By The Indian Panorama Investigative Team
Federation of Indian Associations, NY/NJ/CT (FIA) has been making tall claims for decades under its Chairman for life Ramesh Patel with his handpicked kitchen cabinet that “FIA” is a representative organization of Indian Americans and that it is the largest umbrella organization of Indian Associations in this part of USA.
It is a claim that The Indian Panorama had contested two years ago and is being contested today, too, in the court of Indian Americans. And we will leave to our readers to judge for themselves if the claims of FIA have any merit.
The Indian Panorama investigative team has collected information and evidence which belie the tall claims of the FIA leadership, which consists of a handful of people from one community and one region.
Today,we are more than convinced than we were two years ago, that the FIA is not a representative organization of Indian Americans. And we will like to add that its ways of working and the accounting practices are mysterious and confusing, to say the least, as will be evidenced from the Tax Returns it submitted with the IRS over the last couple of years.We will be happy to make available copies of Tax returns to any reader wanting them. Just drop an email to email@example.com.
FIA’s IRS Tax returns are nothing but accounting tricks, fiction, hocus-pocus, misleading statements, half truths, omissions and appear to be, at times, outright lies. FIA has been filing IRS Tax returns claiming that they have “0” (No) Voting Members, “0” Independent Voting Members, “0” Volunteers and “0” numbers of employees. But since 2004 to 2012 they have collected $2,293,886.00 from public, private enterprises and Government of India Enterprises to organize “Celebrity Parades” to parade themselves, their family, friends, supporters, politicians and Bollywood stars in the name of India Day Parade to insult India and every Indian around the world.
Please consider: Where are the 100 organizations that the FIA claims are its members when Tax Returns mention “0” (No) Voting Members, “0” Independent Voting Members, “0” Volunteers and “0” numbers of employees?
If one pays close attention to the parade expenses; it clearly indicates expenses have been fudged to match revenue and some of the expenses do not make any sense. Some of the expenses are fluctuating big time like “Occupancy” (with no definition or explanation) $29,897.00 in 2008 dropped to $7,147.00 in 2009, only to go up to $56,212.00 in 2011 and again dropping to $29,271.00 in 2012.
Travel Expenses in 2009 for $6,418.00 went up to $33,423.00 to drop down to $ 22,320.00 in 2012. (No explanation who traveled and to where). The performer’s fee has gone up from $0 in 2008 to $63,856 in 2012. The “Other Expenses” have gone up almost 4 times from $21,053.00 in 2008 to $82,595.00 in 2012; whereas the Assets have gone up from $ 47,741.00 to $ 48,832.00 only.
Moreover when FIA could do a Parade for $185,991.00 in 2008 how it is that they spent $ 357,239 in 2011? Though comparisons are said to be odious, it would be in the fitness of things to make one here. The Sikh Day Parade with the same or more number of Floats and Bands from the same sources cost only $85,000; that too, with more than plenty of free food and drinks for participants and general public from all walks of life along the entire parade route and at the end of the parade.
Another distinct aspect. In 2006 FIA collected a record $425,231.00 from the public that dropped to $169,182.00 in 2009, to go up again to $332,220.00 in 2012. The FIA revenue does not include the Bollywood Stars sponsored by an organization or individual and Free Air Tickets from Air India and free media coverage and publicity from their main media sponsor.
In IRS returns FIA is also admitting that they do not get their IRS returns audited or reviewed independently and for FIA’s books and records, official address, Principle Officer, every time they are using different name and addresses and surprisingly on their website they have New York office address. Amazingly after removing Nirav Mehta a proclaimed economic offender from India as a Trustee in July-Aug 2013; FIA on 10-15-13 on IRS Form 8868 for extension, mentioned that “The Books are in the care of “Nirav Mehta, 163 Washington Valley Rd,Warren, NJ 07059 with “No” telephone and Fax numbers.
Here are the facts and figures for the Readers to come to their own conclusions whether FIA deserves to be supported for Future Parades, as well as for the Government of India to decide whether the Consulate, Government of India Enterprises and their own departments should patronize FIA in future in its present set up and functioning..
FIA INFO AS PER THEIR TAX RETURNS FORM 990 FOR 2008,2009, 2011, 2012.
The return for 2007 & 2010 is not available but some of the information is available in 2008 & 2011 returns that give Revenue figures only up to 2004.
Readers, please consider the following:
WHAT IS THE ADDRESS OF FIA OFFICE? :
2008: 1398 Edinburgh Rd, Princeton Junction, NJ 08550 Tel 917 855 2057
2009: 163 Washington Valley Rd., Warren, NJ 07059 Tel. 732 369 6629
2011: C/O K Patel LLC, 1050 Wall Street W # 320, Lyndhurst, NJ 07071 T732 369 6629
2012: C/O K Patel LLC, 1050 Wall Street W # 320, Lyndhurst, NJ 07071 T201 939 4266
NOTE: K Patel LLC is Kaushik Patel LLC, the IRS Returns Preparer for FIA
FIA Address as per their Web Site: 37-0574TH St, 2ND Fl, Jackson Heights, NY 11372
T 908 279 7757, 848 248 0707, 732 325 7891
WHAT IS THE NAME & ADDRESS OF PRINCIPLE OFFICER?:
2008: Yash Paul Soi, 1398 Edinburgh Rd, Princeton Junction, NJ 08550
2009: Dipak Patel, 1398 Edinburgh Rd, Princeton Junction, NJ 08550
2011: Yash Paul Soi, 1398 Edinburgh Rd, Princeton Junction, NJ 08550
2012: Ramesh Patel, 153 Mount Pleasant Ave., Wallington, NJ 07057
NOTE: Dipak Patel & Yash Paul Soi using the same address.
SIGNATURE OF OFFICER (SIGNING THE RETURNS)
2008: Yash Paul Soi as President FIA
2009: Dipak Patel as President FIA
2011: Bipin Patel
2012: Kanu Chauhan & Sanjay Amin
PAID PREPARER FOR 2008, 2009, 2011 & 2012: Kaushik Patel
Kaushik Patel LLC, 1050 Wall Street West Suite 320, Lyndhurst, NJ 07071 T201939 4266
IS FIA REALY AN UMBRELLA ORGANIZATION? HOW FIA IS THE UMBRELLA ORGANIZATION WHEN:
NUMBER OF VOTING MEMBERS FOR
2008: Blank | 2009: 35 | 2011: 35 | 2012: 0
NUMBER OF INDEPENDENT VOTING MEMBERS:
2008: Blank | 2009: Blank | 2011: 0 | 2012: 0
NUMBER OF VOLUNTEERS:
2008: Blank | 2009: Blank | 2011: 0 | 2012: 0
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES
2008: Blank | 2009: Blank | 2011: 0 | 2012: 0
NOTE: Why FIA that claims that they are Premier Umbrella Organization for dozens of Indian organizations; is being run without voting members, independent voting members, volunteers, employees and independent auditors?
NAME, PHYSICAL ADDRESS AND TELEPHONE NUMBER OF THE PERSON WHO POSSESSES THE BOOKS AND RECORDS OF THE ORGANIZATION:
2009: Nirav Mehta, 163 Washington Valley Rd, Warren, NJ 07059 (No phone #)
2011: Nirav Mehta, 163 Washington Valley Rd, Warren, NJ 07059 (No phone #)
2012: Sanjay Amin (No Address) Phone: 908 230 7086
NOTE: Amazingly after removing Nirav Mehta a proclaimed economic offender from India as a Trustee in July-Aug 2013; FIA on 10-15-13 on IRS Form 8868 for extension, is mentioning that “The Books are in the care of “Nirav Mehta, 163 Washington Valley Rd,Warren, NJ 07059 with “No” telephone and Fax numbers.
Income- Expenditure Statements
DONATIONS RECEIVED AS PER FIA FILINGS OF 2008-09-11-12:
|2010||2011||2012||GRAND TOTAL FOR 2004 TO 2012|
Note: from the available documents the amounts must be shown as:
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
244,368 176,428 259,017 320,822 366,850
NET ASSETS 2007-2012
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
47,741 38,177 20,176 31,493 41,194 48,832
NOTE: From the above figures readers can draw their own conclusions. In 2006 FIA collected $425,231. In 2006 from the public and Government of India enterprises that does not include if the Bollywood Stars has been sponsored by an organization; why the revenue dropped. More over FIA could do a parade for $185,991.00 in 2008 why they spent $357,239.00 in 2011. That is also a fact that Sikh Day Parade with the same or larger number of Floats and Bands cost only $85,000.00 that too with more than plenty of free foods, drinks and snacks.
The figures for individual parades and expenses under different heads are also an eye opener. Someone in FIA is knowingly and deliberately moving expenses from one head to another head year after year and creating new expense account names to mislead the public and IRS.
|Floats & Bands||49,000||52,100||64,284||46,700|
|Stage & Tent||24,091||27,100||34,989||X|
|Advt. & Promo||17,456||26,430||2,550||4,573|
|Badges & Sashes||10,390|
|Special Event Exp||15,500||X||X||X|
|Fees & Licenses||X||X||X||25,000|
|All Other Expenses||21,053||64,553||76,060||82,595|
|TOTAL FUNCT. EXP||185,991||263,266||357,239||316,772|
STAGE & TENTS
|24,091||27,100||34,989||19,000 (from “Other Expenses”)|
NOTE: It looks like that FIA has become more efficient as they brought down the cost of Stage & Tent from $34,989 to $19,000 in 2012. But 2012 saw a new expense $25,000 Fees & Licenses! Also the cost of the Parade has gone up from $185,991 to $357,239. Also included in the cost are all other expenses that have gone up from $21,053 to $82,595. The performer’s fee has gone up from $0 in 2008 to $63,856 in 2012. Reception & Banquet from $15,500 in 2008 has gone up to $27,896. Travel from $6,418 to $33,423, fluctuating Occupancy (FIA to explain) $29,897 to $56,212 back to 29,271.
|PRINTING & BOOKLETS||7,005||12,735||6,084||3,650|
|SOUND & LIGHTS:||11,470||16,480||5,010|
|TROPHY & FLOWERS||X||1,767||9,658||10,707|
NOTE: The number of people wearing Badge & Sashes every year is increasing exponentially. Still FIA has brought down the cost from $10,390.00 to $3,000.00. it is the same story with booklets and trophies and achievement fees. For Sound & Light FIA bought a Sound System in 2009 for $8,360.00 and still spent $11,470.00 on Sound & Light!
ALL OTHER EXPENSES_ NO ITEMIZED INFO FOR 2008 ($21,053)
|Cleaning & Sanitation||6,429||6,822||7,102|
|Badge & Sashes||3,852||6,492||3,000|
|Sounds & Lights||3,110||16,480||5,010|
|Meals & Entertainment||2,967||X||X|
|Trophy & Flowers||1,767||9,658||9,481|
|Fees & Licenses||1,605||6,094||4,250|
|Auto Rental Limo||1,500||X||X|
|Toll & Parking||74||338||X|
|Misc Labor Expenses||X||5,949||8,877|
|Awards & Achievements||X||X||1,842|
|Repair & Maintenance||X||165||X|
|STAGE & TENTS||X||X||19,000|
OFFICE BEARERS AS PER IRS FILINGS FOR 2008:
Yash Paul Soi President Dipak Patel Executive VP
Bhavana Shah, Secretary Haresh Hemrajani Joint Secretary
Vijay Shah Treasurer
OFFICE BEARERS AS PER IRS FILINGS FOR 2009:
Dipak Patel President Nirav Mehta Executive VP
Jaswant Mody V.President Haresh Hemrajani Secretary
Deven Patel Joint Secretary Ahmed Shakir Treasurer
OFFICE BEARERS AS PER IRS FILINGS FOR 2011:
Bipin Patel President Kaurang Shah Executive VPNimesh
Dave Vice President Haresh Hemrajani Secretary
Srujal Parikh Joint Secretary Sanjay Amin Treasurer
OFFICE BEARERS AS PER IRS FILINGS FOR 2012:
Kanu Chauhan President Kaurang Shah, Executive VP
Sanjay Amin, Vice President Srujal Parikh, Secretary
Ahmed Shakir Treasurer
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Ramesh Patel, Chairman Yash Paul Soi, Vice Chairman
Chandrakant Trivedi, Secretary
Ram Ghadvi, H. R Shah Dr Sudhir Parikh
Dipak Patel Bipin Patel
Albert Jasani Dr Pravin Pandhi
Kanu Chauhan Jagdish Patel Prabir Roy
MEMBERS OF CURRENT COMMITTEE AS PER FIA WEB SITE
Ramesh Patel, Chairman Ankur Vaidya President
Anand Patel Executive VP Srujal Parikh Vice President
Nishil Parikh Genl Secretary Alok Kumar Treasurer
Sanjay Amin Im. Chhavi Dharayan
Past President Joint Secretary
Sourin Parikh Chair 2014 Committee
NOTE: The Office Bearers & perpetual Trustees of FIA are practically from one religion and one region of India but still they have the sanity to claim that FIA is the umbrella organization of Indian organizations and people of Indian origin from different religions and different regions! Chhavi Dharyan is the wife of Sarvesh Dharyan who was Chairman of Reception Committee till he got arrested by Federal Justice Department for Money Laundering, Bribery etc. on July 17, 2013. Nirav Mehta was made President in 2010 by Chairman Ramesh Patel knowingly and despite public knowledge that he is a proclaimed economic offender and a fugitive from Indian Law Enforcement.
BOOTH RENTAL APPLICATION FORM: NO CHARGES SPECIFIED
For Additional table would be provided @ $ 60 and chairs @ $ 25
CONTACT FOR BOOTH: 732-910-7473
Mahesh Dubal 973-879-6452
Abhay Shukla 201-407-1723
Nitin Patel 908-625-4842
FLOAT APPLICATION FORM: NO CHARGES SPECIFIED
CONTACT FOR FLOATS firstname.lastname@example.org
Saurin Parikh 516-348-4364
Himanshu Patel 732-887-7606
Dhananjay Patel 201-757-1735
NOTE: Where is the transparency in collecting money from the renters for Booths and Floats? It is a well known fact that there are vendors who can sell services with no local taxes and credit card fee if payment is strictly cash. Also there are organizations/individuals who want to be in media/public limelight and for photo-ops with Bollywood celebrities and politicians do not hesitate to make cash donations. More over this is another open secret that individuals or companies are paid 25%-30% commissions for raising funds/donations for FIA.
This expense is no where mentioned in Tax Returns of FIA. We have placed in the hands of our readers the information that the FIA should have made public on its own. After all, it is a not-for profit organization and enjoys privileges under section 501 (C). Also, at the same time, it is mandatory for FIA to be in compliance with the legal provisions that go with the 501 (C) privileges, which, to our understanding, the FIA has failed to do.
Hence, IRS will be within its legal right to order a thorough investigation in to the financial dealings of FIA. And, we hope, IRS will not close its eyes to various kinds of violations that FIA might have committed. As honest citizens of this great democratic nation, it is the duty of all residents of USA not to let an individual or an organization violate with impunity the laws of the land.
Our readers have the moral right to question FIA leadership on the functioning of the organization. We will welcome comments from our readers on the issue.We will be happy to answer any question related to the issue and to address any issue related with the subject. Please email your comment/ question to email@example.com.
To recap, the broader questions are:
1. Is FIA a representative organization of Indian Americans?
2. Is FIA a democratic organization?
3. Should a coterie of handful persons from one community and one region control the levers of an organization
claiming to be “an umbrella organization of over hundred organizations”?
5. Should India Day Parade, to celebrate the nation’s proudest moment, be left in the hands of a coterie?
6. Should Indian banks, Air India, the loss making elephantine national carrier, with corrupt officials, having vested interests at the helm of affairs here, India Tourism and other such agencies of government of India waste the Indian taxpayers’ money in funding the coterie?
7. Shouldn’t the IRS order a thorough investigation in to the financial dealings of FIA?
8. Shouldn’t other investigative agencies step in, if any other serious offence of criminal nature, surface against a member of the coterie controlling FIA?
Now, you be the judge.