Patel had donated $100,000 to the Republican Party.
By The American Bazaar Staff
NEW YORK: Florida-based Indian American businessman Nikesh Patel who was arrested last Tuesday on federal allegations of fraudulently selling $150 million in loans to Milwaukee-based finance company Pennant Management, and faces an additional civil lawsuit of over $72 million, had hosted Gov. Rick Scott for a campaign fundraiser at his home in April, and donated $100,000 to the Republic Party the same month.
Patel, who is out on $100,000 bail, had his US assets frozen, as a federal judge placed an injunction on it, including his $4 million Windermere home, bank accounts, hotels and vacant property, reported the Orlando Sentinel.
Read the earlier story by The American Bazaar on Patel’s arrest:
Just a few weeks ago, Patel was busy opening a newly renovated DoubleTree by Hilton hotel near the University of Central Florida. His hotel company, Alena Hospitality, also is renovating the downtown Orlando Marriott, reported the Sentinel. Patel paid $14 million for the downtown hotel, which was slated to become the Renaissance Orlando with a $17 million renovation.
“I was very surprised to hear that he was arrested,” Tino Patel, president of the Indian American Chamber of Commerce, who is not related to Nik, was quoted as saying. “He was always a perfect gentleman. I saw him a few weeks ago, and he was happy and shaking hands. It seemed like business as usual.”
In its lawsuit, Pennant Management accuses Nikesh Patel of using funds from fraudulent loan sales to buy real estate and fund a “lavish lifestyle.”
“I didn’t see a lavish lifestyle,” said Tino Patel. “A $4 million home is nothing to a successful businessman. There are a lot of successful businessmen in Central Florida. Everyone has an ambition in their life to own a home.”
The Sentinel reported that Nikesh Patel’s influence had grown steadily this past year. He hosted Gov. Rick Scott for a campaign fundraiser at his home in April, and he is a prominent member of the IACC.
An April 30 post on Patel’s company Facebook page shows a photo of Scott standing next to Patel. The post thanks people for coming to the party. He donated $2800 to Scott’s campaign.
State records show Patel also donated $100,000 to the Republican Party of Florida in April. He donated an additional $5,000 to an electioneering-communications organization called Progress & Prosperity for Orange County and $25,000 to Securing Orange County’s Future, a PAC set up to support Orange County mayoral candidate Val Demings before she left the race.
(Updated on October 9, 2014, correcting Nikesh Patel’s name in headline.)