|By Bill Bartleman, The Paducah Sun,
Ky.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Oct. 4, 2008 - Potential legal troubles are mounting for Executive Inn owner Bhupinder Singh as two state agencies have been asked to join Paducah police to investigate criminal complaints.
As part of the expanding probe, Paducah police detectives on Thursday executed a search warrant on the Executive Inn, seizing computers and records related to room reservations for next year's quilt show, Assistant Chief Danny Carroll said.
Room records are needed to investigate allegations that the hotel accepted deposits for 66 more rooms than are available for the April quilt show. Police are trying to determine if the minimum of $40,000 collected for those rooms was diverted for some other use.
Singh has not been in Paducah for nearly a month and has not returned numerous telephone calls seeking comment.
Hotel security guards telephoned Singh on Thursday that police were at the hotel with a search warrant, Downtown Development Director Steve Doolittle said.
Doolittle said Singh called him and asked if he could prevent the warrant from being served and records from being removed. Doolittle told Singh that he could not and would not intervene in a police matter.
Doolittle has been working with Singh on the pending sale of the hotel to a group led by Florida businessman Bill Parsons.
"Mr. Singh said he was concerned because he needs the records related to room reservations to finalize the sale," Doolittle said.
As of late Friday, the sales agreement still hadn't been signed.
The value of the confirmed deposits -- estimated to be more than $250,000 -- will affect how much the buyers pay Singh to finalize the sale.
Parsons said earlier this week that he planned to honor all of the confirmed reservations for the quilt show, but wasn't aware of the allegations of overbooking for the show.
Commonwealth Attorney Tim Kaltenbach on Friday said that Singh has hired a Paducah attorney to represent him in the criminal investigations. He would not identify the attorney.
Kaltenbach said the Executive Inn also some insurance and labors complaints against it.
The Kentucky Department of Insurance was asked to investigate charges from five or six laid-off employees that health insurance premiums they paid to the hotel in August and September were not forwarded to the insurance company, resulting in cancellation of their coverage.
Also, the Kentucky Department of Labor has been asked to investigate complaints from employees who claim they weren't paid.
Kaltenbach said that since the hotel is closed, there's no power. Since it is about to be sold, computers and records were seized on Thursday to preserve potential evidence if it is needed.
Review of the computers would require the use of experts from the Kentucky State Police Crime Lab.
"Right now, we are just holding on to the computers and won't send them to the lab until we determine where the investigation is headed," Kaltenbach said.
If concern over room deposits, insurance premiums and pay are cleared up in the pending sale of the hotel, it is possible the investigations will end and no charges will be filed, Kaltenbach said.
"We remain hopeful that all of this will be resolved with the pending sale," said Carroll, the assistant police chief.
Bill Bartleman can be contacted at 575-8651.
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