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Neither Israel nor Borquez could be reached for comment. Chiffon would say only that she often signs things that are put in front of her without reading them. "I never look at what I sign," she says. "It's a very bad thing I have done my whole life. I happen to trust people, and then look what happens." What happened in the Borquez case was that Chiffon skipped bail two days after her arrest and resurfaced several months later in New Jersey, where she was arrested and convicted in Jefferson Township for various misdemeanor forgery and theft charges. She was then sent back to Colorado, where she was sentenced to eight years and served four.

Chiffon came off parole in May 1993. She spent several months delighting customers with her piano playing at the Radisson, but she couldn't get restaurants out of her system. And so she opened the International in April 1994. "I can make restaurants work, I am telling you," Chiffon says. "Yes, I know I have done some bad things. I am bad and I am good. In all of these instances I have written bad checks, but I tried to make them good.

"I don't write bad checks with the intention of hurting anyone. And I always pay. All of these people, they will get their money. They will be paid."

Gottdenker and Richter have given up any hope that they will ever see their $18,500 again. "We are just trying to keep our relationship going," Richter says. "We've been through a lot with this whole ordeal, and while we're not sure how we're going to replace that money, we're also worried about working things out between us."

After Chiffon was arrested, the couple had plunged in and tried to make the restaurant a success. They changed the name to B.J. Dunwoody's, after the famous Denver soap manufacturer, and Richter took another $50,000 out of her retirement account to make such improvements as painting the walls, upgrading the kitchen equipment and replacing the furniture. Gottdenker worked sixty-hour weeks overseeing the operation, and Richter spent every spare minute outside of her regular job at the restaurant. But in the end, they could not keep it up, and on December 23 the Original Chubby's took over the lease.

"Now we just want to see justice done," says Gottdenker.
So does Fort Collins deputy district attorney Mitch Murray, who is prosecuting the case for Mary Davis, the elderly woman who thought she was buying an interest in Lautrec's. Murray says that once he gets a conviction on that case, he intends to try Chiffon on Colorado's habitual-criminal law, which ups the ante for those with three felony convictions in the state. In Chiffon's case, this would carry a 36-year sentence. "That would put her at age ninety," Murray says. "Which could mean the end of all this."

Chiffon, however, isn't worried. "If the Man Up There doesn't want me in jail," she says, rolling her eyes heavenward, "then no jury, no judge, no one is going to put me back in jail. But if that's where He wants me, that's where I'll go." At the moment, she's more concerned about Moods, the compact disc she just recorded of the music she's spent many years writing. She fears that publicity about the upcoming trial will erase her chances at stardom. "I can get this going and sell a million copies easily," she says.

"All I need is $2,900."
end of part 2

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