Following are two emails sent by Scott Rothstein to law firm staff concerning his chief operating officer and executive vice president, Debra Villegas.
If you had any doubt that Villegas was the Ponzi schemer's right-hand woman and most trusted person in the firm, these will quickly erase them. Keep in mind that other than a couple of secretaries, Villegas was the only person in the firm with an office in Rothstein's heavily secured "inner sanctum" on the 16th floor of the Bank of America building.
Villegas' estranged husband was arrested last year for the murder of RRA attorney Melissa Britt Lewis, who was reportedly Villegas' best friend at the time.
It also bolsters the assertion by Rothstein's 50 percent law firm partner Stuart Rosenfeldt that he was largely a figurehead in the firm.
I would summarize Rothstein's emails, but they're just too interesting from top to bottom to reduce. What is clear is that Villegas was Rothstein's most trusted associate, almost like the Igor to his mad Dr. Frankenstein. Rothstein writes, for instance, that the firm's growth, which we now know was due to the theft of investors' money, would be "in reverse" without her and that she helped him in ways he "can't explain."
Here are the emails:
From: Scott Rothstein
Sent: Monday, March 23, 2009 11:54 AM
In order to insure that RRA runs as smoothly as possible, and in light of multiple recent incidents pertaining to Debra's role at RRA , lets define certain responsibilities of her position clearly.
Debra is the COO of this firm. Her direct report is to me. Among the many other things that are assigned to Debra as COO, she has the responsibility of managing the day to day affairs of the firm--- involving me only when absolutely necessary. By definition, this means, that when she speaks she is speaking for me. Thus, absent extraordinary circumstances, no one is to challenge her authority or come to
me to attempt to override any decision she makes. If, for some reason, you think that a discussion with Debra and me would be appropriate, please have the courtesy to set it up through Marybeth. Please NEVER tell Debra, or anyone behind Debra's back, that you are going to just "take it to Scott." That defeats the purpose of having a COO that I have trusted for nearly 2 decades and would put me in the most difficult position of questioning your loyalty to the firm and my decision making authority.
For those of you who do not understand Debra's significance to RRA....let me elaborate briefly.....WE WOULD NOT EXIST WITHOUT HER---SHE HAS HELPED ME AND CONTINUES TO HELP ME MORE THAN I COULD EVER EXPLAIN.....OUR OFFICES THAT WE CURRENTLY OCCUPY WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN COMPLETED WITHOUT HER......OUR GROWTH WOULD BE IN REVERSE......WE NEVER WOULD HAVE BEEN ABLE TO FULFILL THE VISION OF WHAT RRA HAS BECOME WITHOUT HER----WE WOULD NEVER BE ABLE TO CONTINUE TO PURSUE OUR VISION WITHOUT HER-----SHE IS ONE OF THE MAIN REASONS THAT WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO CONTINUE TO GROW DESPITE THE TOUGH ECONOMY....DESPITE WHAT YOU MAY THINK---SHE IS FAR MORE OFTEN THAN NOT YOUR GREATEST ADVOCATE----
Simply....please treat her with respect...do not ever undermine her...to undermine her is to undermine me.....please take that for what its worth......and please know that even when you may disagree with her she is always trying to do what is best for our Firm.
Thanks so very much,
From: Scott Rothstein
Sent: Friday, October 16, 2009 3:57 PM
I apologize in advance for anyone that this does not apply to.
This firm is a large law firm. AND WE ARE STILL NEW AT THIS.
Running it and managing it is not easy.
I understand that and so does my management team. HOPEFULLY ALL OF YOU DO AS WELL. THERE ARE A LOT OF MOVING PARTS AND A LOT OF THINGS THAT GO ON BEHIND THE SCENES THAT YOU DO NOT SEE BUT WHICH YOU DO ENJOY THE BENEFITS OF.
We are in the process of making a lot of changes.
WE TRY OUR BEST...ALWAYS.....WE DO NOT ALWAYS SUCCEED. BUT IT IS NEVER FOR LACK OF TRYING.
Some things will go perfectly....others will look like a typhoon came through. BUT ......we are a team and we will all get through everything together, and at the end of the task everything will be nearly perfect. Always has been...always will be. But I will NEVER tolerate insubordination. I will NEVER tolerate attacks. NEVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Being part of a team means dealing as a family with the good the bad and the ugly. ALL OF IT>>>>>TOGETHER>>>>>NEVER DEMEANING ANOTHER>>>>>>>NEVER BLAMING ANOTHER.
WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.
IF YOU CAN'T DEAL WITH THIS THEORY PLEASE DO ME A FAVOR AND RESIGN IMMEDIATELY. MAKE IT EASY FOR ME.
AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST..........AND THIS IS TO ALL OF YOU.....YOUR JOB IS TO PRACTICE LAW AND BRING IN MONEY TO THE FIRM OR TO ASSIST THE FIRM IN DOING SAME.
I AM THE CHAIRMAN....THE CEO.....THE MANAGING SHAREHOLDER....AND THE HEAD JANITOR.
DEBRA IS THE COO.......SHE IS SECOND IN COMMAND. MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT. SHE IS...AND SHE ONLY ANSWERS TO ME. NO ONE ELSE. .END OF STORY.
DO NOT CROSS THE LINE. IF YOU ARE NOT IN MANAGEMENT MAKE NO ATTEMPT TO MANAGE.......PLEASE.
I AM SO ANGRY THAT I AM HAVING TO WRITE THIS EMAIL.
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WE HAVE AN AMAZING FIRM.....AN AMAZING WORKPLACE......STOP PISSING ME OFF. IT WILL NOT GET YOU ANYWHERE THAT YOU WANT TO BE. PLEASE.