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Rothstein Email: Keep Pot Out of the Office

Just about every office has a pot guy. You know, it's the person who is happy to hook up anyone he can with a little weed, not to make money but mostly just to fulfill what he believes is a service to humanity.

Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm had at least one of them. According to emails that I obtained today, an attorney there supplied pot to RRA partners Russell Adler and Stuart Rosenfeldt at the firm.

Alas, the attorney -- who has never been tied to the Ponzi and whom I'm not naming -- was busted at the firm this past August 18. Scott Rothstein's right-hand woman, Debra Villegas, and her faithful assistant, Amy Howard, smelled the stuff in his office, prompting Howard to "barge" in to get a better whiff. Apparently the lawyer had just given some pot to Adler. Villegas and Howard went to Rothstein with the news.

Later that day, the lawyer got word from Adler that Rothstein knew about it. So he sent Rothstein the following email under the subject head, "Russ & me":  

"Hey Scott, Russ told me about something you were told today about us in my office. What you were told is absolutely not true. I was asked by Russ (and Stuart) to bring something in for them. Amy happened to barge in just after Russ & I had

met. We will make sure that in the future these things are not done in the office, but I want you to know I would never do that in the office."

It's hard to blame Adler and Rosenfeldt for a little ganja use. Working that closely with Rothstein would seem to require it (Rosenfeldt has confessed to being a Xanax popper as well.) The email was sent at 7:51 p.m. Twenty-six minutes later, at 8:17, Rothstein responded:

The information russ provided you was inaccurate. Debra and Amy simply advised that they smelled marijuana in your office. They never said anyone was smoking it in the office. When the information was brought to my attention I had an obligation to inquire. And debra and amy had an absolute obligation to advise me.

We have fort Lauderdale police in the office as well as clients that know what pot smells like. We have employees that may or may not smoke pot that know what it smells like. We have opposing counsel in the offices that may or may not know what it smells like. Do you have any idea of the scandal that could be created by opposing counsel with an axe to grind. We have children that visit the offices. Smoked ... not smoked ... I could not care less. I don't want it in my offices. I could not care less who smokes pot at home. I believe it should be legalized. But until it is I will not under any circumstances tolerate it being brought into our offices. I know you would not smoke pot in our offices. But the two of you used extremely poor judgment.

Love ya,


There is something hilarious about Rothstein talking about the huge "scandal" that a little weed could create for the firm while he was busy playing the role of financial serial killer in a $1.4 billion Ponzi scheme that would implode just six weeks later.

The lawyer wrote back five minutes later: "You are right. I can't disagree with anything you just wrote. It really was laziness more than anything else. It won't happen again."

In the next line he joked, "Let me know if you need any. :-)"

Frankly I agree with Rothstein: The stuff should be legalized. Rothstein personally used prescription medication to ease his anxiety and ADHD. Sources have said that the RRA firm was loaded with pill poppers (Lexipro was a fave). Pot's definitely no worse than that stuff. It's already practically legalized in California and other states (there are more pot shops on Venice Beach than surf shops these days). Many cops routinely throw it out or look the other way when they make (or don't make) arrests.

That's why I've chosen not to publish the lawyer's name. If he was a public figure in the Rothstein scandal -- like Adler and Rosenfeldt -- or was in any way known or even publicly suspected to be tied to the Ponzi, it would be necessary to include it. He is neither.

What I find most incredible is that these emails exist at all. Any fool knows better than to make explicit reference to use of an illicit drug -- even if it is little old marijuana -- in an email and here we're dealing with supposedly big-time attorneys. You can see that the lawyer initially tried to conceal the true nature of the matter only for Rothstein to spell it out (literally) in his reply. It's insanity -- but I wonder if there wasn't a method to Rothstein's madness. Was he just documenting everything in anticipation of his own inevitable fall? 

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Journalist Bob Norman has been raking the muck of South Florida for the past 25 years. His work has led to criminal cases against corrupt politicians, the ouster of bad judges from the bench, and has garnered dozens of state, regional, and national awards.
Contact: Bob Norman

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