Where do Reality Shows Find these People?

Remember Rick Rockwell from Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire? A previous girlfriend had obtained a restraining order against him for roughing her up and threatening to kill her. And he wasn’t as wealthy as advertised, either.

Now we have Jeffrey W. Chodorow?


Viewers of NBC’s “The Restaurant” know him as the investor behind Rocco DiSpirito’s television efforts to launch an Italian dining experience in New York.


Aviation enthusiasts remember him as the investor who bought Braniff, revived from bankruptcy by Chicago billionaire Jay Pritzker in 1983, out of its second bankruptcy in 1988. Chodorow’s Braniff was back in bankruptcy in 1989.

In 1990, Chodorow and fellow investor Arthur Cohen sought to revive Braniff for a third go-round. They formed a holding company called BNAir, Inc. and purchased the Braniff name from the bankruptcy estate.

The Department of Transportation, however, wouldn’t grant BNAir the certificate necessary to offer passenger service because of objections they had regarding BNAir President Scot Spencer’s criminal history. As a result, BNAir purchased Emerald Air which already had such a certificate.

The Department of Transportation still objected, and demanded sworn affadavits from Chodorow, Cohen, and Spencer that Spencer would have no involvement in Braniff. The affadavits were submitted and Braniff commenced passenger service in July 1991. The next month Braniff was in bankruptcy.

Chodorow formally became President of Braniff in September 1991. The airline ceased all operations in 1992.

Despite the affadavits that Scot Spencer would have no involvement with the airline, he was intimately and flagrantly involved through a series of complex shell transactions and as a result Chodorow and Spencer were indicted in July 1994.

Chodorow pled guilty to obstructing the DOT’s role in the issuance and review of certificates issued to airlines in violation of 18 U.S.C.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community Milepoint.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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