dinesh chawla

Dinesh Chawla, seen speaking with AFP in Cleveland, Mississippi, June 8, 2017, regarding his plans to launch a new chain of budget hotels dubbed “American Idea” and inspired by Donald Trump’s victorious campaign. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Dinesh Chawla, an Indian American developer who previously partnered with the Trump Organization to bring a series of new hotels to Mississippi, has been arrested for allegedly stealing luggage from a Memphis airport, media reports said.

According to Shelby County jail records in Memphis, TN, Chawla, 56, was arrested Aug. 22 and charged with one count of theft of property between $1,000 and $2,500 and one count theft of property $2,500 to $10,000.

The Mississippi-based Clarion Ledger newspaper reported Aug. 26 that

Chawla was given a bond of $5,000 and released the same day.

Chawla was seen taking a suitcase off the baggage claim belt at Memphis International Airport Aug. 18 according to local TV station WREG.

Police told the station that Chawla put the bag in his vehicle, then went back inside to catch a flight. When they searched the vehicle they found several bags that had been stolen. The bags are said to have contained several thousand dollars worth of goods.

According to WREG, Chawla admitted to the police he had stolen the bags.

He is one-half of Chawla Hotels, a company that owns 17 hotels across Mississippi.

In 2017, the company and hotelier family Chawla Pointe LLC announced a partnership with Trump Hotels. The two companies had planned to open a SCION hotel at West End in Cleveland in 2018.

A second line of hotels, called American Idea, was expected to open in 2019 in Greenville, Cleveland and Clarksdale. The Chawlas planned to develop the hotels while the Trumps would brand and manage them.

All four hotels were scrapped by the Trump Organization earlier this year, citing the current political climate.

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