Former Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm clerk and Nova Southeastern University law student Julie Timmerman committed suicide yesterday at her home in Fort Lauderdale, police confirmed. She was 26.
Timmerman, who worked two summers for imprisoned Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein, consumed an overdose of unknown drugs, said police spokesman Frank Sousa. He said the case wasn't closed yet but the suicide didn't appear to have been motivated by the scandal at the Rothstein firm or its fallout.
"She left a note, but we are not prepared to release that yet," said Sousa. "There was no mention of Rothstein at all. Right now, it appears to be a family-related matter."
Timmerman was a second-year law student who had served as the elected representative of her class. Two RRA sources told me today that Timmerman was a smart and seemingly happy employee while at the firm. One source said she had a friendship with Rothstein and another said she also worked as a hostess at Bova Prime, the Las Olas restaurant co-owned by Rothstein where he and his partners met and often entertained politicians and other dignitaries.
Although it may not have been a direct cause of the suicide, the
implosion of the law firm and Rothstein's fall from grace could not have been easy for Timmerman, whose name surfaced in bankruptcy court documents as having received
$60,000 in unpaid loans from the firm. The loans were paid in four $15,000 installments, the first coming in August 2008 and the last on September 29, just a month before Rothstein's fraud unraveled.
It's not clear if the bankruptcy trustee intended to attempt to recoup that money from Timmerman in the form of clawbacks, though that would be the usual course of action. The purpose of the loans also isn't known, though some speculated it was for tuition costs.
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On Timmerman's Facebook page are photographs taken during a political fundraiser at Scott Rothstein's home. In one, posted above, she poses with Gov. Charlie Crist, who was a close Rothstein friend and the recipient of hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the firm (along with the Republcian Party). Another photo captures her shaking the governor's hand. There is an indication that the fundraiser occurred on January 22, 2009.
Nova Law School Dean Athornia Steele sent an email to all students and staff about Timmerman's death earlier today. Steele wrote:
I learned yesterday evening that Julie Timmerman, a second year law student, passed away last week. I will be contacting Julie's parents offering our condolences and assistance. I will be contacting the University Counseling Center to inform them of event as well and to alert them that there may be some students or staff who want to talk through their grief. Although the details surrounding Julie's death are not clear, it would appear that her death was self-inflicted. I hesitate to include this information in this e-mail, but the information will come out, and there is some advice I want to give that requires that context.