Saturday, April 19, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

'Hotel Impossible' gets scammed trying to help Hurricane Sandy victims

Ray Braun Sr., owner of the Thunderbird Motel in Seaside Heights, speaks to "Hotel Impossible" host Anthony Melchiorri before tensions flared on set, causing Melchiorri to leave.
Ray Braun Sr., owner of the Thunderbird Motel in Seaside Heights, speaks to "Hotel Impossible" host Anthony Melchiorri before tensions flared on set, causing Melchiorri to leave. Travel Channel
'Hotel Impossible' gets scammed trying to help Hurricane Sandy victims Video: 'Hotel Impossible' gets scammed trying to help Hurricane Sandy victims

All he wanted to do was help a family in need after Hurricane Sandy.

Last summer, Anthony Melchiorri, host of "Hotel Impossible," decided to bring his popular Travel Channel show to Seaside Heights nine months after Sandy devastated homes and businesses.

Unfortunately, the episode didn't exactly turn into the tear-jerker Melchiorri and producers probably hoped for.

During the episode, which aired last Monday, Melchiorri began to butt heads with the Braun family, owners of the Thunderbird Motel in Seaside Heights, which his crew was trying to get ready for the July 4th weekend. Tensions reached a peak when Melchiorri found dead flies and a box of pizza in the refrigerator of a room he was told was ready to rent out to customers.

A confrontation between Melchiorri and soon-to-be general manager Ray Braun Jr. (or so the family initially claimed) about the condition of the room led to a heated argument between family members and show producers, where death threats were hurled by Ray Braun Sr. “You want to see my style? Buy life insurance,” Braun Sr. said.

Melchiorri moved past it and seemed willing to help the family until a discussion with Braun Sr., who earlier said the hotel was his family's 401k plan as his wife wiped away tears, revealed he owned $40 million worth of property throughout Ocean County, and never intended for his son to be the hotel's general manager.

In a first for the show, Melchiorri is seen upset on camera walking away from the hotel, telling his crew to pack up their equipment and leave.

"Since I've shown up, I've been yelled at, cursed at and lied to," Melchiorri said. "I will not be played as a fool."

Braun Sr., upset about being portrayed as scamming the producers in the show, told the Asbury Park Press events in the show were taken out of context and feels producers tricked the family into embarrassing situations.

“What [Melchiorri] doesn’t understand is you don’t drop and sell a property in two or three months," Braun Sr. told the Press. "He never asked me how many mortgages I have running.”

Braun Sr. also told the Press both he and his daughter have recieved multiple death threats since the episode aired.

A spokesperson for Atlas Media Corp, which produces Hotel Impossible, refused to comment on the matter until the second part of the show's "Operation Sandy" episode airs at 10 p.m. Monday.

Rob Tornoe Philly.com
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