10 Updates

Sant Chatwal: An Indian American Hotelier's Falls From Grace

Apr 22 2014, 4:06am CDT | by

Late last week Sant Chatwal Singh, a prominent Indian American hotelier who was a key donor and fundraiser for Hilary Rodham Clinton’s presidential run in 2008, pleaded guilty in a straw donor...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

13 weeks ago

Sant Chatwal: An Indian American Hotelier's Falls From Grace

Apr 22 2014, 4:06am CDT | by

Late last week Sant Chatwal Singh, a prominent Indian American hotelier who was a key donor and fundraiser for Hilary Rodham Clinton’s presidential run in 2008, pleaded guilty in a straw donor scheme.

Chatwal admitted that he had funneled more than $180,000 in illegal contributions between 2007 and 2011 to three federal candidates, including Clinton, according to media reports . He pleaded guilty in Federal District Court in Brooklyn on Thursday to skirting federal campaign contribution laws and witness tampering.

Chatwal, who has been friendly with the Clintons for years, had raised about $100,000 for Hillary’s 2008 presidential run. However, it turns out, most of that was illegal as it was an elaborate straw donor scheme in which he illegally reimbursed donors for their contributions, the New York Times reported.

This is quite a fall from grace for a flamboyant, and prominent, immigrant family.

In a cover story for Forbes Asia back in 2006, I had profiled the Chatwal family’s hotel empire in the U.S. Sant and his two sons, including Vikram who was briefly a model who appeared in Vogue, control Hampshire Hotels & Resorts. Since its first hotel, the President, was refurbished in then seedy Times Square in 1987, it had become considerably upscale and added to its portfolio boutiques hotels branded as “Hautel Couture by Vikram Chatwal,” where rooms and suites were rented for princely sums, up to $5,000 a night, to the glitterati. Of course, this was also in the hey days of the last decade and before the financial crash that came a couple of years later.

Sant’s adventures started when he left his home in Punjab and moved to Haile Selassie’s Ethiopia to teach. He opened an eatery there–maybe forecasting his hotel and restaurant chain to come–and grew close to the ruling class there but had to flee after the 1974 revolution. A few stops later he opened the Bombay Palace in midtown Manhattan, the first Indian restaurant to win over the fine-dining set. With that success in hand, he turned to the President and later to other hotels in New York and beyond.

The Chatwals, who have backing from institutional investors, today have 12 hotels in New York and one each in Miami, Bangkok and in the southern Indian city of Cochin (down from 17 at the time of my earlier reporting).

The Chatwals, at least before this turn of events, had social currency. Apart from several political friends–the list was headed by Bill and Hillary Clinton  – steel baron Lakshmi Mittal , was a business buddy while self-help guru Deepak Chopra and various musicians and models, including Lindsay Lohan, mingled with the Chatwals on a regular basis. When Vikram, whose more serious past is in finance, trekked to the motherland to marry a Mumbai model with a business pedigree in 2006, it made the cover of New York magazine and a style spread in the New York Times.

Clearly, moving in such circles, especially the politically powerful ones, was important to Sant. In a recorded conversation, the Times reports, he described the importance of the donations to a government informant:

“Without that nobody will even talk to you. When they are in need of money,” he said, “the money you give, then they are always for you. That’s the only way to buy them.”

Vikram too got into trouble when he was arrested last April after trying to board a flight while carrying cocaine, marijuana and prescription pills, and has had several stints in rehabilitation, the Times reports.

Sant, now 70, faces upto 25 years in prison and a lot fewer friends.

In a statement to the Times, a spokeswoman said, “Mr. Chatwal deeply regrets his actions and accepts full responsibility for the consequences.”

 
Update
10

7 weeks ago

RM47mil KWSG contributions still unclaimed

Jun 9 2014 7:54am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: About RM47 million of contributions in the Teachers Provident Fund (KWSG) still remain unclaimed, the Dewan Ra ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
9

7 weeks ago

Gold shop lost almost RM1mil

Jun 9 2014 3:50am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KANGAR: A gold shop owner lost almost RM1 million after after the safe on in his shop was broken into by ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
8

7 weeks ago

Motion to debate MAS losses in Dewan Rakyat rejected

Jun 9 2014 3:39am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: AN emergency motion to debate the losses incurred by Malaysia Airlines last year, amounting to RM1.2 billion was rejected by the Dewan Rakyat today. ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
7

7 weeks ago

MH370 Tragedy: Hisham: RM27.6 mil spent on 1st phase of SAR

Jun 9 2014 2:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia spent some RM27.6 million in its first phase of the search operations for missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370, said Acting Transport Minister, ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
6

7 weeks ago

9.1m litres of diesel seized in a month

Jun 8 2014 1:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism ministry has seized some 9.1 million litres of diesel and property worth RM58 million since mounting ‘Operasi Diesel Selatan’ in the southern states last mon ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
5

7 weeks ago

Girl, 9, awarded RM2.78m compensation for medical negligence

Jun 6 2014 4:56am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: A nine-year-old girl who suffered brain damage during her birth at a government hospital was awarded over RM2.78 million in compe ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
4

7 weeks ago

Malaysia's total trade in April up 12pc

Jun 5 2014 11:52pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's total trade in April 2014 rose by 12 per cent from a year ago to RM123.86 billion due to growing trading activities, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
3

7 weeks ago

Works Ministry to spend RM20m for upgrading works at 50 accident black spots

Jun 4 2014 11:35pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

JOHOR BARU: The Works Ministry will implement upgrading works at 50 accident prone locations in the country that have been identified this year involving an allocation of RM20 m ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
2

7 weeks ago

Najib launches loan scheme for Ramadan traders

Jun 4 2014 10:24pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launches RM45 million Ramadan Baza ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
1

7 weeks ago

Residents bring up objection against Kidex to Suhakam

Jun 4 2014 4:49am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: A group of 20 Petaling Jaya residents held a meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) over their objection against the proposed RM2.2 billion ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Bangladeshi plane catches fire at Nepal airport, passengers safe
Kathmandu, July 28 (IANS) A Bangladeshi aircraft caught fire while landing at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) Monday afternoon, officials said.
 
 
Shift work can worsen asthma, pneumonia
London, July 28 (IANS) A research has found that drugs widely used to treat lung diseases like asthma or pneumonia work better with the body clock.
 
 
Decoded: What triggers sexual arousal in you
New York, July 28 (IANS) Know why just looking at an attractive face stimulates sexual arousal? Well, it takes two to tango!
 
 
Turn your selfie into emoji with this app
New York, July 28 (IANS) Tired of seeing the same yellow-faced smileys? In an age of selfies, how can emojis be far behind?
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Kutcher-Kunis to wed in July next year?
Los Angeles, July 29 (IANS) Actors Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, who are getting ready to welcome their daughter, have begun to plan for their wedding. "The wedding will be next July. They want to focus on their...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Lady Gaga portraits auctioned
New York, July 29 (IANS) Pop star Lady Gaga's "video portraits" raised over $1 million at an auction at Watermill Center here. Director Robert Wilson put on display "23 Video Portraits of Lady Gaga" series at his...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Kim Kardashian followed by 'crazy driver'
Kim Kardashian claims a ''crazy driver'' followed her around Los Angeles today (07.28.14). The 'Keeping Up with the Kardashians' star hit back at rumors she was pulled over by police officers in Calabasas, California,...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Elizabeth Banks is 'very genetically blessed'
Elizabeth Banks says she is ''very genetically blessed.'' The 'Hunger Games' actress, who has sons Felix, three, and Magnus, 20 months, with husband Max Handleman, insists she only recently realized she is attractive,...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Courteney Cox receives engagement gifts
Johnny McDaid and Courteney Cox received several engagement presents in his native Northern Ireland. The newly-engaged couple were given complimentary souvenirs by excited fans in the city of Derry while exploring the...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis to wed next July
Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis are planning to get married next July. The couple, who got engaged earlier this year and are expecting their first child, have reportedly set a date for their wedding next summer, as they...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
India at the 2014 Commonwealth Games Tuesday
Glasgow, July 29 (IANS) The following is the list of Indians who will be seen in action in the 2014 Commonwealth Games Tuesday. Schedule Badminton (Emirates Arena) Men's singles (Round of 64): R.M.V.Gurusaidutt vs...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Indian medal winners at 2014 Commonwealth Games
Glasgow, July 29 (IANS) The following is the list of Indian medal winners at the 20th Commonwealth Games: Gold Sanjita Khumukchan: women's 48 kg weightlifting Sukhen Dey: men's 56 kg weightlifting Abhinav Bindra: men'...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Hi-tech machine spews beer for fans mimicking Scot talk (CWG Diary)
Glasgow, July 29 (IANS) Fancy a free beer? Get talking in Scottish! A hi-tech water cooler that talks to visitors and dispenses beer is doing the rounds of the city assessing one's accent and rewarding the best with a...
Read more on Sport Balla