Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bankruptcy attorneys sue Rothstein partner

Russell Adler, a name partner in convicted lawyer Scott Rothstein's former Fort Lauderdale firm, was sued Monday for more than $1.2 million by bankruptcy attorneys who claim the money was the fruit of Rothstein's massive investment scam.

The bankruptcy complaint accuses Adler and his wife Katie of using $475,000 of that money to buy a Manhattan co-op apartment in August — two months before Rothstein's Ponzi scheme imploded, the firm collapsed and federal authorities launched a criminal investigation.

The complaint claims the defunct firm of Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler made salary "overpayments'' totaling nearly $580,000 to Adler and an additional $655,000 in "unpaid loans'' to him and his wife, who live in Fort Lauderdale.

Adler, who has said he was unaware of Rothstein's $1.2 billion investment racket, declined to comment. One of his attorneys, Fred Haddad, said Adler would "vigorously'' fight the bankruptcy suit.

"Russell earned everything he was paid and was worth every penny of it," Haddad said. "The mortgages were 100 percent legitimate. Russell had no knowledge of any alleged improprieties by Rothstein."

That assertion doesn't matter to the attorneys for the firm's bankruptcy trustee, Herbert Stettin. In the complaint, they called the firm's transfers between 2006 and 2009 "fraudulent'' and are seeking to recover the payments and loans to Adler and to seize the co-op to repay Rothstein's victims.

"They enjoyed the fruits of it by a dramatic overpayment of compensation, especially compared to what his business generation was and how the firm was doing," lawyer Charles Lichtman, whose firm, Berger Singerman, is handling the bankruptcy case, told the Miami Herald. "Law firms aren't in the business of buying condos for their partners."

During his tenure with the firm, Adler and his wife Katie also gave about $185,000 to state and federal politicians. Among them: former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani for his presidential bid and later John McCain, when he became the Republican nominee for the White House.

Previous court documents filed by the bankruptcy lawyers have listed several other former RRA employees who received large salaries and loans from the 70-attorney firm — including the other name partner, Stuart Rosenfeldt.

Rosenfeldt, who co-owned the firm with Rothstein, received more than $6 million in total compensation in 2008, according to a court record. But Rosenfeldt, through his lawyer, disputed that he earned that much.

The bankruptcy complaint follows Rothstein's guilty plea in late January to five counts of racketeering, fraud and money laundering stemming from his sale of fabricated legal settlements to investors. Rothstein faces up to 100 years in prison at his May 6 entencing.

Federal prosecutors plan to charge others associated with Rothstein's scam, saying some former RRA employees "do have apparent criminal culpability." They have not identified any employees under investigation.

In the bankruptcy case as well, other employees are expected to be served with complaints similar to that filed against Adler.

"I've got probably an estimated eight more from RRA personnel that we are focused on," Lichtman said.

Lichtman declined to identify those other employees, but described them as "people who certainly appeared to be close to Scott and were well paid."

Bankruptcy attorneys sue Rothstein partner 02/08/10 [Last modified: Monday, February 8, 2010 8:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally


    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  2. Kushner to testify before two intelligence committees


    WASHINGTON— President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is set to make a second appearance on Capitol Hill — he will speak with the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, one day after he is scheduled to speak with Senate Intelligence Committee investigators behind closed doors.

    White House senior adviser Jared Kushner is scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Intelligence Committee. [Associated Press]
  3. Rays blow lead in ninth, lose in 10 to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rays manager Kevin Cash liked the way Alex Cobb was competing Friday night. He liked the way the hard contact made by the Rangers batters went away after the second or third inning. So as the game headed toward the ninth, there was no doubt in Cash's mind that sending Cobb back to the mound was …

    Rays starter Alex Cobb can hardly believe what just happened as he leaves the game in the ninth after allowing a leadoff double then a tying two-run homer to the Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo.
  4. Exhumation of Dalí's remains finds his mustache still intact


    FIGUERES, Spain — Forensic experts in Spain have removed hair, nails and two long bones from Salvador Dalí's embalmed remains to aid a court-ordered paternity test that may enable a woman who says she is the surrealist artist's daughter to claim part of Dalí's vast estate.

    Salvador Dal? died in 1989 leaving vast estate.
  5. Sessions discussed Trump campaign-related matters with Russian ambassador, U.S. intelligence intercepts show


    WASHINGTON — Russia's ambassador to Washington told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, contrary to public assertions by the embattled attorney general, current and former U.S. …

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation after meetings with an ambassador were revealed.