If things had gone according to Nik Patel's plan in 2014, Central Florida, and perhaps beyond, would be dotted with Mingos restaurants. If things had gone according to a more recent plan, according to federal prosecutors, Patel would be in Ecuador right now.
As reported by Paul Brinkmann in the Orlando Sentinel Monday, Patel, who pleaded guilty after being indicted for fraud totaling more than $179 million and was free on bond while helping to recover the money he purloined, attempted to fly to Ecuador from Kissimmee Gateway Airport on Saturday.
In his defense -- and I'm guessing Patel has become adept at defenses -- it was very cold last weekend and Ecuador's tropic clime must have seemed alluring. Also, perhaps that's where some of the stolen money might be? Just trying to help out.
Among his many business dealings was a partnership in a restaurant called Mingos. The first Mingos was in the space in the Sanctuary condominiums building currently occupied by Oudom Thai. Mingos was short for flamingos but its logo featured a swordfish. I gave it a good review when it opened in January of 2014. Shortly afterwards, a second Mingos opened in a motel near UCF, and one or two others were announced, including another in downtown Orlando.
Then Patel's troubles came to light and everything fell apart.
To those troubles now add charges of attempting to flee to avoid prosecution. And I doubt he's getting a refund on his flight to Ecuador.