[UPDATED] On Morocco Eve, Rothstein Met Obama?!?
Obama speaking at the Fontainebleau in Miami Beach last October.
Flickr: The White House
That's what former Rothstein business partner Roger Stone is reporting on his blog this morning. He says that former Heat center Alonzo Mourning played matchmaker in an encounter that took place in Miami Beach on the night of October 26 -- just before Rothstein left for Morocco the following day. Reports Stone:
Rothstein met the President at a Democratic Fundraiser at the Fontainebleau Hotel where Rothstein and his wife were photographed with POTUS. Rothstein then posed with the President alone for a second photo.
Obama was indeed present at a fundraiser that night at the Fontainebleau -- tickets to the swanky event cost a minimum of $500. The Herald has a photo gallery of that Obama appearance. Alas, none shows Rothstein or his wife, Kimberly.
I reached Stone by phone this morning, but he was tied up. I'll update when I hear back from him. More after the jump.
Stone says that the couple donated the maximum $9,600 to the campaign of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. If so, that's not reflected in campaign finance databases, though they show two $2,400 donations by Rothstein to Reid last June.
If it's true, then the question is why a Republican like Rothstein would devote his last night of true American freedom to a Democratic fundraiser. Surely, Rothstein knew then that his Ponzi scheme was collapsing and that he'd flee the country the following day.
All we can do is speculate, but maybe Rothstein's generous donations to politicians weren't purely a way of adding credibility to his investment scheme. He truly enjoyed partying with powerful people -- so much that that was the lasting memory he wanted before embarking on a life as a fugitive or as a prison inmate.
But that still doesn't explain why he'd choose a Democratic fundraiser -- unless Rothstein recognized his approaching notoriety and wanted to get close enough to the Democrats so they'd catch shrapnel when his reputation exploded. If those photos exist, they'd be a valuable weapon for Republicans looking to embarrass Obama.
UPDATE: I spoke with Stone a few moments ago. He says that several people who were friends of his joined the Rothsteins on the trip to the Fontainebleau but that so far those friends are unwilling to come forward. The price of a photo with the president was $100,000, says Stone, and they were posted here, at DemocracyPhoto.com. As you can see, you need an "event code" to access the site. Stone says that his friends told him that the photos of Obama with Rothstein and other members of Rothstein's entourage were removed shortly after the Rothstein scandal broke.
Stone believes that Rothstein was sincere in his devotion to Democrats -- that he became one after that became the winning political team. I asked him why Rothstein would spend his last night of freedom at a starchy fundraiser: "Because he wanted his picture with the president," replied Stone, who had the same question for his friends who were at the event.
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