While the feds were busy seizing his cars, guns, and yacht, I sat down with Scott Rothstein. It was at the Capital Grille on Sunrise Boulevard, one of his favorite hangouts. I was there hoping to meet a source and Rothstein was sitting at the bar with his attorney, Marc Nurik. It was just before noon.
I walked up to him as I pulled my Flip recorder out of my pocket (reporting tip: Never leave home without one). I introduced myself; he knew me. We've spoken numerous times and met in person at his Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm for an interview a year ago. As I stood there recording, the maitre'd and hostess came over and said hello to Rothstein and asked how he was doing.
"It's tough. It's tough," he said, while the bartender mixed him a martini. "I'm going to do the right thing, so, you know. Make sure when you see everybody, just tell them that I'm alive, I'm well, and I'm doing the right thing, you know. Make sure everything's going to get fixed properly. Everybody makes mistakes in life, and you've got to fix them."
"So how do you make it right, Scott?" I asked him.
"I'm not going to answer any questions, Bob," he said.
So I turned off the camera and sat down and had a beer with him. I'm no paparazzi.
Read the highlights of our talk after the jump.
He looked good in a casual short-sleeved beige button shirt and held his iPhone (I think it was an iPhone) in his hand. The only thing that may have betrayed his true state of mind was that a tic in his left eye was more pronounced than I remember it being when I met him last year. Understand that these quotes come from memory, and some may not be 100 percent exact, but they are all accurately portrayed.
His wife's bodyguard, Joe Alu, was sitting off to the side of the bar at a table by himself. I didn't really investigate, but there was no obvious signs of any presence of the federal government.
I asked Rothstein if he thought his investors might get any of their money back. He said he expected them to "substantially" be made whole. When I asked how that might happen, Nurik put the kibosh on it.
Trying to find an acceptable topic, I asked Rothstein how he liked Morocco.
"I hated it," he said.
"He went for the waters," joked Nurik, who was sipping on a whiskey.
Rothstein remarked on my goatee.
"I grew my beard out over there [in Morocco] for a little bit and didn't realize how white it would be," he said. "It was almost pure white. I didn't know how old I was."
I asked him how he found the feds to be, and he just shook his head. I said I thought he was under federal custody and he said he was holed up only with his attorney, that he wasn't talking to federal officials, that everything was going through Nurik.
Rothstein indicated this was his first social outing since returning from Morocco last Tuesday. I asked him he was staying in a hotel and he said yes, "If you can call it that, I'm not living the high life."
When I asked him if he'd seen his wife, Kim, he didn't really answer the question.
"I have put everyone in my life through hell," he said.
"You didn't mean for this to happen, did you?" I asked.
"Nobody ever sets out to hurt anybody," he said.
I asked him if his "Uncle Bill," Bill Boockvor, AKA Bill Brock, who accompanied him to Morocco, was still outside the country.
"No, he is not still there," Rothstein said. "He only came with me to provide moral support. That was all. He has nothing to do with this. If people had been paying attention, they would have noticed that he came back with me."
So Boockvor is back in town?
"Yes," he said.
I told him that he'd really set this town on its ear, especially when he flew back into town on a chartered G5 from Casablanca. He said that he was faced with either running for the rest of his life and coming back home. He said he came back to set things right.
"It was the great turning point in my life," he said.
Nurik, who was obviously uncomfortable with the interview, said he didn't want Rothstein talking about these things and tried to turn the conversation to the Dolphins.
"Yeah, they suck," Rothstein said, whispering the last word.
Rothstein and his law firm were a major sponsor of the team, and the RRA logo and name were announced during home games. I asked Rothstein if he watched yesterday's Patriots game.
"Some of it," he said. "I can't concentrate on anything right now. It's impossible for me to do it right now. There's too much happening. I'm too busy."
"We always had a good relationship, didn't we?" he said.
"Yeah, I didn't take any of our ups and downs personally."
"Did you see the Jewish Avenger cape?"
I told him I had. It was sitting on his couch in his office at the law firm during a media tour last week. The suit and cape was made for him by former state senator and current County Commission candidate Steve Geller.
"I love that, but you now what, you should have that," he said. "You can hold it for me. I want it back when I return. You can hold it for safekeeping."
I told him I would do that. I didn't have to ask him from where he was returning. We both knew where he meant: federal prison.