Lewis Kasman, who for years was the right-hand man and "adopted son" to crime boss John Gotti, says the Mafia has nothing on Florida when it comes to stealing money.
Now Kasman, who turned government witness and helped indict dozens of organized crime figures, is looking to get payback from his divorce attorney, Fort Lauderdale's Barry Roderman, claiming he had a personal conflict of interest with his wife's female attorney. The lawsuit alleges "extortion of fees, legal malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of contract" and is asking for damages in excess of $2 million.
"The lawyers are the best extortionists of all," Kasman told me today. "They beat the Mafia any day of the week, especially in Florida."
The most explosive charge contained in the lawsuit filed on Kasman's behalf by Coral Springs attorney Nicholas Steffens is that Roderman was involved in an "inappropriate personal relationship" with the opposing counsel in the divorce, Carol Kartagener, of the Weiss Handler law firm in Palm Beach County.
Also representing Kasman is prominent Palm Beach divorce attorney Joel Weissman, whom Kasman refers to as his "consigliere."
"Plaintiff Kasman saw Defendant Roderman taking part in a compromising physical embrace with Kartagener in the parking lot of the South County Courthouse in Delray Beach, Florida," Steffens wrote in the lawsuit.
Kasman, who worked in New York's garment industry when he teamed up with Gotti, has a more direct way of putting it. "I was walking out in the parking lot after a court hearing when I saw them together and he had his tongue down her mouth," he says.
Roderman denies the allegation, calling it "disgusting" and "absurd." He denies there was any parking lot encounter at all and says that while he and Kartagener have a professional relationship and had worked cases together, they are both happily married and never had any kind of romantic relationship.
"Check the source," said Roderman. "This guy's a pathological liar. He's been convicted of perjury in the past. Right now, he calls himself indigent, lives in a million-dollar house with his mother, drives an expensive car, and bashes