Vacant Saddle Brook, N.J., Crowne Plaza up for sale

Several companies have expressed interest in buying the Crowne Plaza in Saddle Brook, N.J., along with four other hotels, in the event that a sale with a prospective buyer falls through, reports The Record.

The 12-story former Holiday Inn had been vacant for years, is part of a portfolio that Orlando, Fla., entrepreneur Nikesh Patel put on the block after becoming embroiled in criminal and civil legal problems.

The 148-room property had been slated to reopen this month after undergoing extensive renovations. But it may not be sold until next year, and it can't open until then.

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Patel was arrested on federal loan fraud charges Sept. 30, and was subsequently sued for $72.8 million by Pennant Management Inc. of Milwaukee. Authorities allege one of Patel's companies, First Farmers Financial LLC, sold $150 million of loans that it falsely claimed were backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Patel agreed to sell many of his assets, including his hotels, and turn over the proceeds to Pennant Management to help settle its claims against him.

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