On Dec. 13, 2008, Rothstein and a companion checked in at Chicago O’Hare International Airport for a transatlantic flight. An American employee handed him a letter, which said his AAirpass had been terminated for “fraudulent behavior.”
He apologized to his friend and filed suit in Illinois the following March. . . .
In one instance, an American security agent called Sam Mulroy, a Dallas personal trainer who had been set to fly with Vroom to Europe, and told him his trip had been canceled. The agent promised a first-class ticket if he admitted to paying Vroom, according to company emails and correspondence.
When Mulroy refused, American froze his frequent flier account, offering to release it in exchange for details of payments, the documents show. Mulroy complained to American and the Transportation Department that he was being “extorted [in] an effort to punish another customer.” He did not respond to requests for comment.
Weeks later, American sued Vroom in Texas state court. Vroom countersued.
In discovery, company lawyers tracked down a Dallas woman who had cut Vroom a $2,800 check to fly her son to London. An elderly couple gave him $6,000 for a trip to Paris. And bank records showed more than $100,000 in checks to Vroom written by owners of a local jewelry store who frequently flew with Vroom.
Last summer, an Illinois federal judge ruled that Rothstein had violated the contract by booking empty seats under phony names, including Bag Rothstein. American had years earlier acknowledged that “airport personnel have become complacent” with the practice, court records show, and Soter planned to appeal. But that case and Vroom’s were thrown into limbo when American’s parent company, AMR Corp., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November.