Scott Rothstein Saga: Ponzi Pal Howard Kusnick Disbarred
Howard A. Kusnick, a former lawyer at Ponzi-schemer Scott Rothstein's now-defunct law firm, has been disbarred from practicing law by the Florida Supreme Court.
Kusnick, a 58-year-old Tamarac resident, pleaded guilty last month to a single count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud after he was indicted on the basis of defrauding two Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm clients by pretending to file litigation in their favor and instead funneling the funds from those clients into Rothstein's pockets.
Here's what the Florida Bar says in its complaint against Kusnick:
A. From in or about August 2007 until October 2009, respondent was of counsel to the law firm of Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler (RRA).
B. In or about June 2009, RRA represented Edward J. Morse and Carol A. Morse in a dispute with Marvin Windows.
C. In or about June 2009, Scott W. Rothstein advised Carol A. Morse that he would settle her claim with Marvin Windows.
D. On or about June 18, 2009, respondent, writing under the name "Kusnick & Associates," signed a false settlement letter on behalf of his client, "The Marvin Companies," purporting to settle the claim that the Morses had with Marvin Windows.
E. Respondent did not represent the Marvin Companies.
F. The false settlement letter offered to settle the Morses' claim for $310,000.00.
G. Respondent did not disclose to the Morses his professional relationship with RRA while respondent purported to represent a party adverse to the Morses.
Kusnick is disbarred for "not less than 5 years" and has to pay a fine of $1,250.
That's the least of Kusnick's worries, though, as he likely faces prison time at the sentencing for his charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Suspicions surrounding Kusnick have been swirling since 2009.
At one point when Rothstein's $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme was blowing up, he sent out this email in all-caps (the email equivalent to shouting) to all of the RRA employees:
From: Scott Rothstein
Sent: Thursday, October 08, 2009 8:45 AM
Subject: IMPORTANT--HOWARD KUSNICK
IF ANYONE CALLS FOR HOWARD KUSNICK, OR ASKS ABOUT HIM....AND I MEAN ANYONE.....HE IS NOT AN EMPLOYEE OF OUR FIRM. YOU ARE SIMPLY TO TELL THE CALLER OR THE PERSON INQUIRING THAT HE IS NOT EMPLOYED BY RRA AND CAN BE REACHED AT 954-648-4290.
HOWARD IS AWARE OF THIS AND UNDERSTANDS. WHILE HE MAY BE IN OUR OFFICE FROM TIME TO TIME IN THE FUTURE, HE IS NOT AN EMPLOYEE OF RRA.
THANKS FOR YOUR ATTENTION TO THIS MOST IMPORTANT MATTER.
ANY QUESTIONS, PLEASE SEE ME DIRECTLY. PLEASE DO NOT BOTHER
HOWARD OR HIS SECRETARY WITH THIS.
Not five minutes later, Rothstein sent out another email with the caps lock button on cruise control:
IF ANYONE INQUIRES AS TO WHETHER HE HAS EVER WORKED FOR US OR WHEN HE WORKED FOR US OR TIME PERIODS ETC, YOU ARE INSTRUCTED TO PLEASE SIMPLY SAY THAT HE IS NOT EMPLOYED BY OUR FIRM AND GIVE THEM HIS NUMBER.... 954-648-4290
THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT.
Sources told the Pulp in 2009 that they didn't know they were supposed to deny that Kusnick worked at the firm, because he kept coming in all the time.
Kusnick is currently free on bond for his federal charge, although his disbarment is going to be great news to one of the Pulp's frequent commenters, whom we all know as "Parklandman."
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.