Indian-Origin:Ex-Trump Hotel Partner Arrested

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An Indian-descent hotelier, who had once partnered the Trump Organization, was arrested last week for allegedly stealing multiple suitcases from a baggage carousel at the Memphis International Airport in Tennessee state.

Dinesh Chawla, chief executive officer of Chawla Hotels that runs 17 properties in the state of Mississippi, was allegedly seen on August 18 removing a suitcase from the carousel that he had deposited in a vehicle parked outside and had returned to catch his flight, according to multiple news reports citing police records.
The police searched the vehicle and found another allegedly stolen suitcase. The two bags contained goods valued at $4,000.
Chawla was arrested on his return four days later, and is said to have admitted to stealing several suitcases over a period of time.

The hotelier told an officer, according to police records, that he understood stealing suitcases “is wrong, but he does it for the thrill and excitement”.
He has been charged with felony theft.
Chawla lives in Cleveland, Mississippi, from where he and younger brother run their hotel chain started by their father V K Chawla, an immigrant from Punjab, India.

Their connection to the Trumps goes back to the 1980s, starting with a phone call the elder Chawla, then the owner of a beer and fried chicken business, placed to Donald J Trump, already a celebrated real estate mogul. He didn’t get through, but Trump had called back.

Chawla wanted a loan from Trump to help grow his business. Trump offered him some advice instead, in the telling of the story by both the families. Trump asked Chawla to apply for a loan from a government-run scheme meant for promoting small businesses. The Chawlas have said that conversation was critical to the family’s subsequent success and fortune.
The elder Chawla passed away in 2015.
His sons were introduced to Trump in 2016 by Mississippi politicians and Suresh Chawla, the younger brother, donated to Trump’s campaign.
A few months after Trump’s election, the Chawlas received an email from the Trump Organizations expressing interest in a partnership, according to the New York Times’s profile of Dinesh Chawla from 2018.

The Chawlas were the first, and the only ones so far, picked by the president’s two elders sons Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump, for an expansion of the Trump Organization’s hotel businesses. The deal signed was for three hotels that will be constructed by the Chawlas and will be branded and run by the Trump Organization under a a new budget-friendly brand called American Idea and a four-star under Scion, another new brand.

The Trumps abandoned the two new hotel-lines in February citing hostile political climate, and two companies parted ways amicably. The Chawlas went ahead with their projects.