October 10, 2014
By Bob Coleman
Editor, Coleman Report
Nik was arrested last week on fraud charges for selling $150 million in bogus USDA b&i loan paper to the secondary market.
The problem for Orlando, writes Sentinel reporter Paul Brinkmann, is two downtown hotel properties owned and being renovated by Patel are now in limbo.
The hotel projects are caught up in the case because Alena Hospitality was named in a federal restraining order connected to the alleged loan fraud.
“John Purdy, owner of Sanford-based VJA Construction, has filed a lien for $33,400 against the Crown Plaza property. Other liens were filed last week.
“When the news broke about Patel being arrested, we tried calling the people at Alena for days. Everyone just disappeared,” Purdy said. “It’s an amazing story. If anyone is still working on those projects, they must be just operating on faith, or waiting to be dismissed, or they know something I don’t.”
Patel’s attorney, Mark NeJame, said Thursday he was working to get a judge’s approval so that Alena could continue funding the hotel renovations.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed that it has revoked Patel’s primary company, First Farmers Financial, as an approved loan provider for its Business and Investment program, a move that agency observers said was unprecedented.