Saturday, November 28, 2009

Weekend Sports Edition: Tiger Woods (with big time apologies to Jimmy Soul)

Ok. I am tired. I have had way too much to drink. I just read that Tiger Woods' injuries were caused by his wife. For some reason, the following song came to mind which Woods should have listened to 100 times before walking down the aisle:

If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life,
Never make a pretty woman your wife.
So from my personal point of view,
Get an ugly girl to marry you.

[Jimmy & Backup:]
If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life,
Never make a pretty woman your wife.
So from my personal point of view,
Get an ugly girl to marry you.

A pretty woman makes her husband look small.
And very often causes his downfall. (Hey!)
As soon as he marries her, then she starts,
To do the things that will break his heart.

But if you make an ugly woman your wife,
You'll be happy for the rest of your life.
An ug-a-ly woman cooks your meals on time,
An she'll always give you peace of mind.

[Jimmy & Backup:]
If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life,
Never make a pretty woman your wife.
So from my personal point of view,
Get an ugly girl to marry you.

[Instrumental break with vocalizations.]

Don't let your friends say you have no taste,
Go ahead and marry anyway. (Hey!)
Though her face is ugly, her eyes don't match,
Take it from me, she's a better catch.

[Jimmy & Backup:]
If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life,
Never make a pretty woman your wife.
So from my personal point of view,
[ Find more Lyrics on ]
Get an ugly girl to marry you.

[Man #1:] Say, man.
[Man #2:] Say, baby.
[Man #1:] I saw your wife the other day.
[Man #2:] Yeah?
[Man #1:] Yeah, and she's UGLEEE!
[Man #2:] Yeah, she's ugly, but she sure can cook, baby.
[Man #1:] Yeah, alright.

[Jimmy & Backup:]
If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life,
Never make a pretty woman your wife.
So from my personal point of view,
Get an ugly girl to marry you.

[Jimmy & (Backup):]
(If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life,)
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
(Never make a pretty woman your wife.)
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah yeah-yeah.
(So from my personal point of view,)
(Get an ugly girl to marry you.)

(If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life,)
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
(Never make a pretty woman your wife.)
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
(So from my personal point of view,)
(Get an ugly girl to marry you.)
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
(If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life,)
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
(Never make a pretty woman your wife.)
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
(So from my personal point of view...)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Ben Kuehne, The Aftermath

The United States of America has dismissed all criminal charges against Ben Kuehne. The case should never have been brought. It is a farce, a disgrace, and something that should deeply concern every freedom loving person in America. In short, the government indicted Mr. Kuehne for conduct that was not criminal and which they should have known was not criminal. Mr. Kuehne spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of his money defending himself against this nonsense. He had to endure personal humiliation amongst his colleagues. He is one of the finest attorneys in Miami but his name will forever be associated with overzealous prosecutorial tactics.
But what I find ironic and almost humorous is the reaction of Mr. Kuehne and his colleagues. Some have used the Thanksgiving holiday to state that Mr. Kuehne should be especially thankful. Kuehne himself claims to be thankful. Others have offered "congratulations" to Mr. Kuehne, as if this were some sort of professional milestone. But I dissent. Why should Kuehne be grateful? Being thankful has a very definite meaning. You are thankful because you have received something you do not believe you deserve. If I am walking into a building and someone holds open a door for me, I say thank you because they had no obligation to do it. Likewise, if someone buys me a dinner as a gift, I am grateful because I am the beneficiary of someone else's largesse that was not earned. But if someone pays me back money I am owed I am not grateful for they had a duty to do so. Mr. Kuehne is thankful for the support his friends gave to him but in no way should he be generally grateful other than feeling thankful that someone has stopped beating him over the head. The government's dismissal is basically an admission that they never should have brought this case to begin with. In other words, we indicted you, almost ruined your life, put you through emotional hell, embarrassed you in front of your colleagues, but now, on second thought, we realized it was all a misunderstanding. Sorry! To which I say, bullshit! Now is not time to sit around and pat each other on the back and offer congratulatory missives and talk about what a great guy Ben is and how thankful he should be in this holiday season.
Recently, Judge Gold ordered the government to pay attorney fees to a doctor who was unjustly prosecuted. Without knowing that much about the procedural vehicle to turn the tables on the government, Kuehne owes it to himself to file a motion under the Hyde Amendment to recover his attorney fees and costs because of their pursuing this case against him. I cannot believe this was done in good faith. Citizens must have redress against the government when they are victims of prosecutorial abuse. I remember an old adage: you can beat the rap but you can't beat the ride. Well, you should be able to beat the ride, especially when the government dragged you onto the train wreck against your will. It is time for Mr. Kuehne to go on the offensive. There should be a defense fund to raise money for him to fight back. I say damn the government, time to Lock and Load, at least within a legal context.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Weekend Sports Edition: The 1966 Los Angeles Dodgers

There have been many powerhouse pennant winners whose roster was akin to the American military's performance in both Iraq wars, at least the military part of it. That is, shock and awe them with overwhelming power. The Yankee teams of the 20's, 50's, early 60's and late 90's come to mind as well as the Reds teams of 75 and 76. An honorable mention goes to the Oriole teams of 69 through 71. But what has fascinates me more is the teams who win pennants and amass impressive records on the back of one player while the rest of team is mediocre at best. The 1966 Dodgers are a perfect example of the latter. They scored 606 runs that year, 8th in the league. Their lineup was anemic. Their best hitter was third baseman Jim Lefebvre. He hit 24 home runs and batted .274. Tommie Davis was platooned in the outfield. He hit .313 with 3 home runs. The pitching was good but consider: Don Drysdale was 13-16. Claude Osteen was 17-14. Don Sutton was 12-12. They had one great reliever, Phil Regan, who went 14-1 with a 1.62 ERA. They won 95 games. How did they accomplish this feat with such a lackluster roster? Everyone over 50 knows the answer: Sandy Koufax. He won 27 games, lost 9, with an ERA of 1.73, struck out 317 batters and completed 27 games. The Dodgers that year finished 1.5 games ahead of the second place Giants. Although Koufax won the Cy Young that year, he was not the MVP. That went to Roberto Clemente. I can think of no modern day pennant winner that can owe its accomplishment more to one player than the 66 Dodgers can to Koufax. A caveat. The Dodgers lost the World Series that year to the Orioles in 4 games. They scored 2 runs in the series. Koufax pitched game two against Jim Palmer and lost 6-0, due mainly to three errors by Willie Davis, an otherwise great fielder. It was the last game Koufax ever pitched. His arm gave out. His run from 1963 through 1966 is still the most dominant ever by a pitcher. I will never forget a Casey Stengel quote after the 1963 series where the Dodgers beat the Yankees 4-0. Koufax went 25-5 that year. The former Yankee manager said that he had no problem understanding how Koufax won 25 games. What he could not figure out for the life of him was how he ever lost 5!

Can The Government Force You To Buy A New Car? (More Important, is America Finished?)

There has been much written in the blogosphere about whether there is any constitutional authority for the federal government to force its citizens to purchase a policy of health insurance. As one who is afraid of government gaining increasing power over people's lives, I do not think it is. But let us assume that that it is constitutionally permissible. What next? If the government really wants to save the auto industry, why not pass a law that requires every American to purchase a new American made vehicle in the next 6 months? If you do not make the purchase, you will be taxed the fair market value of a standard 4 door sedan. If you don't pay that, it's off to the hoosegow for you. Ditto for the housing market. Too many unemployed carpenters and tile installers? Pass a law requiring every American to put an addition on his house. The coup de grace in this scenario might be the ultimate test of the political power of the NRA. Worried about the police not being around when you get mugged or your house gets broken into? That's right. Instead of running to your phone and dialing up 911, just put your hand in your pants and pull out that government sanctioned 357 magnum and start firing away (and hope it is not your dog just wanting to come back in the house). Now the government can force you to purchase automobile insurance as a condition of driving a car, which you are free not to do. But can they force you to purchase something as a condition of citizenship? If the answer is yes, we are well on our way to an Orwellian society. For if the government has authority over your health, they have control over your life. If the government is going to pay for your diabetes or heart attack, you can bet your bottom dollar they will soon be telling you how much wine you can drink, whether or not to smoke cigars, and what kind of vegetables you need to eat. Putting this in historical perspective, I read the following ditty every week. It is as predictable as the laws of physics. Alexander Tyler made the following observation in 1787:
A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.
The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:
From bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage.
I believe the US is in stage 7. It will take about 50 years to get to stage 8. But like a rock falling from a building, nothing can stop the trajectory. That is unfortunate. Not for us, bur for many of our children and all of our grandchildren.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Don't Bank On It

Bill Scherer has fired the first shot in what promises to be a protracted legal war. But like many in war who unload the opening salvo, the satisfaction may be temporary and fleeting, especially when strategies were formulated without sufficient information at hand. Initial aggression is more often a result of desperation than of likelihood of success. I have not read Scherer's complaint against TD Bank. However, and only as an observation without knowing the particulars, aren't these investors a bit brazen? It has been many years since I was in law school but I do remember being taught about contributory negligence and assumption of risk. And before law school, I remember in 1969 my father told me I was the stupidest person in town for giving a man at the country club $5.00 from my caddy earnings so he could bet it at the track. My dad told me I deserved to lose the money for being such a dumb ass. In honor of my father, I will call Scherer's clients DADS as in Dumb Ass Dudes. Bascially, the DADS invested money in a scheme that any rational person would have seen as a joke. Having now lost their money, they seek to blame the bank where Rothstein deposited their money. Without having to quote Willie Sutton, the motive for this ploy is obvious. If I were TD Bank, I would sit back and let the dust settle. Find out the names of as many investors as you can who refused Rothstein's overtures, take their depositions, and lay out for the public to see the absurdity of the propositions he made and how a prudent person acted. In fact put the DADS in the spotlight and focus on their stupidity. I have a gut feeling they will have no jury sympathy. None. And I have another gut feeling that the bank did nothing wrong. It just doesn't seem logical that a bank like TD would allow itself to get roped into this. Stay tuned.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Weekend Sports Edition: Is Don Shula Overrated?

Don Shula is a famous coach. He holds the all time record for most wins by a head coach. Longevity has its rewards, especially if you can string together 30+ years of nine and ten win seasons. He won two Super Bowls with the Dolphins. But let us take a look at his other not so notable acchievements:
1. 1964. Shula's Colts finished 12-2 and played the Cleveland Browns in Cleveland for the NFL Championship. The Colts were favored. They lost 27-0.
2. 1965. The Colts and Packers ended the season tied for the Western Division lead. The Packers beat the Colts twice in the regular season. The league rules did not recognize tie breakers, etc. so a playoff was necessary. The Packers won 13-10 in overtime. The Colts led 10-0 at halftime, Tom Matte had to play quarterback in place of an injured Unitas. Zeke Bratkowski played in place of Bart Starr. Without Unitas, the Colts should have been blown out.
3. 1967. The Colts go into the final game of the season against the Rams with an 11-0-2 record. They lose 34-10 and miss the playoffs.
3. 1969. Super Bowl. Shula's Colts were an 18 point favorite against the Jets. They lost 16-7 in a game as boring as it was significant.
4. 1972. Super Bowl. The Cowboys beat the Dolphins 27-3. The Dolphins never had a chance or should they have.
5. 1983. Super Bowl. The Dolphins lose to the Redskins 27-17.
6. 1985. Super Bowl. The Dolphins lose to the 49ers 38-16.
Shula's Dolphins also lost two AFC championship games, each to the Patriots and to the Bills. Shula's championship game record is 2-5, in addition to losing some important games that could have gotten his team to the Super Bowl. He is the only coach to ever have an undefeated season. That accomplishment has immunized him from future criticism of his record. I would rank him as one of better NFL coaches but certainly not the best.

The 1967 Baltimore Colts

Last year the Arizona Cardinals almost won the Super Bowl. Their regular season record was 9-7. Many thought it was a reflection of the warped playoff system that can catapult a mediocre team into the championship game. But what about the flip side? Have great teams been denied an opportunity to participate in the playoffs? The answer is yes. Forgotten in the annals of football anomalies are the 1967 Baltimore Colts. First some background. The NFL had four divisions: the Capital, Coastal, Century, and Central. Dallas (9-5) won the Capital, Cleveland (9-5) won the Century, Green Bay (9-4-1) won the Central. The real excitement was in the Coastal. The Colts amassed a record of 11-0-2 going into the final game against the Rams in Los Angeles who were 10-1-2. They played to a tie earlier in the season in Baltimore. Each had beaten the champion Packers in the regular season. The Rams had a very strong defense led by its Fearsome Foursome. Roman Gabriel was the quarterback. He had two excellent receivers: Bernie Casey (later a bit Hollywood actor) and Jack Snow. The Colts had Johnny Unitas who enjoyed his best season ever. He was the league's MVP that year. Don Shula coached the Colts. The Rams won, 34-10. They also won the division. The Colts finished 11-1-2, one of the best regular season records ever in the NFL. But they did not make the playoffs. The Packers beat the Rams in the first round of the playoffs, beat the Cowboys in one of the most memorable NFL games ever, and then trounced the Raiders in the second Super Bowl. It was Green Bay's last hurrah. The next season the Colts finished 13-1 but lost to the Jets in the Super Bowl III.
I remember the season well and always thought it was strange that a team could not make the playoffs despite only losing one game all year.
Next Up: Don Shula. Was he overrated?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Show Time

Lawyers are by and large frustrated actors so let's get it out in the open. What movie best portrays the Rothstein scandal? I nominate Nightmare Alley with Tyrone Power and Nancy Walker. Rothstein is no Tyrone Power in the looks department but the movie has a certain similarity that is eerie if not on such a grand scale. Power plays a charlatan fortune teller who specializes in deceiving wealthy people into turning over their money to him.
Never having met Rothstein, I was perplexed. He reminded me of someone or something I have known for years and I could not put my finger on it until tonight only after a good cigar and one too many glasses of high quality scotch. He is the ultimate heel in the good old days of professional wrestling in the 70's and early 80's. He is a comical caricature of a stereotype. Think of him as a cross between the Grand Wizard of Wrestling, Rick Flair, and Gorgeous George. His wife is the equivalent of Miss Elizabeth, Macho Man Randy Savage's ringside paramour.
As for his wife, there was much talk on the blogs today that she has hired a lawyer. So what. If she is not the bimbo that everyone thinks, she needs to hire a PR firm, a Hollywood agent, and a good screenwriter. She has a story to tell and there are people out there who will pay big bucks to hear it all. The sooner it gets out the better for her. And admit it fellow attorneys, you will be glued to your TV sets

Monday, November 9, 2009

" A Good Lawyer Knows The Law. A Great Lawyer Knows The Judge."

Of all the publicity generated in the past week on the Rothstein matter, I am surprised and disappointed that the above quotation prominently displayed in Rothstein's office (or "inner sanctum" as his one time partners call it) has not caused an outrage in the legal community. I am about as cynical as they come and have no illusions about favoritism in any courthouse. But to advertise the role of a lawyer in such a corrupt manner is, by itself, reason for discipline by the Florida Bar. Think about it. If you are a regular attorney in this town, you probably work long hours, do your work diligently, argue your case as best you can, win some, lose some, but in the end, and despite being frustrated every day by events beyond your control, including judges who seem to have it in for you, you realize that, all other things being equal, you get a fair hearing most of the time. Now comes this schmuck who tells clients that the mark of a good lawyer is his ability to corruptly influence the judge! Imagine some client coming to your office from out of the country who as an important litigation matter to retain you on, and the first thing he sees is a framed picture of the above quote. What is he to think? And how does that reflect on the judiciary? Not good. I look at the quote as akin to amending the Ten Commandments to delete "Thou Shall Not Steal" and replace it with "If Thou Shall Steal, Make Damn Sure You Don't Get Caught."

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Stuart Rosenfeldt: The Beginning Of The End?

I do not know Stuart Rosenfeldt. He is probably a fine attorney and I hope he survives this tsunami of a crisis in his professional life. However, I cannot help but be skeptical of his public pronouncements about his ignorance of his partner's crimes or what appears to be thievery on a monumental scale. To paraphrase Shakespeare, perhaps Mr. Rosenfeldt doth protest too much. Let us look at what is known or at least a set of facts that are highly likely to be true:
1. Rothstein and Rosenfeldt met some 8 to 10 years ago when each was an attorney no different from other attorneys in South Florida. That is, they led an American middle class lifestyle with all of the accoutrements that such a status brings with it. Life was good but you worried every night about paying bills and sending your kids to college. And if one of your kids needed braces or the a/c broke in your house, you felt the pain when you wrote the check. I read in the Herald this morning that Rothstein had modest assets when he was divorced ten years ago. They worked together at Dennis Eisenger's firm in Hollywood. That firm is known for its expertise in condominium law. Eisenger is a fine lawyer and the lawyers there work hard and represent clients well.
2. The two future partners decide to form their own firm, specializing in labor and employment law. For a fledgling firm, this practice means representing plaintiffs in federal wage and hour disputes, ADA cases, age/sex/race discrimination matters, and generic employment type disputes. I doubt they represented large companies who are often the target of such suits. These entities use the mega firms that handle their other business or have insurance companies represent them through one of the large insurance defense firms in town. Again, their situation is no different than any other small firm starting a new practice. You start small and build your way up by developing a client base and serving it well.
3. According to Rosenfeldt, he was a 50% partner in the firm. Rothstein handled all of the financial issues and he, presumably, handled the legal matters.
4. The firm grew from 7 lawyers to over 70 in about six years. The firm went from an average small shop to one where the name partner became a celebrity mover and shaker, political contributor, philanthropist, and a veritable Jay Gatsby about town almost overnight. He hired ex judges, ex cons, and posted the kind of security around his office that is normally reserved for heads of state or mafia dons. He purchased five or six properties in Florida, one in Rhode Island, and one in NY. He amassed a collection of luxury cars that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars each. His lifestyle was not only ostentatious but he went out of his way to make sure everyone in town knew he was living that way. Which is fine so long as it is your money. If your name is Warren Buffett or George Soros or Rush Limbaugh or Bill Gates, you can live this way. Everyone knows you earned it the old fashioned way: hard work and luck.
5. In order for Rosenfeldt and other partners to believe that Rothstein's lifestyle was financed legitimately, they had to assume that the firm was generating sufficient revenue to support it. Accepting Rosenfeldt's statement that he was ignorant of the firm's finances, the bigger question is what was he not ignorant of? Presumably, the firm generated revenue from its legal practice. Rosenfeldt, as 50% partner, must have had intimate knowledge of all of the pending lawsuits the firm was handling and how much money each file was generating in fees. But let us delve into this a little deeper. If you are a lawyer reading this post, put yourself in Rosenfeldt's position. You are presumably drawing a salary. You work every day on client matters. You bill for your time. You know how much money you are generating for the firm. You also have a pretty good idea about what everyone else is doing. The firm must have had some type of internal review process where litigation matters and the like were settled. Rosenfeldt had to have been privy to this procedure. He cannot claim to be an associate who was called a partner, i.e., a mere employee who collected a paycheck, billed his hours, and kept to himself. He was at the firm from its inception. He knew Rothstein was no jet setter when they started the practice and he had to have known the firm's caseload and billable hours that were coming in every month. From what I have read, Rothstein was no legal genius or even a rainmaker type who had a large book of business to support a staff of 70 lawyers. With this as a backdrop, it is simply inconceivable that Rosenfeldt could look around him for the past few years and not think something was seriously amiss. If you are an attorney, how would you react if the following happened at the firm you worked? Consider:
a. Your 50/50 partner is living like a king and you are not;
b. his lifestyle is 1000 times beyond what the firm's caseload and client base could possibly support;
c. your 50/50 partner holes himself in his office in a fortress like environment; and
d. when you try to question him about the firm's finances, he brushes you off like you are a junior associate.
99% of lawyers I know would resign. It would be intriguing to know what Rosenfeldt's draw was at the firm. If he made more money than he was bringing in or even billing for, he had to have wondered why he was being rewarded so generously. Most partners at law firms know what type of business the other partners have and if they pull their weight or not. And what about his wife? You had better believe that if he was not making good money, his wife would be nagging him like white on rice. Imagine seeing the opulence thrown in your face, and knowing your husband is this man's 50/50 partner, and you "only" have one house and two cars and are wondering what you will do in retirement. I am sure she thought to herself and mentioned to him something to the effect that “hey, what is wrong here. Your partner spends a million dollars like we do dimes. Where is your share?” Rest assured, he did not tell his wife that he was ignorant of Rothstein's shenanigans. The more likely scenario was "honey, as long as the money is rolling in and we are doing way better than we would do otherwise, I am not going to say anything. If the shit hits the fan, I can claim I did not know anything. So please be quiet." And didn't the other partners talk to one another about their cases or clients? One would think they shared small talk about the giant elephant in the room: “Hey, how can it be that we have clients that justify $X amount a year in salaries and the senior partner is living as if we do 1000 times that?” Even if all of the clients went to Rothstein and he farmed the work to the other attorneys, one could easily do the math and figure out that 70 attorneys billing 100 hours a week would not put a dent in his monthly budget. This analysis is based on reasonable inferences drawn from facts that are probably true. Rothstein may very well confirm what Rosenfeldt has stated publicly but I doubt it.
The Daily Business Review and some blogs reported this week that attorney Craig Raymond at Broad & Cassel has a client who says that Rosenfeldt was present at a meeting in Rothstein's office where structured settlements were discussed. Rosenfeldt denies it. It is highly unlikely a potential investor would make this up. I wonder what Rothstein will say about this meeting? I am sure he will be asked about it. If it happened, Rosenfeldt's defense crumbles. In the next few weeks, many more witnesses will come forward with evidence. A lot is going to be learned about who knew what. Any public statements that Rosenfeldt has made that are not true and are seen as an attempt to separate him from Rothstein will only further embolden Rothstein to cooperate with the government. There is nothing that gets a suspect to rat out his friends than watching them lie about what they know and shifting the blame onto others.
I find Kendall Coffey's strategy brilliant as a short-term stopgap measure to save the firm but counter productive in the long run as far as Rosenfeldt's personal liability is concerned. Rosenfeldt's public posturing and statements will come back to haunt him. Watching Kendall on video giving a public tour of Rothstein's office made me think that it could have been a dress rehearsal for some Florida Bar attorney arguing that Rosenfeldt should be disciplined for negligently allowing himself to be part of this crime even if he did not know the details. Kendall went out of his way to separate Rothstein's office and persona from the actual practice of law that went on in the rest of the offices. Nice try and it sounded convincing for a week. But it will not withstand scrutiny. If the trappings of the office were foreign to the day-to-day operations of a normal law firm, why did the partners tolerate it? Judge Streitfeld made a comment at one of the initial court hearings where he was skeptical of Rosenfeldt's claims of ignorance. In a few weeks from now, when more information becomes known, Rosenfeldt's expensive legal strategy will come back to bite him hard.
Stay tuned.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Rothstein: The End of the Beginning

It has been one week since the Scott Rothstein fiasco became public. The dust has settled only in that the daily revelations have slowed to a point where the people most affected by this travesty have finally digested the story and stopped making it the centerpiece of their interactions with their colleagues. But the case now moves from shock and awe to a serious analysis of what happened and why and, more important, who is to be held liable for it, criminally and civilly. Here are the areas to keep a close eye on:
1. Scott Rothstein. He will plead guilty and go to prison for a long time. The only question is whom is he taking down with him. Everyone assumes he is ratting out his friends. Don't bet on it. At least not yet. Before he even begins to be seriously debriefed, the FBI and US Attorney need to accumulate evidence against him. The fact that he wants to cooperate and has thrown himself into protective custody means nothing. Remember, the feds were tipped off only ten days ago. This case is the reverse of most investigations: the grunt work is completed before people start to flip; here you have a big target who comes to the government before they have any solid evidence that he has done anything wrong. They must first examine the evidence, talk to witnesses and victims, determine who is a target and who is a witness and the total amount of money stolen, and then once they have a handle on the scope of the fraud, get a proffer from Rothstein as to what he can offer the government that they do not already have. This process takes a long time. It will take the government a month to put their theory of the case together. During that time, Rothstein will spend his days and nights holed up somewhere drafting a proffer of what evidence he can give to the government that can implicate other people. Once he does, the government will take another month to verify the accuracy of what he is saying and if it is worth anything even if it is true. Then Rothstein will negotiate a plea, which will take a week. He will then go to court, plead guilty, and be sentenced. I may be wrong, but I doubt very much that the government will allow him to plead to anything unless they are certain they know exactly what he did. Otherwise, they run the terrible risk and huge embarrassment of cutting a deal with him now only to find out three months from now that he committed more crimes than he initially let on.
2. Charlie Crist. His political career is doomed. The pictures in Rothstein's office are devastating. While politicians always take photos with anyone who will pose and take money from just about anyone who will write a check, Crist took it a step further and made his friendship with Rothstein a very public fact. He faces a serious primary challenge from Marco Rubio and the moderates who would otherwise support him will not. Assuming he beats Rubio (I do not think he will), he must run in the general election. Any opponent will run those photos of him blowing out the birthday cake with Rothstein until the public can't tell the difference between them.
3. Broward Politicians. A wash. I hate to say it but the bar here is so low that it will take something much bigger than accepting tainted money and kissing a crook's ass to upset the public. Local races are almost immune to charges of cronyism. Let's face it. Broward County's political culture is so incestuous that Rothstein is just water off a duck's back.
4. The victims. Unlike Madoff's victims, they will get no sympathy. And deserve even less. Give Rothstein credit for not looting the pensions of widows and retirees. At this point, it appears he snagged the rich and famous who can afford to lose the money they did. And they were stupid to believe his pitch.
Well, that's it for tonight. Tomorrow, I will tackle a much more difficult topic. Stuart Rosenfeldt and the other attorneys who worked at the firm. I believe they all face serious civil liability and some possibly criminal liability as well as bar grievances. Stay tuned.