By Shereen Siewert
WAUSAU — A Stevens Point hotel owner accused of sabotaging a competing establishment will spend two weeks in jail, after Marathon County prosecutors nixed a plea agreement in an unrelated prostitution case.
Dharmesh Patel’s mugshot first appeared in Wausau Pilot and Review on June 23, days after he was charged with soliciting a prostitute. Then in July, Patel sent numerous emails to WP&R claiming his case had been dismissed, even sending a mocked up court document meant to back up his claim. At that time, Marathon County District Attorney Theresa Wetzsteon confirmed that Patel’s case was still active.
On Aug. 18, Patel, who has previously served jail time for fraud and also has a criminal record of fraud, theft and burglary in New Hampshire and Illinois, entered into a plea agreement with prosecutors that would have dropped the felony prostitution charge down to misdemeanor vagrancy if Patel had stayed out of trouble for a full year.
But on Oct. 5, Patel was charged again, this time in Portage County Circuit Court, after police say he cut copper water pipes leading to ice machines inside Country Inn & Suites on Division St. North. Patel owns the Baymont Inn in Stevens Point.
According to the complaint, Stevens Point police were called to Country Inn & Suites in the early morning hours of Sept. 30 after employees there reported pipes on the hotel’s second and third floors had been intentionally cut, causing water to leak onto the floor.
When police questioned Patel, who was seen on surveillance video footage at Country Inn & Suites, they saw that he wore the same shoes identified by witnesses and visible in the video, police said.
Investigators also learned that Patel allegedly tried to hire a homeless man to plant bedbugs at another hotel and was plotting damage at a third business.
When those accusations surfaced, prosecutors made a motion in Marathon County Circuit Court to revoke their agreement with Patel, and on Thursday, Circuit Judge Jill Falstad found Patel guilty on the prostitution charge and sentenced him to 14 days in jail. Patel was also ordered to pay a $150 fine plus court costs, and submit to a DNA sample.
Patel’s Portage County charges of burglary, criminal damage to property and bail jumping are pending. His next court appearance is Feb. 5.