Protecting the Inner Sanctum

You can almost feel the walls closing in on Scott Rothstein.

It's clear from the string of emails Rothstein sent to Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler staff before his dramatic billion-dollar implosion that he became increasingly isolated from his lawyers -- former judges, prosecutors, and specialists whom he routinely called his "kids" -- as the Ponzi scheme he was running became too large for him to contain.

He monitored the law firm on the 16th floor of the Bank of America building from inside his opulent office via an "eye in the sky" -- a black bubble on the ceiling containing a camera that videotaped the floor. He also had a recording device nearby. Here's one of the videos I took at the law firm featuring the security devices; narrating is Kendall Coffey, the attorney now representing RRA.

But still, it wasn't enough; Rothstein needed more seclusion.

On April 27, Rothstein sent out a staffwide email essentially giving his lawyers and support staff one message: Stay away. It was the beginning of what became known at the firm as the "lockdown" of the sanctum.

Here it is (after the jump are two videos of the administrative corridor):


From: Scott Rothstein
Sent: Monday, April 27, 2009 3:29 PM
To: Allstaff
Subject: administrative corridor

Hey kids,

I would sincerely appreciate it if anyone needing or desiring to visit with me, debra, marybeth or Ingrid please make every attempt to call us before heading this way.

If you need to see deb, call deb or marybeth or Ingrid.

If you need to see me, call me or marybeth.

If you need to see marybeth or Ingrid, call them directly.

If you are down this way already, just ring the intercom or ask Priscilla to see if we are available.

If you are told that we are with someone or in the middle of something, please have the courtesy to

give us some time and come back.

If it is an emergency, please tell the person answering the intercom or Priscilla and you will be let in to see whoever you need to see.

Lets not make this simple thing difficult.....PLEASE :-)

We are trying desperately to be productive on behalf of the entire firm....just as all of you are. Interruptions slow us down. And often, interruptions that occur when we are in with clients or others are embarrassing to us. As for me, it makes me look like I have no control over my ability to have an uninterrupted meeting....which does not bode well for any of us.

Please work with us on this.

I know it can be a pain in the ass......but ultimately it will help all of us. Candidly, picking up the phone and dialing one of us on the intercom is really not a heavy duty chore....try it...you'll like it....

Any questions,

See me please.

Love ya,



Apparently, though, people didn't listen. On August 25, about two months before he fled the country for Morocco as his Ponzi scheme began collapsing, he sent another email regarding the lockdown to his staff.

First, though, here's Coffey taking us into the inner sanctum, namely the administrative corridor. On the left is an office for two or three secretaries and on the right is Debra Villegas' office. Pardon the crazy camera work, I was trying to document the keepsakes on his wall.

And here's a quick and dizzying view of Villegas office, ending with the portrait of Al Pacino that leads to Rothstein's own office door.

Here's the August email:


From: Scott Rothstein
Sent: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 4:52 PM
To: Allstaff
Subject: Debra Amy and Ingrid

Hey Kidzzz,

With the continued rapid growth of our firm it has become more imperative than ever that our management team be given the time and space to accomplish all that they must accomplish during the day. Despite the fact that we are on "lock down", the traffic in this corridor is unbearable.

Thus, unless it is a true emergency, NO ONE is to attempt to enter the admin corridor to see Debra, Amy or Ingrid. PLEASE.

If you need something from any of them e-mail them. If it requires face to face, set an appt with them. Or if it is more important or requires more immediate attention,  call them and ask if they are available for you. If it is a true emergency or if you have an appt with them--- then and ONLY THEN should you come to the admin door to be let in.

PLEASE. We can not accomplish all that we need to with the amount of traffic we are seeing in here on a daily basis. I hope this does not cause anyone any undue hardship.

Thanks so much,

Love ya,



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