By Terrence McCoy
By Scott Fishman
By Deirdra Funcheon
By Allie Conti
By New Times Staff
By Ryan Pfeffer
By Deirdra Funcheon
By Kyle Swenson
This year, he spent more than $70 million of his own money to become governor (and $20 million more on campaigns opposing health-care reform), appealing to frightened, angry Tea Partiers with populist issues and persuading tens of thousands of nonmillionaires to vote against their own best interests. But there's good news: At least ridiculously rich white businessmen finally have some representation in politics.
Dirt Meter: 9 (He also looks like Skeletor.)
Polo fans adore John Goodman because he put millions of dollars of his family's money into a posh local polo club popular among A-list celebrities like Madonna and Tommy Lee Jones. But until this year, few people outside of the polo community had ever heard of the Texas-born trust-fund heir credited with rescuing the "sport of kings" in Wellington. That all changed in February.
Goodman was driving his black Bentley convertible home from the bar around 1 a.m. when, police say, he ran a stop sign. He collided with a small Hyundai driven by 23-year-old engineering student Scott Wilson. The impact flipped the Hyundai out of the intersection and into the nearby canal. Goodman stumbled out of his car and began walking to a nearby farm. Meanwhile, the mangled Hyundai lay capsized in a drainage ditch, with Wilson still strapped in the driver's seat, drowning.
The polo mogul, who's been described in court documents as a coke addict and an alcoholic, didn't want to get in trouble. According to sheriff's investigators, Goodman "made no attempts to flag down any vehicles for help." He didn't call 911 until 54 minutes after the first witness reported the crash. By then, it was too late. Scott Wilson, who did not drink alcohol and often served as designated driver for his friends, was dead. Three hours later, Goodman's blood-alcohol level was still a hefty 0.177 percent.
Three months later, when Goodman was finally arrested (at the ritzy Four Seasons Hotel in Miami Beach), he was charged with DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide, and failure to render aid. But he spent only a few hours in jail. He hired defense attorney Roy Black, famous for getting William Kennedy Smith acquitted of rape and Rush Limbaugh acquitted on charges of doctor-shopping for Oxycontin. Within hours, Black had Goodman released on bond. He pleaded not guilty, and his case is pending trial. If convicted, he could face 30 years in prison, but for the meantime, he's free to frequent swanky restaurants, spend his time in luxury hotels, fly back to Houston to see his family, and even see the occasional Miami Heat game.
Dirt Meter: 7 (Spoiled, decadent behavior turns lethal.)
David J. Stern might very well be the poster boy for the entire foreclosure quagmire in this country. In 2009 alone, Stern's eponymous law firm, based in Plantation, handled more than 70,000 foreclosure proceedings on behalf of major lenders like Bank of America, JP Morgan, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac. Operations like Stern's process foreclosure cases on behalf of banks by moving the paperwork through as quickly as possible, leading some to call them "foreclosure mills." Firms have pioneered practices like "robo-signing" — whereby employees process thousands of court documents without ever actually reviewing them, a violation of law. The expedited process means Stern may be responsible for unfairly forcing thousands of struggling Americans from their homes.
And while the evicted residents are forced to fight a system that favors powerful banks and lawyers, Stern has compiled a disgusting amount of wealth: He owns two waterfront mansions in Broward County, each worth well over $10 million, and a 9,000-square-foot apartment at the Ritz-Carlton worth $8 million. He has two more houses in Colorado worth $20 million. His car collection, which includes a million-dollar-plus Bugatti sports car and multiple Ferraris, is said to be worth more than $3 million. And of course, he has a yacht, a 130-foot ode to the most warped, vile ostentation. He named it Su Casa Es Mi Casa. Spanish for "Your House Is My House."
Dirt Meter: 10 (If Americans ever do take to the streets in violent revolt, it's people like Stern who will be hunted.)