At a tense private meeting held by the Knickerbocker Yacht Club's Board of Governors last Monday night Jan. 19, with over 30 members in attendance, the Board voted to close the club after 135 years of successful operation. Regardless of warnings by its current treasurer that the club's expenditures were exceeding its income, complete corrective measures were never taken.

Knickerbocker Yacht Club, founded in 1874, was the proud sponsor of the Knickerbocker Cup Match Races held each year on Manhasset Bay.

An in depth oral and written presentation was made to the board by me, as a last ditch effort to save the club. My proposal was doomed from the start. The board admitted to $200,000 of additional debt, which I wasn't given a statement of.

One board member made a comment. "We should have a forensic accounting," but the response was the club couldn't afford it.

It was surreal; there existed a crowd mentality to close the club. The Commodore suggested during the meeting, we could sell off the real estate, retain the equity from the sale of the club and have a paper Yacht Club. When the vote was taken to either shut down the club or adopt my proposed budget only board members Cheryl Schefer, president of the Woman's Division, P/C Joel Sterling and P/C Norman Schefer voted to adopt my newly proposed budget.

I even offered to privatize the club for the members who wanted it to survive, but the board proceeded forward without open discussion.

I discovered as I was preparing my proposed budget that the club hadn't paid approximately 100 vendors in full over the course of 2008, some general and school taxes hadn't been paid, and January's mortgage payment and interest to bond holders has yet to be paid.

Richard Schefer

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