Thursday, February 15, 2018

Just gotta figure out which Kailas can keep the money

Here comes another stab at developing the old Woolworth site into a hotel.
An 18-story Hard Rock Hotel, including condominium units for sale, is being proposed for the corner of Canal and Rampart streets, where a former Woolworth's department store was demolished three years ago.

Hard Rock International issued a news release Thursday (Feb. 15) saying it would work with the local property owner, Kailas Cos., to bring 350 hotel rooms and 62 condo units to the site. It calls for the project to be completed by spring 2019.
They almost got something like this done a few years ago but...
Previous iterations of a hotel and residential structures have struggled to get off the ground at the corner, which had been dormant for several years before the 2015 demolition. The original $70 million luxury apartment development faltered after its principal, Praveen Kailas, was convicted of stealing recovery funds after Hurricane Katrina.
At the time, the Kailases were billing Road Home (the fund intended to help Katrina victims rebuild and return to New Orleans) for work done on their various other projects.  Interestingly, the judge who sentenced Praveen Kailas went easy on him, specifically because he had "taken the fall" for other family members. 
"Criminal activity such as this inflates the cost and dilutes the effectiveness of government programs," U.S. Chief Judge Sarah Vance told Kailas during the sentencing hearing. Vance agreed to go below the recommended 41-51-month sentence range suggested in a probation services report because Kailas was just 27 when he began approving the fraudulent invoices, and because he has since accepted responsibility for his wrongdoing. Vance also pointed out that Kailas is the only one to take "the fall for family members who were involved and not charged."
Spread the money around.  Let the baby of the family take the slap on the wrist for the team. Get right back to it.  Lessons learned, right?

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