Class-Action Lawsuits Mount In Silver State Helicopters Aftermath

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Helicopter enthusiast message boards continue to buzz this week with posts from disgruntled former students of Silver State Helicopters, who are organizing themselves in what appears to be several class-action lawsuits as massive as the training school itself. Daniel R. Reed, an attorney working with the firm Harward & Associates to file a class action lawsuit against Silver State Helicopters and its founder Jerry Airola, told AVweb on Monday that their primary goal is to get some financial relief for the hundreds of former Silver State students who have contacted the firm in recent weeks.

“Our first point of attack is to negotiate with the lenders, but at the very least we need to freeze the payments and interest for these guys while we sort it out,” Reed said. “We need to move it out of the bankruptcy court.”

Nicole Moon, spokesperson for Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, said that her office has received numerous complaints about Silver State’s business practices. Moon said that the Nevada Bureau of Consumer Protection is investigating potential criminal charges. “It’s something that’s on our radar screen and we’re taking it very seriously,” she said.

Other states may be considering similar action. Prior to closing its doors and filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection on Feb. 4, Las Vegas-based Silver State Helicopters operated 34 training centers in 16 states.

A spokeswoman for Airola said in an e-mail response to AVweb on Tuesday that "Jerry will not be making any public appearances or public statements at this time."