Meldeau Speaks, and a Couple of Rothstein Prison Stories
Newly unearthed photo of Rothstein with Morse, Crist.
Michael Meldeau, who is on the deposition list in the Scott Rothstein bankruptcy case, told me this morning that he's not sure why he has been called but said he never invested any money in Rothstein's Ponzi scheme.
Meldeau also confirmed that he had written the comments under his name that appeared on this blog over the weekend. The president of Abaco Aviation Services, Meldeau says he intensely disliked Rothstein, whom he met through a good friend, Ted Morse.
Even though he and Rothstein were at odds and at times "nemeses," they socialized together because of Morse.
"It was what one person described as a triangle of friendship," Meldeau told me. "At the top was Ted Morse and at the bottom on the left and right was me and Rothstein. I recognized Scott was a pathological
liar from day one. But because we were both friends with Ted, there had to be give and take at the bottom of that triangle, some form of social accommodation. So we did go to charity functions and travel together at times."
Meldeau didn't want to go into much detail about the relationship before the deposition, which is scheduled for February 1, but he did say that he was "shocked" when he learned he was being called in for a sworn interview. He said the only business he ever had with Scott Rothstein came when he tried to broker a large jet plane sale to the former lawyer and Ponzi schemer. He said, however, that the sale of what would have amounted to a "sizable asset" never went through, despite three attempts. The deal never closed, said Meldeau.
He added that he and Morse have been close for many years and that they continue to be good friends. (To see a photo of them together, click on this 2008 edition of South Florida Social, and on the cover you'll see Meldeau standing in the back row at the center of the photo. His wife, Margaret, is holding their dog, Cindy, a pooch that was also written about in the comments over the weekend).
Meldeau was a bit reserved prior to the depo, but he did talk about Rothstein's braggadocio and general hold on people.
"One of the things about Scott was that he wouldn't tell you he bought an interest in anything, he just told you he bought it," said Meldeau. "He bought Bova. He bought Gibraltar Bank. He bought Jacksons. It was just his egomania; he couldn't tell you he bought an interest in something. And people were so excited to be on this train with him to fame and fortune that they would allow him to grandstand."
-- So I was talking with Kim Rothstein's bodyguard, Joe "Meatballs" Alu, recently and asked him how Rothstein is faring in prison. Obviously most of the information he gets about Rothstein comes from Kim, whom Alu escorts on her once-a-week visits to see her husband at the Federal Detention Center in Miami.
"That's the most screwed-up prison I've ever seen in my life," said Alu, a former Plantation police officer who waits in the lobby while the Rothsteins meet. "Kim put her hand on Scott's knee one time, and they got on her about it. Her voice is a little loud sometimes, and they told her to lower her voice tone, and she told me, 'I was just talking normal. I wasn't doing anything wrong.' They treat the people there to visit worse than the inmates."
Alu says that Kim brings plenty of one-dollar bills to buy things in the vending machine for Rothstein, who, again, is said to have lost weight. "He lost a lot of his body fat, and he doesn't have a double chin anymore," said Alu. "He's not drinking martinis for lunch anymore. I'm sure that has a lot to do with it weight-wise because it was all sugar and alcohol with Scott."
Rothstein works out in a "makeshift gym" there but is never allowed outside.
"In the cells, there are just these little slits for windows, so there's really no contact with the outside," Alu said. "Recently Scott got to go to a meeting with federal prosecutors in the prison, and there was a window in the room. He told Kim that he found himself pressing his face against the glass to try to get a feel of the outside world."
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