He relished the attention from reporters who called to hear his side of the story and even held an “Enemies Ball” for other list members and their supporters at his New York City restaurant, Jimmy’s, named for newspaper reporter Jimmy Breslin.
But soon after the hubbub surrounding his addition to the list subsided, Davidoff realized the implications of being a target of the most powerful man in the United States — scandal-plagued or not.
“We had audits, we had a number of things going on with leaks to the newspapers about tax problems and questionable practices — leaks that came out of nowhere from unnamed sources within the government that I was constantly responding to,” Davidoff said.
Even years after Nixon resigned from office, the implications of being on the list followed him, he said.
“It’s like a bloodhound on the trail; the owner doesn’t have to be there, the bloodhound keeps sniffing,” Davidoff said. “The head of the country and his staff who were no longer there already pointed their bloodhound in [my] direction, and it kept going.”
Life After the List
Davidoff said the notoriety he received from his inclusion on the list ultimately helped him gain success later in life.
“It’s a sort of Medal of Honor that’s gone with me,” Davidoff said.
Shortly after his place on the list was revealed, Davidoff got out of the restaurant business and launched a law and lobbying firm — Davidoff, Hutcher & Citron LLP — which focuses on commercial law and government relations. He also has used his political and legal experiences to good effect in show business, with roles on ABC’s “Spin City” and HBO’s iconic mafia drama “The Sopranos.”
Davidoff said the experience made him want to help other people who are in similar situations, with the government trying to make average citizens’ lives harder by making them jump through unnecessary hoops or denying them the right to smoothly run a business.
“You see cases where ... you see [people] just being pushed by the government wrongfully, oppressed by the government wrongfully. And by no means am I a civil liberties lawyer ... but there are many times where we’ll step into a situation which is small, there’s nothing that we can make a profit from, just because it’s wrong,” Davidoff said.
And now 40 years after being added to the list, Davidoff said he holds no animosity toward Nixon or his staff.
“He really could’ve been one of our great presidents,” Davidoff said. “But the fact that he was brought down by his own paranoia makes me sad.”
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.