Rothstein’s Story: Jewish Kid From The Bronx Makes Waves

BY BUDDY NEVINS

Scott Rothstein has heard the rumors, the talk, the disparaging remarks.

His Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm’s business plan doesn’t make sense in a faltering economy.  Rothstein is expanding too fast.

Then there is his personal life.  He’s spending too much.  He’s too showy, ostentatious.  Like Humpty Dumpy, he’ll fall and shatter.

“My wife says I should put WD 40 all over my back so all the stuff thrown at me rolls off, Rothstein says.
 

SPENDING MONEY

It is no surprise Rothstein is attracting attention.  The last person in Broward who spent money as fast and as publicly as Rothstein was Saudi Sheik Mohammed al-Fassi.

Al-Fassi, like Rothstein, was in the newspapers all the time.

Al-Fassi, 27, spent $41 million to live in 50 rooms at the Diplomat Hotel for a year in the early 1980s.  He hired a force of off duty Hollywood Police as his personal guards, toured South Florida, passed out money and bought waterfront homes.

Rothstein, 46, is not in al-Fassi’s class yet.  Yet.

He’s throwing millions into real estate in the face of a collapsing market — $20 million for seven homes in five years, including four in Fort Lauderdale’s pricy Castilla Isles section on the Intracoastal Waterway.

He’s buying commercial property. He’s buying restaurants when experienced restaurateurs are going belly-up in the recession.  

In the works are buildings in Brooklyn.  A bar on Las Olas.

Then there are the flash cars, including a Rolls, a Ferrari. And the new flash wife, drop-dead gorgeous blonde Kimberly, 34.

There are the hundreds of thousands he has doled out to Republican candidates.  It’s made him a major political player in Florida.

And millions to charity.  He vows that for every dollar he gives to politics, he’ll give a dollar to charity.

The latest gift, showcased in the Society section of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, was $1 million earlier this month to Holy Cross Hospital.

HIS BUSINESS PLAN

 It’s all part of his business plan, he says.  Making a splash is part of making a name for himself and his firm. 

“To compete with the big boys, you’ve got to brand yourself, Rothstein says.

His glitzy persona is his new brand.

It all starts on Las Olas Boulevard with the law firm, which has been adding lawyers and support staff while other big firms have been forced to cut back. 

 “The phrase I hear is we are building a house of cards, Rothstein concedes. “To say that’s what we are building is an insult to the lawyers here… It is saying by coming to work here their judgment is flawed.

 
The firm has built a deep bench of major players quicker than George Steinbrenner built the Yankees in Rothstein’s birthplace of the Bronx.

Firm lawyers include Ken Padowitz, a renowned legal commentator on national TV and former prosecutor; Carlos Reyes, former South Broward Hospital District commissioner and lobbyist and Steve Abrams, former Boca Raton mayor.

Then there is William Berger, former Palm Beach circuit judge; Arthur Neiwirth, a bankruptcy expert; Grant Smith, well-known lobbyist and Les Stracher, who represents major auto dealers.

 Rothstein recently added former Broward sheriff Ken Jenne days after he got out of prison on corruption charges.  He also hired Barry Stone, a justice who is leaving the 4th District Court of Appeal.

The firm has 60 lawyers, with two added just this week. It has 110 in support staff.  They work in 40,000 square feet of Class A office space on Las Olas Boulevard in downtown Fort Lauderdale, plus offices in other parts of Florida.

All that in only five years.  

Top talent and fancy office space costs money. 

Rothstein’s not worried.

“We have a tremendous client base, he points out.

He refers me to his website and indeed, many names stand out on his client list: Citicorp, J. C. Penny, Ed Morse Automotive Group,  National Beverage, Silversea Cruise Lines, Supra Telecom, Wells Fargo. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Big names.  No doubt, big bucks.

THE JEWISH KID FROM THE BRONX

Not bad for a Jewish kid from the Bronx. He remembers playing on Arthur Avenue, the heart of the Bronx’s Little Italy.

 He wasn’t poor.  But he wasn’t rich, except in family love.

Five story brick walk-ups with fire escapes hanging over the street. Restaurants like Enzo’s and Dominick’s. Stores like Calabria Pork Store.

It’s a long way from there to Lauderhill, where the Rothstein’s family moved in 1977.  It’s a long way from Lauderhill to Las Olas.

“It’s been a hell of a ride, Rothstein says.

He’s never forgotten where he came from.   It might surprise those who only know Rothstein’s Bronx exterior that he calls himself a “religious person. 

He lays tafillin.  (Tafillin are two small leather boxes containing prayers that religious Jews fasten with straps to the head and left arm during morning prayers.) 

He doesn’t attribute his success to religion.  He says religion has kept him “strongly grounded to do the hard work necessary to succeed.  

The road to riches was not all hard work. It was a lot of luck, too.

Luck like meeting Charlie Crist in the 1990s, who introduced him to Republican politics.  Showed him the ropes.  He says he now talks to Crist regularly,  gives the governor advice.and helps him raise cash.

“I have tremendous resources for candidates through a strong Republican client base, he says.

 
Crist helped put him on the map in politics.  Made him a go-to person.  Made him somebody.

 Others says they have been in the room when Crist calls Rothstein.  The conversation sounds like two old friends, trading ideas and small talk.

 
Today, the spending, the politics, the regular pictures of him at charity events in the society pages, the law firm collecting lawyers like so many baseball cards, have made him a center of attraction.

As The Broward Palm Beach New Times said earlier this month in a profile of the fast-rising lawyer, Rothstein has the town talking.

Some of that talk is dark.  Rumors swirl around.  Rothstein has an answer for that, too.

“My family said that the higher you get on the poll, the more people see your ass.  You better be sure your ass is clean, Rothstein says.  “My ass is clean.

25 thoughts on “Rothstein’s Story: Jewish Kid From The Bronx Makes Waves”

  1. why Holy Cross? Isn’t it a Catholic hospital?

    FROM BUDDY: It is a Catholic hospital. Rothstein believes in it. It is not unusual for Jews to donate to Catholic and Christian hospitals.

  2. This Rothstein is truly an amazing guy. What’s his address so I can ask him for a loan since all his Republican friends have driven the value of my 401K down to nothing.

  3. I lived near Arthur Avenue and I remember it as a wonderfully warm and friendly place. It is totally different than Florida. I think New York shipped all the nasty & pushy people here.

  4. Hey Buddy…..
    read the blog…a few comments and corrections.
    First, overall a fair article. While i may not always agree with your conclusions and analogies, your treatment of the subject matter is fair. If all the media handled things this way, our community and country would be better served.
    On to the specifics…
    Real estate is one of the most sound investments at this date if you are liquid. This is one of the best times to buy in our nations history. I do not play the stock market. Have not for many years. I invest in real estate and people–businesses. While it does not always work out, it brings the greatest rewards more often than not and it is something i can pass on to my children that i am confident will avoid the far too frequent fluctuations of the stock market.
    As for WD 40…when my wife asks me how i deal with all the crap, i tell her that i spray WD40 all over my back every morning…helps the crap slide right off. The Restaurants—
    My partner in the restaurant business is Tony Bova….has been a successful restauranteur for 30 years….invest in people…if you do it right it will rarely disappoint.
    Growing our Firm….if you carefully select your people …those with the combination of integrity, true entrepreneurial spirit, solid and diverse books of business and talent to support the books… growth is not as complicated as it might otherwise be. Most importantly, treat them like family…my colleagues at our firm are THE main reason for our success. And our turnover rate since inception is less than 1%. Something i am truly proud of. Candidly, i would have nothing without them. Again, its investing in the right people.
    While i appreciate you mentioning some of our great attorneys, it really does a disservice to the others….we are very blessed to have a firm that is made up of talented and caring professionals… that is what makes it work.
    A religous person–don’t really know if that hits it on the head but i definitely said it. I have a deep faith in Judaism that i derive tremendous strength from. Putting on Tefillin is a means of connecting with G-d. It keeps me grounded in a world that can easily cause you to lose your internal balance. Believe me..i have lost my way enough times to know.
    As for charity…i believe it is our responsibility. We must all give…not just money if you can afford to but time and effort and heart. To whom much is given, even more is expected. I have been very blessed….and its not the flash that defines you though my detractors certainly wish to make it seem that way…the flash is part of a persona that works in helping brand my firm…and theres no denying that its alot of fun…but at the end of the day you are not defined by what you accumulate in life but rather by what you give back….(see the famous story about Sir Moses Montefiore) and at this critical time in our nations history…if those who have been blessed are not going to give back…then who will???
    gotta run…more to follow…
    oh yeah…just one more thing…thanks for calling my wife drop dead gorgeous….made for a very pleasant evening for me :-)
    Take care and be well,
    Scott W. Rothstein

  5. I’m sure he paid big bucks for his wife’s big fake boobs too Buddy. Just another way of “branding” himself I guess.

  6. Hey So True—You are way out of line. What a vindictive thing to blog about a women. His wife is a very sweet, kind, loving and giving person. His personal life is just that–PERSONAL. Before you respond– mine must be fake too–guess what? They’re NOT. FACT– Her husband–Did not “Brand” her.

  7. a note to “so true” :
    Very impressive attacking a woman’s body when you know that her family is going to see it….her parents…..her step daughter and step son….. her nieces and nephews…. you must be a person of the highest moral character trying to hurt a woman that has never done anything to you….that spends most of her time caring for her family and giving of her time to charities…….whose greatest joy in life is helping others…..you must be one heck of a great person….the level of intelligence that shines through from your brilliant comment is blinding…….i am certain that the world is a better place because of you……..would love to meet you some day…..it is certain to be enlightening experience.
    so next time you attack my wife….use your real name please.
    take care,
    wishing you only the best,
    Scott W. Rothstein

  8. So Scott not only gives a million to the Catholics but he also does tefillin. Looks like he’s trying to cover all the afterlife bases.

    Can we look forward to seeing the “Rothstein Pavillion” at the Al Aqusa Mosque? How about free E-Meter readings to detect Thetans? [That's Scientology for those of you who are not Tom Cruise fans]

  9. With respect for “so true” you had no problem with Buddy writing “Then there are the flash cars, including a Rolls, a Ferrari. And the new flash wife, drop-dead gorgeous blonde Kimberly, 34.” You seem fairly proud of that–you even mention it in your response. I’ve attended functions and let’s face it, your wife is not remotely shy of revealing her northern half. Which is appreciated by most of us, I’m sure.

  10. I know its almost a year later to reply buy I don’t understand why people constantly have to hate on others….why is it when people read an article or grace a situation they gravitate only toward the negative? Of everything that was written in the article I can’t believe that the focal point ended up on his wife’s chest….I guess it goes to show that we still have a lot of young minds in need of developing…and for everyone else who is complaining or has a smart or negative comment…What have you done for the community lately??? Scott you and Kim are picture perfect, I have never seen you in person but from your smile in pictures I can tell that you are a very bubbly happy person, congratulations on all of your success and keep brushing the haters off….

  11. It is funny reading Rothstein’s comments after finding out today he used investors dollars as his personal piggy-bank. Pretty amusing.

  12. Dear Scott, It’s so amazing how you spent your valuable time answering every blog written about you on a daily basis. Next time you pretend to be someone who is important or someone people admire remember this assh___ Genuine people don’t care what people say because they know they are good honest people. The only people who spend the kind of time you do looking up yourself are people who are Loser’s and liars and insecure disfunctional .You gave yourself away with all your BSing and thats why everyone laughed behind your back.I bet your mother and grandmother are in pain from the same you have brought them.

  13. I sure am enjoying reading these old blogs of this pompous, fat ass.

    2u4u- Now what charities will his wonderful wife contribute to? She probably won’t have much time anymore since she will have to pick her shift up again at Hooters. Tuff to live life when you don’t have any cash flowing like the Nile. No knock on her; it is his greed that is forcing her to be single and broke, to re-enter the sugar daddy circle again.

    Was 5 years of gluttony worth it Scott? (I am sure you are reading this from your pre-prison perch)

    I scribe this part out of jealousy and part from pure disgust.

    Jealous that I was not one of the folks who had the chance to meet Scott when he was walking on the surface of the Ft Lauderdale intercostals; I would have liked to have known that I had disliked him prior to reading about him for 14 days in a row in the SunSentinel.

    Disgusted that one person could be such a complete cheating, manipulating, lying scumbag.

    When do we find out that he played a part in the murder of his co-worker a couple years back?

    I wonder is Scott acts out any strap-on fetishes with his augmented trophy…if so, it will make it easier to take the wieners that will enter his Hebrew butt while in prison the rest of his life.

    Rot in hell you loser. What a shitty business man, can’t make an honest buck.

  14. HEY BUDDY-

    BOY, YOU SAID IT RIGHT, ANOTHER JEWISH KID DONE RIGHT!! I’M GETTING PRETTY SICK OF HEARING ABOUT THESE JEWS DOING RIGHT. THE ONLY THING MISSING IS SCOTTY BEING FROM YALE OR HARVARD WITH THEIR OUTSTANDING IVY LEAUGE ETHICS DEPARTMENTS. EVERYONE OF THESE TRADING SCAMS COME FROM THESE SCUMBAGS TRYING TO CREATE MONEY OUT OF THIN AIR.
    I’VE NEVER MET A WOMAN WITH FAKE TITS THAT BOUGHT THEM FOR THE SOLE ENJOYMENT OF HER HUSBAND. I GUESS WITH ONLY 117,000 IN THE BANK, SHE’LL BE BACK ON THE STRIPPER POLE SOON. I WONDER IF THE CFO OF THIS COMPANY THAT THIS “WAVE MAKING JEW” WAS DOINKING WILL JOIN HER.

  15. This is a pretty interesting read given the current state of affairs for Mr Rothstein. If this guy really is the fraud they say he is, Rothstein’s blogs above are all-the-more pathetic.

  16. Is Scott Rothstein related to Arnold Rothstein (Mobster-Black Sox scandal)? I know one descendent of the Arnold Rothstein Family who claims to be the only descendent without a criminal record. I guess if Scott is a relative he’s a true descendent of Arnold’s legacy.

    FROM BUDDY: I have no answer to this very interesting question. The $1 billion that Scott Rothstein is alleged to have stolen makes Arnold Rothstein look like a 7/Eleven stickup bandit.

  17. G-D Bless you Mr. Rothstein. My parents couldn’t decide between naming me Abraham or Arnold…you can see who won. I guess I’m in the fold somewhere…Arnie Rothstein

  18. WHY DO I GET THE FEELING THAT FELLOW LIES ABOUT BRONX.

    I LIVED THERE MY SELF!

    SOME THING DONT SEAM RIGHT .

    FROM BUDDY: He lied about everything else, so why not this?

  19. I lived on 187th and Crotona Ave in the Bronx in the mid-60′s which is 6 blocks from Arthur Ave . Scott must have had to fight every day to become a sucess .

  20. Buddy, this is a fascinating piece of historical writing to read. I find that material like this should always make one skeptical of the person since so many ponzi schemers and fraudsters have very similar tactics.

    Have you ever met his mother?

    Based on reading about her today in the Sun Sentinel and “shopping her story” around and “saving the good parts” for money gives me the impression of her as a real skeevosa. Are there any stories of how she carried herself around in the office or among mere mortals?

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