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Rothstein Took Watch Collection (and More) to Morocco

OK, sources say Debra Villegas has another day of relative freedom today. Still expected this week.

In lieu of action in the case, I'm going to throw out some tidbits.

UPDATED: Sentinel reporting that bankruptcy lawyers filed a clawback suit on Kim Rothstein seeking $1.1 million back from her, including charges on her Amex card, her RRA salary, and the political contribution money they say was reimbursed by Rothstein. They also say there's a whole lot more in jewelry too. Among the goods: "jewelry, clothing, shoes, handbags, leather goods, plastic surgery treatments, eyewear, electronics, local hotel room and spa charges, household furnishings, home gym equipment, vacations and personal travel, athletic club charges, groceries, charitable contributions, personal meals, general household and other items." 

Questions abound, like how much does Botox cost? And just what kind of "leather goods" wound up in the Rothstein home? And since when did "groceries" become a clawback item?

The Berger Singerman lawyers are not to be trifled with. They are basically saying she owes everything she spent during the marriage. I still think a quarter million in shopping charges at stores over four years is pretty tame for the wife of Rothstein. I would have expected at least a couple of hundred grand a year. 

Kim, here's the plan. Hand over the wedding ring first. Then any other jewelry you may have stashed away. That should help get them off your back, because what they really want is the treasure.   

-- In regard to Villegas, I'm told she was at Scott Rothstein's beck and call all hours of the day and night. When Rothstein struck a deal for an investment in one of his bogus settlement deals, speed was of the essence. He would call Villegas and have her draw up the papers for the deal. While her complicity in the Ponzi hasn't been spelled out, more will be known when the government formally charges her (soon).

-- I'm told that Rothstein may have had a bit of a closer relationship with California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger than previously believed. We know that Schwarzenegger was a guest at Rothstein's home for a fundraiser, but a source tells me that the two men and their wives also went on at least one skiing trip together. Another source says that Schwartzenegger invited Scott and Kim on the trip, that Rothstein

accepted, and then, in true Rothstein fashion, canceled at the last second, showing up the action star/politico. Schwarzenegger seems to favor Sun Valley, Idaho. Here's a fawning piece about the guvernator's skiing prowess, in case you're interested.

-- I've also confirmed 100 percent that, in addition to an untold amount of cash, Rothstein took something else of value with him to Morocco: his multimillion-dollar watch collection. He returned to the States with the watches, but the same apparently can't be said for some of that cash. Maybe he needed the watches to keep track of all the different time zones, huh?

-- There's been a lot of speculation about the role of Grant Smith, the attorney whom Rothstein almost cruelly made a managing partner just before the law firm imploded. Smith was Rothstein's legislative director, so there's been speculation that he may have been involved in suspected contribution reimbursements to the firm's lawyers. Not so, sources say. I'm told by sources inside the firm that Smith actually went out of his way at times to remind Rothstein that reimbursing contributions was illegal. Another thing about Smith: He never pops up in any infamous Bova stories. To his credit, Smith, a family man, seems to have completely avoided the seamier side of Rothsteinland.

-- Sources also say that Rothstein had a fairly close association with U.S. Sen. George LeMieux. The two met on several occasions, usually to talk about political races and strategy, often with the idea of using Rothstein's incredible financial power to help favored candidates. Is there anything more to it than that? We'll see, but just the thought of the milquetoast LeMieux and the flamboyant Rothstein pow-wowing is enough to make me laugh.

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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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