Scott and Ted's Big Adventure
Morse, Rothstein, Marino
The name of Ted Morse simply isn't being raised enough in the Scott Rothstein saga.
Ted wasn't just his best friend, his fly buddy, his enabler, one of his earliest investors, and the guy who bought Rothstein the Ricky Williams house on Castilla Isle. It goes deeper, according to a source close to both men.
"It was more than a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship," the source told me. "It was tight to the bone. They needed each other. Teddy is totally devastated now without him. They were more than best friends; they were like twins, blood brothers. They dressed alike, went to the same places, wore shirts the same color, the same suits, everything."
Morse, an ex-alcoholic with tons of money coming from his immensely wealthy father, Ed (a pioneer in the car rental business and a car dealing giant), and Rothstein, a guy with next to nothing who wanted all that Morse had and much more, were yin and yang, said the source.
"Ted was a slow thinker, a slow talker, a slow doer," said the source. "Scott was flamboyant and fast. Scott had the personality Ted wanted. It started out with Scott following Ted around, and then it flipped, with Ted following Scott everywhere, like a Tonto to Scott's Lone Ranger. Scott got into him. Scott could recite the number of days, hours, and minutes that Ted had been sober and talk about it like it was him. Scott was a pro."
At first, Scott flew in Ted's plane, an eight-seat Falcon 50. But then Scott decided he needed a bigger plane and began chartering a Gulfstream V. (It was the 22-seat Gulfstream V, by the way, that Rothstein, Morse, BSO Undersheriff Tom Wheeler, and BSO Lt. David Benjamin flew to the New York Jets game, not Morse's smaller plane.)
The two men even bought twin $75,000 choppers from Bourget's Bike Works on Federal Highway, a high-end and well-respected shop. They would ride the choppers together. But then near-tragedy struck.
Rothstein, while riding his chopper on a wet road after a Sunday breakfast, took a spill off the bike.
"Scott was turning a corner, and he lost control," said the source. "He was not much of a rider, and it had been raining. He goosed it. The bikes have these big back tires and long forks in the front, so they're not easy to ride in the first place. Scott was probably the last person that should be on one of those things, but he was trying to be a badass. He turned a corner and claimed that the motorcycle locked up on him, and the rear wheel spun out from under him."
Naturally, Rothstein blamed the bike. The source said he made Bourget's take the chopper back and threatened to sue the company until he got his way.
After that, Rothstein never rode again. And neither did Ted. That's the way it was between the two; when one of them stopped doing something, the other followed -- and it was almost always Ted doing the following during the past few years.
Things obviously have changed dramatically since the Ponzi scheme blew up. Rothstein rooked Morse's father out of tens of millions of dollars in a lawsuit swindle. Ed Morse is now suing Rothstein and the RRA law firm for malpractice. The Morse family claims a total of some $115 million in losses to Rothstein, but we don't know how much Rothstein paid the family back in returns over the years (though we know that Rothstein did pay the family some $23 million during the last couple of months before the implosion). It's possible that Morse may be in store for a painful clawback from the receiver.
So now it is verboten in the Morse household to so much as utter the Rothstein name.
"Ted staunchly says he had no clue what was going on [with the Ponzi scheme]," said the source. "But then again, I'd say that too if I was him."
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.