Jerry Airola Myth vs fact
20 years ago, Jerry Airola founded a helicopter company that became the largest of its kind in the world. During the time he owned the company he also became a candidate for the office of Sheriff (2006 Election) for Clark County Nevada (Las Vegas Metro Police) Jerry was strong in the Republican Party and served on the Republican Governors transition team, as a liaison to the Governor and served on the State Economic Development Board. During his run for office Jerry became a target of the Democrat Political Party in Las Vegas, ran by Democrat Senator Harry Reid. Jerry won the primary election in a field of over 30 candidates but lost the general Election to the existing Undersheriff. After the near-death of his youngest child, Jerry sold his helicopter company in 2007 to a hedge fund company that eventually liquidated the company, making Jerry a fresh target for his former competitors and political rivals. The flood of “Fake News” began during the 2006 Sheriff’s elections and continued for a few years after that. Below are a few of the “Fake News” myths.
There are many myths associated with Jerry, some of them are addressed below. How do you know that these myths are not factual? The myths surrounding the elections are easily debunked when you consider that Jerry was appointed to the Governor’s teams and State Boards After the elections were over. The Governor (Jim Gibbons) and the Republican State legislators were very aware that the negative information about Jerry Airola was contrived and propagated by his political rivals and competitors, much like we see today against President Donald Trump. The myths surrounding his helicopter business and allegations of misconduct are easily debunked by considering that Jerry was Commissioned as a Federal Police Officer in 2009, this was a year after most of the allegations of misconduct were alleged. Jerry underwent a thorough background investigation in 2009 to receive a Special Law Enforcement Commission from the Federal Government and Jerry was subject to additional background investigations when he applied for, and was hired as, a Texas Police Officer and a Criminal Investigator for a Texas Constable’s Office. If any of those allegations had been true, Jerry would not have been eligible for his Federal or State Law Enforcement commissions over that past 10 years.
- Myth; Jerry Airola was never a cop
Fact; Jerry started his police career by attending the Police Academy at Modesto Junior College in late 1989. After graduating the academy in the spring of 1990 Jerry began working as a Police Officer for the City of Los Banos California. While working in Los Banos, Jerry was elected as the President of the Los Banos Police Officers Association, Advisor of the Year for the Los Banos Police Explorer Post, promoted to Detective (Investigator) and certified as a DRE (Drug Recognition Expert). After leaving California in 1995 Jerry went on to work as a Deputy Sheriff and helicopter pilot for the Sheriff’s Airborne Law Enforcement Program. After moving to Texas in 2008 Jerry was Commissioned as Deputy Special Officer (Detective) with the United States Department of Interior / Office of Justice Services / BIA. Jerry served in this capacity as a Detective, Sergeant and Acting Chief of Police during the extended absence of the Department Chief. In 2014 Shane Rapp informed Jerry that he would not be seeking re-election for Comal County Constable in the 2016 election year, jerry decided to obtain his Texas peace Officer License and run for Constable. Jerry attended the Alamo Area Council of Government Police Academy in San Antonio Texas, graduating in 2014 as the Class President, Honor Graduate, Academic Award winner and award for perfect attendance. While attending the academy, Jerry was informed by Shane Rapp that he had changed his mind and decided to run for a final term as Constable in 2016. Jerry chose not to run against Shane in the 2016 elections and accepted a position as a Detective for the City of Nixon Texas Police department. Jerry advanced to become the Commander of the Nixon Police Department and was awarded the “Officer of The Year”. In January of 2016 Jerry was recruited as a Criminal Investigator (Detective) for the Gonzales County Constable’s Office in Precinct 4, which has jurisdiction in the City of Nixon as well as the entire county of Gonzales. To this day Jerry is a commissioned Peace Officer in the state of Texas and remains active in police work.
- Myth; Jerry’s Helicopter Company (Silver State Helicopters) went bankrupt
Fact; Silver State Helicopters was a thriving company during the time that it was owned and operated by Jerry Airola (1999-2007) Jerry founded Silver State Helicopters in 1999 as a helicopter company that provided law enforcement support to police and sheriff’s departments across the nation. The company branched out to include Med Flight, Firefighting, Agriculture, Motion Picture Film Work, Flight Training and other helicopter services. Silver State Helicopters was listed as a two-time Inc 500 Top 100 Company under Jerry’s ownership with yearly revenues toping 100 million dollars and over 850 employees. Jerry sold Silver State Helicopters in 2007 to a Wall Street hedge Fund company. The new owners of Silver state Helicopters elected to transfer, sell and liquidate the company’s assets in 2008, then declared bankruptcy. Jerry was not the owner of the company and did not control the company at that time.
- Myth; Thousands of helicopter flight school students were left with $70,000 loan debt after Silver State Helicopters shut down
Fact; Not true! When the current ownership and management decided to liquidate the assets of Silver state helicopters there were still over 2,000 students attending the flight school. Within a few weeks after the shut down Jerry met with the student loan companies that were contracted to provide loans for Silver State Flight Students. All loans were frozen for a period to allow negotiations and eventually the student loans were forgiven for students that had not received their Helicopter Pilots License. The training program that Silver State Helicopters offered did not take money up front from students. The students were not obligated to pay for their training until six months after they completed the training program.
- Myth; Jerry took million of dollars from Silver State Students and is hiding in the Turks and Cacaos Islands
Fact; Not true! Jerry Purchased his home in Comal County Texas in 2007, before he sold the helicopter company. Jerry and his family still live in that home today. Jerry has maintained the same cellular phone number since 1995 and has always been available to speak with anyone. Jerry has been active in the Comal County and New Braunfels Community, working as a Police Officer, coaching youth and High School Wrestling, serving with the Law Enforcement Security team at Oakwood Church and opening small businesses in Gruene.
- Myth; Jerry was arrested for (Name a crime)
Fact; Not True! Jerry has never been arrested.
- Myth; Jerry was found guilty of fraud
False; Jerry was cleared of any wrongdoing by the FBI and 15 State Attorney General’s offices. There was a Civil Fraud Lawsuit (Not Criminal) Filed by the Bankruptcy Trustee, after the helicopter company shut down. The Federal Court dismissed all allegations of Fraud against Jerry Airola, as well as any employee that was part of the original Silver State Helicopter Company prior to the company’s sale in 2007. The FBI and Attorney General’s investigations found no criminal activity by Jerry Airola or his Chief Financial Officer.
- Myth; Jerry took money from veterans
Fact; Not true! Silver State Helicopter Company had explored the idea of accepting government funding for prior military personal that wished to receive a pilot’s license. This program was never adopted because Silver State Helicopters financing option that allowed students to attend the program without paying anything up front, and only 6 months after completing the program, was a better option than the government had offered at the time. Any student that did not complete the program, veteran or not, had their loan obligations forgiven.
- Myth; Jerry is a Scientologist
Fact; Not True! Jerry is not, and never has been a Scientologist. This was a made-up story from a political rival in Nevada back in 2006. The story Was quickly debunked and then resurrected by a member of Shane Rapp’s campaign who had been working with the Democrat party to collect opposition information against Airola during the Comal County Constable campaign. The allegation was that Jerry attended a school in California called “The World Institute of Scientology Education” (W.I.S.E) The truth is that Jerry did attend a management training school called Wise Business School of Management in the 1980’s. A quick research of the California Secretary of State will show that ere are over 940 businesses in California that include the word Wise in their title, only one of those is associated with scientology, not the school that Jerry Attended. Jerry was raised as a Christian and has attended Oakwood Baptist Church in New Braunfels since June of 2008.
- Myth; Jerry built a Website called www.rappconstable.com to shame his opponent
Fact; Not True! Jerry did not build or originate that website that contains negative information about his opponent Shane Rapp. There are documents posted on the website that were discovered by Jerry when he was reviewing Federal Court filings of COPsync, the now defunct company that Shane Rapp co-founded and tool public. The federal filing contained a letter from the Chief Legal Officer of the company that claimed Rapp and other administrators falsified financial statements and appeared to commit acts that would be a violation of state and federal laws. Jerry did share those letters with several people in the community that had been involved with COPsync, including investors who lost their money when the company shut down. It was not until several weeks after Jerry shared the information found on the Federal Courts website that the website against Rapp became public and included information that Jerry was not privileged to at the time. All the original content from the website is easily verifiable. There are many people who would have a motive to produce such a website, after losing their retirement and savings to Shane Rapp’s company.
Direct from Jerry:
What is Silver State Helicopters?
A company that I built !
Inc 500 #1 Aviation Company, #12 overall (Out of all companies in America)
I sold the company in 2007
During the time I owned Silver State Helicopters it was highly successful
I took my first flight lesson in 1996 and got hooked on helicopters. I put together a plan to get my commercial license and begin flying helicopters for law enforcement agencies. After building and selling a successful water purification company in Las Vegas I decided to invest the money that I made from the sale into the purchase of a helicopter. I bought the helicopter and began contracting with several Sheriff’s Offices to provide air support, search & rescue, patrol, etc. I ordered the first helicopter in 1999. By 2006 I had over 850 employees, locations across the country, several hundred helicopters and we had expanded our operations to include motion picture film work, firefighting, heavy lift, agriculture, oil and gas, and flight training.
In 2006 we made the Inc. 500 list as the #1 aviation company in America and the #12 overall company. I was recognized as one of the top entrepreneurs in the State of Nevada and became heavily involved in the Nevada Republican Party. When the current Sheriff of Clark County (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department) announced that he would not seek re-election in 2006 I was heavily encouraged to run for that office, and I did. It should be noted that the Clark County Sheriff is regarded as the second most influential political position in the State of Nevada, behind only the Governor. It was only a few days before the primary election that my daughter was born and my focus changed to keeping her alive. I still survived the primary race and ended up in the general election against the Las Vegas Metro Police Under-sheriff, I lost the general election. I had an A rating with the NRA, strong support from the Republican Party, chamber of commerce and the community. No regrets, I learned a lot and had a chance to meet and work with some very good people.
It was after the election that Governor Jim Gibbons appointed me to his transition team as a law enforcement liaison. I was privileged to have lunch with Dick Cheney and I flew out to New York with my father and accompanied Rudy Giuliani to Las Vegas so he could assist the Republican Party with the Governor’s race. Senator Bob Beers nominated me to become a member of the Nevada Economic Development Board and I was appointed in 2007. Those are great memories and a great education. Looking back, it was all for the best. It was during the election that I realized my priories were not with my family, as they should be. It was after my daughter was born that I decided to sell the helicopter company and move to Texas.
Nevada Sheriffs’ Election:
The elections were as nasty as the Hilary vs Trump elections, maybe worse. The local media heavily supported my opponent and the “fake news” was hard to combat. My political opponents had no boundaries and even accused me of being untruthful about my past police experience, they said that I had never been to an academy and never served as a police officer. I even took my opponents to Federal Court, to force them to remove posts and advertising that they knew were untrue. The Federal Judge told me that “Political Freedom of Speech” allowed them to say whatever they wanted; even when they knew it was not true. The new Republican Governor and some of the State Legislators followed my campaign closely and were supportive. The appointments that were given to me after the elections were more than just positions; they were affirmations of trust from the leadership of the Republican Party.
Silver State Helicopters;
I made the decision to sell the company in August of 2006, after the birth of my last child. I had several companies that made offers to purchase. I agreed to sell the company to a group of investors that were represented by a Wall Street hedge fund company (Eos partners). The reason we decided to sell to Eos was because they had the ability to take the company public and to the next level. Eos spent over a million dollars on their due diligence investigation that lasted nearly a year and finally completed the sale in August of 2007. By that time I had 851 employees, several hundred helicopters and locations across the nation with an annual revenue over 100 million dollars. I was retained by Eos at the president of Silver State Helicopters, but the company was now owned by a new entity, Silver State Services. Eos appointed their own CFO and CEO for that company. The next year student loans came to an abrupt halt across the nation, for all the companies that used student financing, colleges, trade schools, etc. Eos made a decision that was purely financial, shut the company down and liquidate the assets. Eos had a responsibility to their investors to do what would be most profitable for them. If I had still owned the company I would have adjusted and figured out a way to “ride out the storm” of the student loan companies. It should be noted that, when Eos made the decision to shut down Silver State Helicopters, the company was solvent. All of the company’s bills were paid and the company had plenty of assets. The majority of the debt was to one company, Orix Financial, who was a partner of Eos.
The Ugly part;
After the company shut down the internet went crazy with false information. Rumors flew that thousands of students had paid $70,000 up front to become helicopter pilots and they were now left with nothing, that is not true. Most of those rumors came from Democrat political leaders, competitors of Sliver State Helicopters or slime ball attorneys that were contacting students and telling them they could sue everyone and get rich. Of course they had to send the attorney $5,000 each and the attorney knew, or should have known that the judge would dismiss any lawsuits because the students did not actually pay anything. The financing program offset all debt until after the student completed training.
The flight school was a major part of Silver state Helicopters. If someone wanted to become a helicopter pilot they would go through an application process and, if selected they would receive student financing for their training. If a student chose to receive every possible level of flight training they would graduate from the program as a Commercial Helicopter Pilot with a Flight Instructor’s certificate, an instrument rating, external load certification and a turbine helicopter transition completed. Student would complete this program in as little as 9 months and as long as 2 years (for the majority is was closer to 18 months) Students paid nothing up front! Students were not required to pay for their training until 6 months after they completed the program. When the company closed its doors the internet trolls and “know nothings” started screaming on the forums that all of the students were left in debt and I was living on some island in the Caribbean sipping Mai Tia's and dodging the FBI. The truth is that I spent a couple million dollars defending myself from the slime ball attorneys and negotiating with the student loan companies. The end result; all student loans were forgiven for students who did not complete a certification; no students received bad marks on their credit during the period that the loans were “frozen” so we could negotiate. Thousands of pilots were trained by Silver State Helicopters and most of them are still flying helicopters as their career today.
I am proud of the company that I built and the company that I managed. I hired a lot of good people (and a few bad ones, lol) It has been 12 years since I sold the company and I am still in regular contact with many of the former employees and students of Silver State Helicopters, they are my friends.
If you go to my endorsement page you will find several letters from people who were associated with me during the time I owned the company and during my law enforcement career following the sale of the company.