My words for Scott have so far been tempered and restrained.
Today they are harsh. The meteor has landed. Flamed out.
Yesterday was a special day for those oozing Scott Rothstein juices. So if you are going to interview him, now would be the time. There are no cameras or cocktails in Federal Court.
First, he who has been purportedly secreted and hidden by the Feds shows up at the Capital Grille for a Martini but winds up in a You Tube interview with New Times investigative reporter Bob Norman. Special.
Second, decidedly uncomfortable with the negative stream of publicity he has been getting, and clearly against his attorney’s advice, Scott Rothstein chooses to give an ‘exclusive’ interview to Channel 7 reporter Rosh Lowe. Foolish.
Third, while Scott is chatting, Feds are seizing. Legal authorities, armed with warrants have now entered his home and carted out reams of legal documents to be sure. But that was the sideshow. The trailers which landed on his properties carried away Rolls Royces and sportscars. His boat was taken to the same marina where the Feds brought Bernie Madoff’s a couple of months ago. Ouch!
Fourth, in court, lawyers for investors of his now unraveling Ponzi scheme have filed suits demanding the property be held in trust for them, which suggests they will have to do battle with his former law partners that want the money for themselves. If the money came from firm accounts, who gets it first, the lawyers, the trusts, or the investors in a scheme oiled by firm funds?
Yes, this is all really happening. But now that he has spoken to the press, there is a few things I would like to say to Scott, directly.
Number one. Scott you told the reporters yesterday you made a mistake. No, Scott, you did not make a ‘mistake.’ You, sir, committed a crime. If I could slap you in the face, and alert your moral compass, a mistake is an inadvertent and unintentional lapse where maybe you err for a moment and correct course. A ‘mistake’ is not when you consciously and deliberately over a course of time commit acts which are nefarious, fraudulent, deceptive, harmful, and outright criminal while rewarding yourself at the expense of others.
Number two. Scott you told a reporter yesterday you wanted to do the ‘right thing,’ so you came back to set things straight. Let’s make this clear. The ‘right thing’ would have been not to do the ‘wrong thing.’ Please don’t lavish yourself with false praise. You have not 'manned up.' You have chosen to face the music and do the honorable thing after getting caught, which was inevitable. You are simply doing what you had an obligation to be doing all along. That is better than leaving us a suicide note from Morocco, but this is no reason for self-congratulatory lauding.
Number three. Scott you told reporters yesterday that you had ‘very few friends left.’ Scott, your true friends and family will stand by you in a time of crisis because they love you for who you are and what you have been, regardless of how many toys and boats and big shots you surrounded yourself with. Those people you do not have to worry about it. Those are the people who did not sign autographed plaques in your office. Those are the people whose pictures you placed on your desk because you love them and they love you. Autographs not required.
Scott, even you had to know many of the people you have circled the wagons with the past few years were there for jobs and a never-ending cash flow and cycle of good times you poured their way. They were never there for you. They were there for your money, your blitz, your flash. You took them all for a ride and they went along willingly, so suffer them not. They will survive. Leeches are bloodsuckers who will find their way to other hosts.
The thing is Scott many of your partners and associates in the law firm are decent lawyers who joined with you because they believed you were honest and real and genuine. You have stained their lives forever, tarred the South Florida legal community unimaginably, and betrayed the trust of honorable colleagues and professionals who befriended you. Guess what, you do not deserve them as friends.
You can’t pay back the scarlet letter they will now wear, the jobs they will not have, the clients that will not go near them. Do you really think that when my personal injury case goes to trial I am going to want even one of the jurors to remotely think one of your firm’s named partners is my attorney? Do you think it is going to be easy for them to list on their resume they spent the last few years at RRA without someone laughing behind their back?
Number four. Scott, you said you want to pay ‘every penny back’ to everyone who was wronged except the people who ‘participated in this.’ So now the bank robber is determining which of the account holders will be repaid, huh? Does not work that way. The Feds, the Receivers, the Trustees in Bankruptcy, they will decide that for you. Your decision making days are over. From what it sounds like, they will be diving for dollars in a pile of pennies. What were you thinking?
Number five. They are taking this stuff from you with a warrant. You are not ‘voluntarily’ giving it back. Because, just a friendly reminder again, you did not make a ‘mistake.’ You do know this, right? You are not fooling yourself? I say this because you apparently, much to the regret of many of those of us who liked you, have committed several major crimes and it is more than likely you will now go directly to jail. You will not pass 'Go'. You will not collect $200. You played the game Monopoly and lost.
Number six. You do understand the major immediate legal issue you are facing upon your arrest is whether you should you be entitled to a pre trial bond. I suspect if the financial fraud is anywhere near the allegations the government is making you may be denied one. They are going to argue you fled the country once, that there are illegally gotten gains secreted in multiple venues, and that you orchestrated a criminal scheme which had been running for years; that you have threatened to harm yourself, and that you could be facing life in prison. You are going to say that you came back, you are trying to right the wrongs you have done, and that you have strong ties to the community. And you need to be free to help the government restore those who have lost funds. That is noble and righteous. Thank you. But who is going to trust you now to make it right? Good luck.
It is going to be a tough call for a judge to decide what to do, and you may be facing some of your last days as a free man. Ever. You gave so much to so many and you could have done so much more but instead you have taken everything away from yourself. Sadly, something you will only come to realize at sentencing, when you are cuffed and walked down that lonely corridor to a federal prison, you are the worst victim of your own fraud. You will suffer more than anyone else. Because you have sold your freedom for some material things that don't last anyway.
The glorious breath of an ocean breeze, the sounds of laughter at a ballpark, the cool air of independence on a ski slope, your own bed, all that you have given up. For what? To sit in a fancy car? Please.
I hardly had an extensive relationship with you Scott, but do you remember our last conversation when you said you were thinking of leaving the home you had just barely moved into on Harbor Isle because Wayne Huizenga had put his up for sale; that maybe you wanted that? And I commented, 'Scott have you forgotten what it is like to just live in a dorm room in college? At the end of the nite, you put your head down on one pillow in one bed, and what else do you need outside of a roof, a partner, and maybe a dog by your side?'
You have given that all up, man. Family. Friends. Your dignity. For what, for what, a brief, foolish roller coaster ride in the sun? That same sun which bronzes also burns. And you have baked yourself but good.