What Did Rothstein’s Lawyers Know And When Did They Know It?


Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler’s new spinmeisters would have us believe that RRA lawyers are a bunch of monkeys.

You know, the ones that saw no evil, heard no evil and said no evil.

three wise monkeys

I find it hard to believe that 70 lawyers– touted as Broward’s best and brightest —  were not as suspicious as the rest of the legal world about what was going at RRA.

If there was one constant along East Las Olas Boulevard for the past year, it was speculation on where Scott Rothstein’s money came from and how the firm could continue to grow in a recession.

Stuart Rosenfeldt took over RRA from Rothstein this week.  He and his spokesmen now want us to believe:

Not one of the 70 lawyers was curious about RRA’s endless growth or Rothstein’s wild spending?

Not one of the 70 lawyers asked questions?

They didn’t suspect anything?   Hard to believe.

They didn’t know anything?  Equally hard to believe.

The lawyers of RRA kept their eyes and minds shut and just kept raking it in? 

That’s the story they are peddling.

It reminds me how some Germans pleaded they were wearing blinders during World War II.  “I noticed Mrs. Ginzburg and Mr. Schwart were no longer living in the building, but I no idea they were coming to harm.

The RRA saga will continue for a long time.  It will take months, maybe years, to unwind the firm from clients, cases and any victims.

No doubt at some point, the Florida Bar will come calling.

The Bar investigators will want to know what the lawyers knew and when they knew it.

Because lawyers have an ethical responsibility under Bar Rules to report wrongdoing.

In case the RRA lawyers forgot the Bar rules, I reproduced just part of one below for them to read.  There are many others.


(a) Reporting Misconduct of Other Lawyers. A lawyer who knows that another lawyer has committed a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct that raises a substantial question as to that lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects shall inform the appropriate professional authority.


Self-regulation of the legal profession requires that members of the profession initiate disciplinary investigation when they know of a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Lawyers have a similar obligation with respect to judicial misconduct. An apparently isolated violation may indicate a pattern of misconduct that only a disciplinary investigation can uncover. Reporting a violation is especially important where the victim is unlikely to discover the offense.

23 Responses to “What Did Rothstein’s Lawyers Know And When Did They Know It?”

  1. What's Likely says:

    The suggestion being made is that “suspicion” equates to “knows” within the context of Rule 4-8.3. You cannot equate the two. A partner would have much more access information than an associate. Among the partners, only a few might have access to the real information. And of those, Rothstein might not have told them what he was doing. Perhaps so. The FBI will figure that out.

    The lawyers at this firm include some of the brightest we have in Broward. They may all soon need to find new jobs. Let’s not bash anyone just yet for having simply been in the firm. Save that tactic for those that deserve it.

  2. Duh says:

    If a moron like Roger Stone could figure it out a year ago, then the rest of RRA should have done so much sooner.

  3. Lady Law says:

    There isn’t a law firm in town that didn’t believe something was wrong with RRA and Scott.
    The RRA lawyers have a Bar defense because belief is not real evidence.
    I agree with you, Buddy, that somebody in that firm had to have real knowledge. If this person was a lawyer, say goodbye to their career.

  4. Leo Goetz says:

    The attorneys at RRA didn’t have a responsibility to ask the question, “where is the money coming from?” They were employees that were getting a bi-monthly paycheck and were being paid an amount consistent with what attorneys make in Fort Lauderdale. Rothstein is the problem here – not the attorneys at the firm.

  5. Blue Man Scoop says:

    I think there are some probably low-level, younger (under 35) attorneys who did not know what was going on and have no real perspective or experience to even think something would be up.

    The rest had to at least be suspect…

  6. THE BAR says:

    Hey Buddy

    The BAR is the biggest joke for years. The Florida BAR is the busiest in the nation. They never look for new business as they can’t keep up with the demand especially now during the mortgage fiasco. I definatley think that there are questions the BAR needs to address here.

    FROM BUDDY: This case it too high profile for the Bar to ignore. In addition, they won’t need to start the investigation on their own since the victims’ lawyers will file Bar charges.

  7. Just Trying to Make a Living says:

    There are plenty of people who likely had NO idea Rothstein was was committing a crime. Yes, they knew he was bombastic, egomaniacal, over-the-top flamboyant, and was throwing money everywhere. But you can be sure there were plenty of lawyers who were just working the cases on their desk, trying to get the best results for their clients, happy to have a job in the economy (and, yes, innocently benefiting from the public persona of a apparently financially dominant RRA). Have to agree with 2:57 and 5:55 — there was no responsibility for young or non-“shareholder” partners to ask a senior partner who has outside interests, “Hey, let me see your books and your checking accounts and can you run by me all that you aredoing.” Even the “shareholders” appear to be in name only and had no voting or authority over the operations of the firm.

    It would be intellectually dishonest and small-minded to say that all lawyers RRA knew or should have known — or should have reported SR to the Bar.

    Of course, if there were lawyers who were knowledgeable of or participated in this crazy scheme to sell interests in lawsuits that were being “settled” quietly due to the sensational nature of the allegations, they are going to have problems at least from a civil perspective. Also, obviously, those with control over trust accounts (including staff) will have at the very least civil problems even if they can claim successfully a lack of criminal intent.

  8. Just Trying to Make a Living says:

    Oh yea, also, you have got to consider the very carefully crafted persona of being politically powerful at the highest levels, all the security apparatus surrounding him (off-duty police, etc), he carries a gun, and you cant even get to his inner sanctum at the firm without clearance. Not like they would have run into him in the bathroom for idle chatter as to the weekend or business activities or in the break room over a coffee. Of course, that persona helped fuel the scam and kept people from asking questions I am sure. Gotta tell you, but for thinking about how the play was gonna run out, he was deviously smart.

    FROM BUDDY: This is RRA’s spin today, but I ran into Scott everytime I ate at Bova’s and he was there talking to one or another of his partners. In addition, I saw various partners with Scott at political events.

  9. School Board says:

    Whew, thank goodness no one is talking about us this week … please keep picking on RRA (and maybe BTU).

  10. K-man says:

    The question isn’t what they KNEW– but what they SHOULD HAVE KNOWN …

    Clearly – some of these RRA lawyers DID KNOW and – like DAVID BODEN – were part of the actual schemes – others merely looked the other way — but if the firm’s offices, name, it’s stationary, bank accounts were used – then these “partners” (equity or not – its irrelevant) are going to be held responsible.

  11. Miss Marple says:

    Oh, so it’s all about the “know?” What if no one asked the questions because they didn’t want to “know” and put an end to the gravy train? Did they all say to one another “for God’s sake, whatever you do, don’t ask any questions ’cause life is good.’
    Small wonder there is little sympathy for the attorneys at RRA.

  12. Bystander says:

    I am not a lawyer, but I believe that in a partnership and even just an ostensible partnership, all partners are liable for the activities of all other partners and subject to both civil penalties and professional discipline. It would further seem that any of the partners (or ostensible partners) who might be on probation, may be in violation of their probation when criminal penalties are pursued.

    I didn’t know does not relieve you of responsibility. Many at RRA who now claim to be just employees were representing themselves as partners and equity/shareholder partners. Seems there is liability.

  13. Intelligentsia 101 says:

    The base line is this:
    A. If you want to PLAY then PAY
    B. If you did nothing illegal the you have nothing to fear.

  14. Karnack and Scorekeeper says:


    I wonder why Ed Marko has not been reported for professional misconduct? One could argue that his subordinates are perpetuating the same “See no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil” approach to justifying their lack of ethics.

    To some it is only speculation, but wouldn’t the Beverly Gallagher scandal (allegedly fixing the vote of the committee) steering contracts to favored contractors, raise some suspicion about how this could happen under the noses of Marko and his cronies…I mean legal team?

    The schematic has been exposed in this town and it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck…the School Board is a microcosm of the scheme used by RRA and many others in the county. It will all be exposed before this is over. And it will take years.

  15. Laughing Cow says:

    The best lawyers? RRA hired hacks like Reyes, Berger and Birkin. Buddy, you and I both know it.

    FYI – I was Ken Jenne yesterday. He looks like a thug. He has long hair – a pony tail. Unreal.

    FROM BUDDY: I wrote they were “touted” as the best lawyers. I never said they were the best lawyers. I have no comment on the above mentioned names.

  16. Robert says:


    You are dead on. The Bar has already opened an investigation file on the whole matter (and presumably the whole firm). These “top lawyers” were incompetent (as confirmed to by insider Roger Stone. The Firm was formed as a Florida professional corporation (“P.A”) but operated an an association of lawyers under the control of a dictator. They even held out to the public 1/2 of their lawyers as “shareholders” and the other 1/2 as “partners” according to Martindale Hubble and their own web site. That is what each lawyer’s business card said. This was either clearly a fraudulent public representation or makes each such lawyer as liable as Scotty. This is law firm ethics 101 and agency law 101–it was intentionally violated so as to cover up any suspicions that a client might have that Rothstein was the bizzare out-of-control secretive dictator that he was. No reputable client would hire a law firm run by a dictator hiding all finances from the lawyer the client hires and to whom he entrusts money. Each lawyer in the firm who allowed the firm to call him or her a “shareholder” or “partner” violated the corporation statute if in fact the stock was only issued to Rothstein and Rosenfeldt. Rule 4-8.6 (d) of the Bar Rules clearly specifies that violation of the business entity statutes “shall” be a bar violation. I suspect that on fact stock was never even issued to Rothstein and Rosenfeldt. If you check Sunbiz, you will fund that Rosenfeldt incorporated the PA in February 2002 and Scotty was listed as vice-president and Rosenfeldt as president. the corporation even got dissolved for failure to file an annual report in 2004. This shows sloppiness consistent with not ever following proper corporate procedures.

    Also, each lawyer in the firm has trust account violations. Lawyers are required to certify to the Florida Bar each year that they are familiar with the law firm’s trust account procedures and that they comply with the strict accounting of the Rules. Obviously that was not done, and could not honestly be done.

    Any lawyer who was held out as a partner or shareholder and who had knowledge of Scotty’s peddling of structured settlements for cash for him and the firm will, and should, get indicted, regardless of whether they knew of Scotty’s thievery. It’s securities fraud. The other lower level “partners”
    and “shareholders” will avoid indictment only by coughing up evidence on those up the ladder and/or agreeing to restitution whereby they forfeit their last three years earnings from the firm a/k/a RICO enterprise. That is what has consistently happened in other law firm frauds.

    Add to this the obvious violations of the election laws. Are we suppose to really believe that the partners contributions (such as Adler’s $200k) were not reimbursed by Scotty from his trust account dipping?

    The IRS is going to have a field day imputing income and recharacterizing RRA’s spending as excessive and thus income.
    The so-called” investors obviously were lulled with promises of no 1099’s because of the “confidential
    settlements.” This will be shown to be a tax avoidance scheme.

    It’s sad that the partners recruited by Scotty could be such gullible pigeons. But, yes they DID
    know better.

    Once again, fort Lauderdale gets branded nationally as “the fraud capital of the United States.” Once again, lawyers all get branded as crooks.
    Message to the US Attorney: use all
    you have with all deliberate speed to send a HUGE message.

    “Scottygate” is here for a long time!

  17. Just Trying to Make a Livin' says:

    K-man: Absolutely correct. If allegations are true, there are may be folks who knew about the promotion of the investments, may have wondered about the truth or falsity of the predicate story (i.e. these target defendants were settling quietly). It is hard to imagine that he would have given much information to ANYONE since he was so paranoid; and, if you were a person who knew that he was doing this, then you would think you would ask for a pretty big piece of the pie (or a small piece of a VERY big pie). But, you may be correct, maybe someone actually knew Rothstein was bilking.

    As to their obligation for someone who participated in promoting the investment plan under the criminal law to question (if they didnt have actual knowledge), this will be debated. Remember, Rothstein was scamming everyone. From a civil perspective, if all the money is not recovered, those who participated in the investment promotion may have liability.

    But, Miss Marple, you are casting a wide “guilt by association” net that is not fair. Sure, there may be those who actually were aware of the investment scheme (perhaps not that Rothstein was taking the money). But, remember, part of the scam (based on what has been reported) was making it seem like this had to all be kept secret and that so few people would think of disclosing the predicate facts (otherwise the whole investment plan would failif it was public). But, there are likely many many lawyers who knew NOTHING more than he has a lavish lifestyle. I would not think that rank and file would ask any questions — I would think someone like Charlie Crist and his handlers would have liked to know where he got all his money. I mean, they embraced him. They had more time with Rothstein than the rank and file.

    And, Rothstein had a well-publicized persona of trying to crush anyone who casted aspersions on him — so, good luck with idle chatter or loose accusations or even questioning him (if you could even get a meeting with him). Simply put, you are absolutely WRONG to suggest that EVERY lawyer in the firm had an obligation to question him about his private activities.

    The one thing is true — we now recognize based on what is reported if anyone thought his lavish lifestyle was fueled by only the RRA billings, then they were really disoriented at the least. But, I think Rothstein was pretty clear about trying to say he was this wealthy from other things he was doing.

    To all those who say all 70 lawyers have responsibility, that is just legally and factually incorrect at this stage. Over time, the system (and great reporting

  18. just wondering says:

    what is the SAO doing regarding RRA?

  19. Karnack and Scorekeeper says:


    So no comment on the school board attorney’s office and their clear inaction? Perhaps there will be some chatter and outrage when Stephanie goes down. I wonder if local bloggers will do the moonwalk of plausible deniability away from Kraft when that happens. I am sure that Gallagher was just a glitch though.

    Clickity Clack Clickity Clack Clickity Clack.

    FROM BUDDY: I’ll make a comment.
    I have written this before and will repeat it. Ed Marko should retire. He is part of the problem. I recently attended a meeting of the audit committee, which had discovered a firm owed the school system money for failing to perform work. Marko’s response was to let it go because it was too much trouble to collect the money.

  20. RRA LAWYERS says:

    Is it true that all three of them, R and R and A are all lawyered up now? If so, then WOW !!!!!!!!

    FROM BUDDY: Rothstein has a lawyer.
    I have no idea if Adler and Rosenfeldt have lawyers.
    If Rosenfeldt has a lawyer, I would get a new one. Rosenfeldt was a 50-50 partner with Rothstein at the RRA firm. What lawyer would let his client continuously go on TV and make all kind of statements that could come back to haunt him?
    I’m not a lawyer, but I know this much: The best policy when you are involved in litigation and a federal investigation is to keep your mouth shut and let your lawyer talk!

  21. RRA LAWYERS says:

    Word is Adler hired Haddad and Rosenfeldt hired Bogenschutz albeit after his chatty cathy routine.

  22. Justin Case says:

    As a fellow attorney and partner in my firm, I would like to give the benefit of the doubt to the other members of RRA. However, after reading about soundproof rooms, Rothstein being the only signor on the trust account, private elevators and security galore, I have to question whether the other “partners” knew what transpired at that law firm or chose to look the other way. How does the saying go, “Ignorance is bliss.” I won’t sit and judge any of the attorneys of RRA, but something is rotten in Denmark.

  23. K-man says:

    What is the sage advice from above? If you’re guilty — than just Shut The FU?

    Notice that we have not seen or heard ONE PEEP from Dave Boden (Point-Person for the deals) — or for that matter ANY of the other “partners” or “shareholders” who – for being so “in the dark” are strangely all present and accounted for (along with the WIVES) in the videos-youtube & pictures taken at all of the Rothstein-RAA sponsored social soirees and parties at BOVA, BOVA Prime, CASA C… seeing is believing