1. Just informing you that one of the new places that you mentioned in your paper, Bajiang (14th street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenue), have their bicyclist flying on the sidewalk. As I came out of the Duane Reede store this individual flew by me. I was so irate I stormed into the store, to reprimand the individual. Not only were they lacking any sense of sympathy, but another individual mocked me with, “call the police”. A man came over to shush me and closed the door. So, why not introduce us to neighbors who are respectful and want their neighbors to join them.

  2. Many fine members were driven away by the people who set about wrecking Mr. Booth’s club back in the late 1990s and 2000s. It is good to hear that the wreckers are themselves now being driven out. I only hope that the damage they did to this great gentleman’s club can be overcome, and that the club and its reputation can be restored.

  3. A sad tale of malfeasance and incompetence. One wonders why did the board of this club do nothing to stop it. “After almost 20 years” indeed!

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