Friday, November 17, 2017
News Roundup

Legal drama in Patel family over Bollywood Oscars continues

RECOMMENDED READING


TAMPA — The last Bollywood star left town months ago but the legal battle behind the "Bollywood Oscars" continues to roil the bay area's most prominent Indian family.

Chetan "Jason" Shah, 48, filed a fresh set of allegations in Hillsborough Circuit Court this month about his wealthy health care entrepreneur and philanthropist brother-in-law, Dr. Kiran Patel, and demanded a jury trial in the lawsuit Patel had filed against him in May.

Patel, 65, asserts that Shah fraudulently added Patel's name to documents creating a host committee for the 2014 International Indian Film Academy awards gala, which came to Tampa in April.

Patel discovered this late last year, he said, when event organizers complained that Shah was running out of money and they threatened to take the event elsewhere. The four-day event was a major one for the region — a study later found visitors spent $19.9 million, and the economic impact reached $26.4 million as businesses stocked up and visitors' money was respent.

According to a July 3 court filing, Shah asserts that Patel, a cardiologist, coerced Shah into signing a document as Shah was being rushed to the hospital late last year for heart surgery. The document allowed Patel to negotiate a new deal with IIFA organizers that cut Shah out of any profits, Shah said.

Shah's wife, who had worked for one of Patel's companies, was fired this month because of the ongoing feud, Shah said in an interview last week.

Patel declined to comment.

"Dr. Patel does not enjoy or get any great thrill out of getting into litigation with his brother-in-law, but he has to draw the line, as any of us would have done if someone usurped our name and used it fraudulently," said Lenny Englander, Patel's attorney.

The rift between Patel — married to Shah's sister, Pallavi — dates to late last year and a series of events that almost caused the cancellation of the awards show in Tampa.

In interviews earlier this year, Patel and Shah explained their differing sides.

According to Shah, he is the rightful "founder" of the awards show in Tampa — he says that he persuaded event organizers to bring IIFA's first-ever show in America here. Late last year, Shah says, officials with IIFA and Patel conspired to cut Shah out of event organizing and profits.

But according to Patel, he wanted nothing to do with bringing IIFA to Tampa at first. Patel didn't find out until months later that Shah had listed him in incorporating documents for Go Bollywood Tampa Bay Florida Convention LLC, a host committee for the show, and had told people Patel was involved.

Local tourism officials and executives with Wizcraft, the company that puts on the show, largely support Patel's version.

Shah ran out of money to bring the event here, they said, and Patel stepped in late last year by writing a large check — an undisclosed amount, but less than the $15 million Shah had agreed to pay — to ensure the Bollywood Oscars came to Tampa.

Because of his involvement with Go Bollywood, Patel found himself being sued along with Shah in Florida and New York by people who said they had been promised business by the host committee. The Florida suit was dismissed; the New York case continues.

In June, Shah, who owns a small motel in Tarpon Springs and several dry cleaning locations, said a settlement was in the works between him and Patel. That settlement is apparently out.

Earlier this month, Shah's wife, Shreya, lost her job as a pharmacy manager for Freedom Health, a company owned by Patel and run by Rupesh Shah, Chetan Shah's brother. She was told she was fired "because of the bad relationship in the family," Chetan Shah said.

Rupesh Shah, Chetan Shah's brother and Freedom Health CEO, was out of town and unavailable for comment last week.

"We'll make it through," Chetan Shah said. "We are going to see this through to justice."

Patel's attorney called the ongoing suit "awful."

"The doctor tried to do everything he could to avoid litigation," Englander said. "He was unsuccessful."

Contact Will Hobson at whobson @tampabay.com or (813) 226-3400. Follow @TheWillHobson.

 
Comments
Rick and Tom podcast: Will the Bucs make it two wins in a row?

Rick and Tom podcast: Will the Bucs make it two wins in a row?

In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones actually agree on their prediction for the Bucs-Dolphins game that will see Ryan Fitzpatrick make his second straight start in place of the injured Jameis Winston. They’ll give you the keys to the ga...
Updated: 1 hour ago
20 injured in fire at Pennsylvania senior living community

20 injured in fire at Pennsylvania senior living community

WEST CHESTER, Pa. — A massive fire at a senior living community in Pennsylvania injured at least 20 people and forced dozens more, many of whom were unable to walk, into the cold night air. Firefighters were still dousing hot spots Friday, even thoug...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Forecast: Ideal conditions across Tampa leading to weekend, but rain is on its way

Forecast: Ideal conditions across Tampa leading to weekend, but rain is on its way

The week ends with more virtually ideal weather conditions across Tampa Bay, but that changes a bit on Sunday with the arrival of a cold front that could result in a soggy Thanksgiving.10News WTSPFeels-like temperatures around the Tampa Bay area Whi...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Watch: Dugan addresses Seminole Heights residents’ concerns at NAACP event

Watch: Dugan addresses Seminole Heights residents’ concerns at NAACP event

TAMPA — Members of the black community expressed appreciation on Thursday for police efforts to find the person responsible for killing four residents of southeast Seminole Heights in recent weeks.But at a meeting organized by the local chapter of th...
Updated: 2 hours ago
In struggling upstate New York cities, refugees vital to rebirth

In struggling upstate New York cities, refugees vital to rebirth

UTICA, N.Y. — Pat Marino pulled into the shop on a cold, wet Thursday and stood close as a young mechanic with gelled-up hair and earrings lifted the truck and ducked underneath."You need a little bit more oil," the mechanic said."Five quarts wasn’t ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
The Daystarter: Black residents question Seminole Heights arrest spike; Christmas and Harry Potter at Universal; Tampa Bay Auto Show, Winter Village in Tampa; plan your Thanksgiving menu

The Daystarter: Black residents question Seminole Heights arrest spike; Christmas and Harry Potter at Universal; Tampa Bay Auto Show, Winter Village in Tampa; plan your Thanksgiving menu

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.• A beautiful Friday, with highs in the upper 70s and all the sunshine you could ask for, according to 10Weather WTSP. A cold front will drag down temperatures Sunday and Monda...
Updated: 3 hours ago
First look: Harry Potter’s Christmas finally arrives at Universal Orlando

First look: Harry Potter’s Christmas finally arrives at Universal Orlando

Christmas has finally come to Hogwarts at Universal Orlando, with the promise of warm butterbeer, a Frog Choir singing carols and a magical light show projected onto Hogwarts Castle nightly followed by fireworks. It opens to the public on Saturday. C...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Electric, autonomous vehicles featured at Tampa auto show

Electric, autonomous vehicles featured at Tampa auto show

TAMPA — The two biggest trends in the automotive space are ones you’ve likely heard of: electric vehicles and autonomous cars. Both will feature prominently at the Tampa Bay International Auto Show today through Sunday. The event at the Tampa Convent...
Updated: 10 hours ago
College football viewing guide, Week 11

College football viewing guide, Week 11

Watching college football all day Saturday? Here’s the meh and must-see time frames:Lamest time window: Late. It’s a pretty weak slate, so take a light day.Noon: No. 5 Wisconsin finally gets a test, No. 19 Michigan. 3:30: How will No. 9 Notre Dame re...
Published: 11/17/17
Trigaux: State of Tampa Bay startups? Disconnected we falter but there’s a plan to fix that

Trigaux: State of Tampa Bay startups? Disconnected we falter but there’s a plan to fix that

How are we doing?That was the Big Question posed more than once this past week in Tampa Bay. First, the Tampa Bay Partnership and USF debuted in-depth and new ways to measure Tampa Bay across a wide range of indicators to gauge whether we are gaining...
Published: 11/17/17