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Sink on Rothstein: We all got conned

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010 by Dara Kam

Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink said she learned a lesson from accused Ponzi-schemer Scott Rothstein, the Broward County lawyer and political powerhouse who pleaded guilty this morning to racketeering and other offenses.

Rothstein, a major GOP contributor, and his wife held a fund-raiser for Sink’s gubernatorial campaign in August and donated $200,000 to the Florida Democratic Party before being accused of bilking his law firm’s clients and others of $1.2 billion.

At The Associated Press annual gathering of editors and reporters, Sink said the “first rule of business is to know who you’re dealing with.”

When asked if she applied the same bromide to her dealings with Rothstein, she bristled.

“Well obviously I didn’t because he is an admitted con artist,” Sink said. “Here’s a guy who conned all of Ft. Lauderdale and most of South Florida.”

She ticked off the names of other lawyers whose political stars have fallen including Bernie Madoff and banker Allen Stanford.

“I learned a lesson there,” she said of Rothstein. “Ask more questions.”

Potential Abrams challenger test-markets Rothstein strategy

Monday, January 18th, 2010 by George Bennett

Abrams

Abrams

Boca Raton attorney Robert Weinroth is considering a challenge of Republican Palm Beach County Commissioner Steven Abrams and spent $5,000 on a poll with questions linking Abrams to Fort Lauderdale Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein, whose imploded law firm employed Abrams in its Boca office.

Read about it this week’s Politics column.

Attorney Gen. Eric Holder’s remarks to Forum Club of the Palm Beaches

Friday, January 8th, 2010 by George Bennett

U.S. Attorney Gen. Eric Holder is speaking now to a Forum Club of the Palm Beaches lunch crowd of more than 700.

He’s detaling an Obama administration initiative against financial fraud.

Read his prepared remarks after the jump…. (more…)

AG Holder expected to announce financial fraud crackdown at Forum Club speech

Friday, January 8th, 2010 by George Bennett

Holder

Holder

After two weeks of bad publicity over its handling of a Nigerian jihadist’s attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound plane on Christmas Day, the Obama administration will try to shift the focus to the economy today, Politico’s Mike Allen reports.

Toward that end, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s lunchtime speech today to the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches is expected to lay out an administration initiative to “prevent, prosecute, and punish financial fraud.”

After the massive Ponzi schemes of South Floridians Bernie Madoff and Scott Rothstein, West Palm Beach is a natural backdrop for Holder’s announcement.

(more…)

Crist suspends Rothstein from judicial panel

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009 by Dara Kam

Gov. Charlie Crist suspended suspected swindler Scott Rothstein – who raised more than $700,000 for the governor’s campaigns since 2006 – from a Judicial Nominating Commission today.

Crist replaced the disgraced lawyer with Ft. Lauderdale lawyer William Berger, not to be confused with former Palm Beach Circuit judge and former Rothstein law firm partner William Berger.

The RRA Berger called Rothstein “a financial serial killer in an interview with The Palm Beach Post’s Susan Spencer Wendel earlier this month.

“He violated their trust in the most cold blooded, heartless way. He really does deserve to be shot like a rabid dog,” Berger said.

Rothstein agreed to permanently surrender his law license six days ago and will never practice law in Florida again.

Rothstein, a profligate political contributor, is accused of bilking investors and his law firm’s clients of up to $500 million through a Ponzi scheme.

Rothstein’s denoument led to the downfall of his prominent South Florida law firm, where Palm Beach County Commissioner Steve Abrams worked. Federal agents raided the firm, now in bankruptcy, earlier this month.

Dueling Rothstein fotos – who’s got the bigger grin?

Monday, November 23rd, 2009 by Dara Kam

Attorney General Bill McCollum and Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink’s campaigns are one-upping each other with photos of the gubernatorial candidates grinning alongside accused mega-swindler Scott Rothstein.

First, Sink’s campaign released this pic of GOP McCollum mccollum-rothstein-pic and the disgraced South Florida lawyer.

Sink’s campaign staffers must have missed this photo of the Democratic favorite that McCollum’s campaign folks distributed to the press this morning.

sink-rothstein-pic

But neither of the governor hopefuls’ photos is as chummy as this of current Gov. Charlie Crist, Rothstein and his wife Kim at their wedding last year.

crist_rothstein-325x2961

Rothstein roundup: Domino at ease, Tallahassee on edge, law firm on defensive

Monday, November 9th, 2009 by George Bennett

rothsteincrist
Fort Lauderdale attorney Scott Rothstein and Gov. Charlie Crist

State Rep. Carl Domino, R-Jupiter, doesn’t sound eager to make an issue of the $21,750 or more that GOP state Senate primary rival Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, has received over the years from alleged investment swindler Scott Rothstein.

“There but for the grace of God….” Domino said last week when asked about Bogdanoff’s Rothstein money and his apparently Rothstein-free portfolio.

Read about it in this week’s Politics column.

And click here to read Dara Kam’s account of the Rothstein-inspired unease in Tallahassee.

Also, esteemed business columnist Alexandra Clough pondures the allure of the Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm.

Rival feels Abrams’ Rothstein link tilted field in his favor for Crist appointment

Thursday, November 5th, 2009 by George Bennett

Boca Raton Councilwoman Susan Haynie was edged out by former Boca Mayor Steven Abrams this year for Gov. Charlie Crist’s appointment to fill a Palm Beach County commission seat.

Haynie concedes Abrams has an “impressive resume,” but suggests he had an edge because of his connection to disgraced Fort Lauderdale attorney Scott Rothstein.

Rothstein, a friend and major money-raiser for Gov. Charlie Crist, was Abrams’ employer and was listed by Abrams as a reference on his application for the appointment.

Says Haynie: “Going into the interview process, I knew that Steve Abrams’ employer was a close personal friend of Gov. Crist as well as one of his major contributors. And it didn’t feel like a level playing field.”

Abrams listed his boss Rothstein as reference for Crist appointment

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009 by George Bennett

Attorney Steven Abrams listed his boss, Scott Rothstein, as one of three references when he applied this year for Gov. Charlie Crist’s appointment to fill a Palm Beach County commission vacancy. But Abrams, who got the appointment in March, says he and Rothstein weren’t very close and he’s confident he won the job based on his record as mayor of Boca Raton and his own lengthy ties to Crist.

Crist’s former chief of staff, Eric Eikenberg, said Abrams won the job on his own merit.

“I vouched for Steve Abrams from the beginning based on my long-time working relationship with him and the governor has known him for years,” said Eikenberg, who was chief of staff for former U.S. Rep. Clay Shaw when Abrams was mayor of Boca Raton. Eikenberg is now campaign manager for Crist’s U.S. Senate bid.

Rothstein, head of a Fort Lauderdale law firm and a major political money-raiser for Crist and other elected officials, was accused by his own law partners this week of orchestrating a multimillion-dollar scheme to bilk investors. Abrams quit the firm Monday.

“Did he put in a good word for me? He was my boss,” Abrams said. “If you were to ask your boss permission to seek a job, wouldn’t you put your boss down as a reference?”

(more…)

Rooney returns Rothstein contrib but not wife’s; Dem challenger calls it “shameful”

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009 by George Bennett

As Florida pols scramble to unload contributions they received from accused mega-scammer Scott Rothstein, U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta, announced he’s giving the $4,600 he got last year from attorney Rothstein to a pair of Treasure Coast charities. But Rooney’s campaign said it doesn’t plan to return $4,600 he received from Rothstein’s wife last year.

Rooney’s Democratic challenger, St. Lucie County Commissioner Chris Craft, slammed the incumbent for that.

Read Craft’s statement after the jump….

(more…)

Crist, Rooney, state Dems and GOP pledge to return Rothstein contributions

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009 by George Bennett

Gov. Charlie Crist’s U.S. Senate campaign will give $9,600 it received from Fort Lauderdale attorney and accused multimillion-dollar investment scammer Scott Rothstein and his wife to charity or some other entity, Crist campaign manager Eric Eikenberg said this afternoon.

Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney’s campaign will give $4,600 in Rothstein contributions to a pair of Treasure Coast charities. And the Republican Party of Florida is pledging to give about $150,000 in Rothstein-linked money to a victim-compensation fund when one is set up.

The Florida Democratic Party announced it is returning a $200,000 check from Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm to the firm in hopes it “helps the victims of any wrong doing recover what they have lost.”

(more…)

Atwater, Bogdanoff vow to give back Rothstein contributions

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009 by George Bennett

Senate President and chief financial officer candidate Jeff Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, and state Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, who’s running for Atwater’s Senate seat, have pledged to give back contributions related to Scott Rothstein, the Fort Lauderdale attorney accused by his law partners of looting investors in a multimillion-dollar scheme.

Atwater appears to have received a combined $11,500 from Rothstein, his wife, the Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm and a slew of businesses tied to Rothstein. Bogdanoff’s Senate campaign has logged at least $10,500 in Rothstein-linked money, and a political committee she’s affiliated with got $5,000 from Rothstein’s law firm.

Both Atwater’s and Bogdanoff’s campaigns, however, said they haven’t figured out yet exactly where to return the money.

Democratic CFO and governor candidate Alex Sink’s campaign pledged Monday to return all Rothstein-related contributions. Sink appears to have received at least $6,500 linked to Rothstein.

“Surprised” Roger Stone says GOP moneyman Rothstein’s downfall hurts Democrat Sink

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009 by George Bennett

Legendary Republican operative and Nixon acolyte Roger Stone, who was partners with politically connected attorney Scott Rothstein in a Fort Lauderdale-based consulting firm, says he was shocked to hear that Rothstein is accused of orchestrating a multimillion-dollar investment scheme.

Stone

Stone

“I’m as surprised as anyone else. I still don’t have much information,” Stone said Monday.

Stone and Rothstein formed a consulting biz called RRA Consulting that operated out of the Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law offices. Though it’s still listed in state records as an active business, Stone said the partnership dissolved a few months ago. Stone, who lives in Miami, said he still rents office space from the law firm and visits about once a month.

Rothstein

Rothstein

Rothstein has been a major Republican money-raiser, bundling big bucks for John McCain’s presidential bid and Gov. Charlie Crist’s 2010 U.S. Senate campaign and contributing about $500,000 to the state GOP either personally or through the law firm.

So it was considered a major coup for Democratic governor hopeful Alex Sink to win Rothstein’s backing this year. Rothstein hosted an Aug. 27 fund-raiser for Sink and had the law firm write a $200,000 check to the Florida Democratic Party in September.

Said Stone: “This would have to be a considerable blow to Alex Sink and the Florida Democrats. He was a major get for the Democrats…Their trophy Republican seems to be on the lam.”

Tainted contributions? Dems, GOP, Crist all “monitoring” Rothstein allegations

Monday, November 2nd, 2009 by George Bennett

With Broward County lawyer and political mega-moneyman Scott Rothstein facing accusations of misappropriating large sums of money from investor trust accounts, the beneficiaries of his past largesse are facing pressure to give the money back.

This afternoon’s key word: “monitoring.”

Chief Financial Officer and 2010 Democratic governor candidate Alex Sink’s campaign announced she’s returning at least $2,000 in Rothstein-related contributions. The campaign has pledged to return more money if other contributors are determined to be tainted.

The Florida Democratic Party, which got a $200,000 check from Rothstein’s law firm in September, says it is “monitoring” the accusations against Rothstein and will return the money if it turns out to be tainted. The Republican Party of Florida, which has received about $500,000 from Rothstein and his law firm since 2002, also says it is “monitoring” the case.

And Gov. Charlie Crist, whose 2010 U.S. Senate campaign got $4,800 apiece from Rothstein and his wife? You guessed it: “monitoring” the allegations.

Read detailed statements after the jump…..

(more…)

Sink’s campaign returning $2,000 in Rothstein-related contribs; no word from Crist camp; Abrams leaving firm

Monday, November 2nd, 2009 by George Bennett

Sink

Sink

Democrat Alex Sink’s gubernatorial campaign is returning at least $2,000 in contributions related to prominent Broward County attorney and political moneyman Scott Rothstein, who’s being accused by his law partners of misappropriating money from investor trust accounts.

Closer to home, our Alexandra Clough reports that Palm Beach County Commissioner Steven Abrams is resigning from the Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm because of the controversy surrounding Rothstein.

“I think it’s best that a public official not be associated with the firm as it seeks to determine what happened,” Abrams said today.

Rothstein has been a major Republican contributor and money-raiser who raised big bucks for John McCain’s presidential bid and Gov. Charlie Crist’s 2010 Senate campaign.

He is also a big supporter of Democrat Sink and hosted a fund-raiser for her in August that he said raised about $240,000. Rothstein, his wife, his law firm and a software company Rothstein manages called AAMM Holdings gave $500 apiece to Sink in September.

Crist’s campaign didn’t have anyone immediately available to comment. Rothstein and his wife have given $4,800 apiece to Crist’s campaign.

Sink’s campaign released this statement today: “These are very serious allegations. The campaign is returning or donating to charity Mr. Rothstein’s and his wife’s personal contributions, as well as contributions from the account of his law firm and AAMM Holdings, LLC. If it becomes clear that others were involved in this matter, it’s our intention to return those contributions as well.”

GOP biz partners back rivals in primary for Atwater’s Senate seat

Monday, June 22nd, 2009 by George Bennett

The Republican scramble for the Palm Beach-Broward seat of Senate President Jeff Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, puts GOP heavyweights and business partners Scott Rothstein and Roger Stone in rival camps.

Attorney Rothstein – who’s raised money for the likes of Charlie Crist, John McCain and George W. Bush – is backing state Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, in the Senate District 25 race.
Legendarily dapper bad boy and unabashed Nixon admirer Stone, a partner with Rothstein in a Fort Lauderdale-based consulting biz, is behind Delray Beach businessman Nick Loeb.

Stone said he’s friends with Bogdanoff but has an “antecedent” relationship with Loeb’s family, going back to the days when he and Loeb’s father were early Ronald Reagan supporters. Though he’s known as a creative hitman, Stone says that, in this race, “I’m not here to engage in negative politics.”

Bogdanoff, Loeb and state Rep. Carl Domino, R-Jupiter, are in the GOP primary to replace Atwater, who’s running for chief financial officer

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