Tuesday, June 25, 2024

NY’s Friars Club New Scandal, Board Members in Revolt Over Secret Dealings, with the Same Villains as Before


In the most recent chapter of the legendary Friars Club destruction, I told you that the oprganization had lost its 501 (c) 3 standing a foundation or tax free charity. That followed years of deterioration that I originally started reporting on many years ago.

Remember Bruce Charet? He was the guy who was a self-appointed Friars Club celebrity wrangler. No one liked him. Then he caused the club to settle a sexual harassment suit for a rumored $1 million after he repeatedly called in to the club’s receptionist and talked dirty to her.

But the Club didn’t get rid of him. They said they did, but they didn’t. Instead, he was responsible for throwing an unsuccessful Friars Club East tribute to Larry King in Los Angeles at the low level “boutique” Crescent Hotel in Beverly Hills. Charet’s been living there for free. The dinner was a bust.

The owner of the Crescent is a guy actually named Gregory Peck. He once worked for hoteliers Andre Balazs and for Ian Schrager. In 2008 he lost his shirt on the Cooper Square Hotel in New York.  After defaulting on millions in loans, the hotel was sold off.

Last year Peck and his partner/ex-wife, Susan Cronin, were famously responsible for the didn’t-happen 50th anniversary of Woodstock. It was a total disaster.

With Charet staying at the hotel and trading publicity services for free room, he managed also to get Cronin onto the board of the Friars Club as treasurer. And that’s where our new chapter begins.

Dissenting members of the Board have sent a letter to the Governors of the Friars Club on May 17th asking them to invalidate a $9 million loan organized and presented by Cronin. But Cronin, they say, failed to mention that Peck had set up the loan and would receive a commission. They say in the letter that by extension Cronin would benefit from the loan. (There’s no word on what Charet gets out of this.)

To wit, the letter signed by “Concerned Board Members”:

“The signatories to this letter have learned subsequent to February 3, 2020, that Susan Cronin had a serious conflict of interest when the Titan Loan Agreement was purportedly authorized.  Her ex-husband stands to benefit very significantly from the Titan Loan Agreement, because he will collect a share of a large brokerage fee. Ms. Cronin shares the cost and custody of her child with her ex-husband.  Thus, Ms. Cronin will benefit significantly from the Titan Loan Agreement. “

“As this situation has begun to come to light, several of the signatories to this letter have reached out to the other lenders who were approached about making a loan to the Club.  We have learned that their proposals were never seriously followed up on, and that Ms. Cronin showed no interest in pursuing alternative proposals to the onerous Titan Loan.  For example, we have learned that Connect One Bank was offering a $9 million loan to the Club at half the interest rate charged by Titan, and without any brokerage fee.  We believe that this alternative and others must be fully investigated, and we have every reason to believe that, if other lenders are consulted, the Club can obtain financing on far better terms than those included in the Titan Loan Agreement.   We urge the Board to repudiate the unauthorized Titan Loan Agreement, and seek other financing alternatives, which will, in the long run, save the Club hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

And so we come back around to the same question that plagues the Friars Club: why is Bruce Charet still involved? Also the word is that Michael Gyure — who everyone thought was finally gone after a conviction of personal tax fraud and causing the Club to be raided in 2017 by the US Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York — isn’t gone at all. Is this possible? I’m told Gyure “retired” with a large annual settlement but still lurks and has influence over this mess.

I’ll tell ya, this bunch is too much!

As usual, I invite whoever’s left to drop me a note at showbiz411@gmail.



Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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