Ex-Rothstein Law Clerk's Death Officially Ruled a Suicide
Scott Rothstein, wherever he is now, did a lot of damage to a lot of people in this town.
I can't help but believe that his toxic life may have contributed to the untimely death of a promising young woman.
|Timmerman with Gov. Crist in photo taken at Scott Rothstein's home|
Julie Timmerman, as reported here, committed suicide on January 16. Police and medical examiner's investigators have made the official ruling and their reports indicate there is no foul play suspected.
The 26-year-old law student was discovered in her apartment at Camden Las Olas by a friend's husband who had gone to check on her after concerns were voiced about her well-being by her mother, who lives in New York, according to Medical Examiner's Office investigative report.
She had sent friends "strange" text messages earlier that morning. Near Timmerman's body were several pill bottles and a note that reports indicated said, "I am so sorry, I can't live in this misery anymore."
Timmerman had been listed in bankruptcy records as having received $60,000 from Rothstein in four $15,000 payments beginning August 2008 through last September 29, just a month before the Ponzi scheme collapsed. She had worked as a law clerk for Rothstein and also at times as a hostess at Rothstein's restaurant, Bova Prime, and, before that, Riley McDermott's in the same building, sources say.
Rothstein put Timmerman through law school at Nova, where she served as a class officer. A source close to the firm at that time told me that Rothstein had an intimate relationship with Timmerman and had put her up in a downtown apartment. This type of behavior follows a pattern that involved not only Rothstein but other members of the law firm. Another source who worked at the law firm said that Rothstein seemed
to have a special relationship with Timmerman and that she operated under a different set of rules from other clerks.
It's only natural that the spectacular fall of Rothstein and the law firm where she worked would be a tough ordeal for her -- and the fact that the bankruptcy court might come to claw back that $60,000 had to be stressful. Yet police vehemently denied that the suicide had anything to do with Rothstein even before the investigation was completed. Specifically, Sgt. Francis Sousa, a police spokesman, told me the day after the suicide that it didn't appear to have anything to do with Rothstein "at all" and that it was prompted by a family situation.
Understand that Sousa worked on the Police Department's controversial detail to provide protection for Rothstein. The sergeant who oversaw the detail, Steve Greenlaw, is still under suspension while an investigation of the detail continues. Sousa's chief, Frank Adderley, has been under a cloud of suspicion for his own close relationship with Rothstein, which involved a plane trip to a New York Jets game and many, many nights sitting at the Bova bar enjoying drinks and Rothstein's company.
It adds up to make the police statement distancing the case from Rothstein not only wrong but also self-serving. That said, it's clear from sources and reports that Timmerman was dealing with other problems, including family issues and a history of depression. She had overdosed once in the past, M.E. records indicate, though it wasn't clear if there was suicidal intent then. Timmerman was also seeking therapy at Nova, according to reports.
She had been prescribed numerous drugs -- including Xanax, Carisoprodol, Buproprion, Propoxyphen, and amphetamine salts -- from numerous doctors. She had two active prescriptions for Aprazolam, better-known as Xanax, one from a local doctor and one from out of state. It would be just as wrong to say that Rothstein was the sole cause as it would be to say that his influence on her life played no role at all.
This is a tough subject to write about, but I feel that it needs to be raised. It's part of Rothstein's terrible legacy, and it shouldn't be swept under the rug -- even if the police say it ought to be.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss New Times Broward-Palm Beach's biggest stories.