Chance's ex follows in his steps in glass business

There was so much skin showing in the first Monarch Glass television commercial, it had to be redone. Maybe it was force of habit.

But Jill Scott was also baring her midriff when she showed up to tape the radio spot. The platinum blonde with the perpetual smile breezed into the studio carrying her Chihuahua, Roxy, in one hand.

The former Mrs. America was here to continue an advertising assault that has her offering 12 free dinners with a windshield replacement, much the way her ex-husband, Rick Chance, did before he was murdered in a Tempe hotel room in August 2002.

"Hi, Phoenix," she began. "I'm Jill Scott, president of Monarch Glass." Scott intentionally echoes her husband's old spots for Empire Glass. Right down to the pause in the closing line. "And remember, when you choose glass . . . (pause) . . . choose Monarch."

Scott moved to California after a messy divorce with Chance in 1999. She said this was his town, not hers. She moved back last summer, almost a year after Chance's murder. She has started her own company using his old business model and working out of his old office. Several Chance family members now work for Monarch.

Kevin Kerr, a cousin who was a pallbearer at Chance's funeral, was in the studio, offering advice on the script. So was Dr. Alan "A.J." Citrin, wearing a black Monarch polo shirt that matched his mustache and beard. Scott introduced him as "my partner." She showed him her business plan about nine months ago, and he agreed to give some financial backing. Enough to make a splash with these ads.

"I like 'maimed,' " Citrin said. The three were discussing whether to use "maimed" or "injured" to describe people ejected through improperly installed windshields. Citrin, an anesthesiologist, said he rescheduled two surgeries to make the session. He wanted to add some weight by doing the commercial with Scott.

While the producer polished up the spot, Scott lounged in a chair, Roxy romping beneath, chasing her pink leash. Citrin leaned on a metal filing cabinet.

"I think the family sees us as continuing what he tried to do," he said, referring to Chance. Kerr nodded his head as Citrin continued.

"He turned glass into an almost pop-culture phenomenon," Citrin said.

Scott quickly followed: "He did teach people they had the right to choose."

The reverential tones about Chance might seem a bit much for what he did. He figured out how to make a ton of money replacing windshields. He lured customers with glass insurance to his shop with the free dinners he offered in his ubiquitous television and radio commercials. He then collected from their insurance company, or, if the insurance company thought the bill too high, the consumer.

Arizona, with its heat, long commutes and parades of gravel trucks, provided a lot of cracked glass. And that made Chance a millionaire.

Chance met Scott in 1996. After six weeks of dating, they went to Las Vegas to get married. It was the opening of downtown's Fremont Street Experience, and ABC's Good Morning America was taping segments. A producer met the couple, and they agreed to get married on national television.

Their divorce was final in 1999. That also made national news.

Scott became tabloid fodder for a while. Her first ex-husband told of a bizarre plot she had to kidnap him. Chance accused her of theft. A promoter came forward with a claim that she reneged on a contract to pose nude. And the Mrs. America pageant was after her when they found out she was divorced when she won the 1991 title.

Today, Scott's crown and sash are enshrined in a corner shelf in her east Phoenix office. It's the office that used to belong to Chance.

"When I first moved in here, I didn't want to come in here," she said. "It was too strange. But this building is so old, and this is the only private office."

When Scott came back to Arizona, she was surprised that no other glass company had adopted her husband's business model. So she started one that did, providing direct competition to her ex-husband's old company.

"People think, 'Oh my gosh, here's his ex-wife . . . she's bitter, she's doing something to compete against her ex-husband's company because he's gone,' " she said.

But, Scott said, it's not like that. Chance's family supports her new venture. And she doesn't hold any grudge against Empire.

However, she did originally want to call the company Empress. She shelved that idea, figuring customers would get confused and call Empire instead.

Standing in her ex-husband's old office, Scott wrote a check for $3,000 to the advertising representative from Channel 10 (KSAZ). She then took a seat on the couch in the lobby, Kerr next to her. The new and improved spot was set to come on during a break in the Judge Joe Brown show.

"In four minutes," Kerr said, checking his watch.

Both TV commercials were filmed at Bank One Ballpark. Monarch paid for a billboard inside the ballpark.

The new commercial, finished just that week, was much more to Scott's liking. She said the previous one made her look old. The lighting on the new one is much more flattering. It also doesn't contain an image of her bare tummy, shot from below.

"How cheesy," she said of the shot that opened the original commercial, "especially when you're trying to present yourself as an owner and president and get some credibility in a male-dominated industry."

Her commercial came on. The screen showed Scott swinging a baseball bat. The camera, seemingly placed on the grass, shot straight up, capturing maximum midriff. It was the old commercial.

"Oh, I'm going to kill you. That's still . . . " Scott said, sitting with her hands on her cheeks. "Kevin, you did this on purpose. Kevin, get rid of that."

The old commercial rolled on. It ended with Scott walking into the ballpark wearing tight jeans as her voice gave out the phone number.

The phone rang.

"Look at that," Kerr said. As he spoke, another line rang. "It's amazing how it works."

Scott leaned on an elbow.

"That's because there's a lot of retired people in Arizona," she said. "They're like, 'I didn't know she was 60 and darn it, she's in good shape for that.' "

For the record, Scott said she is 42.

The next day, Scott called to tell me she wasn't happy with the radio ad I watched her record. She was going to redo it, only without Citrin, keeping him a literal silent partner.

600450 Chance's ex follows in his steps in glass business
Date: 11 May 2004

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