I've heard rumors for some time that fallen lawyer, political player, and Scott Rothstein put an erotic dancer up in a suite at the Ritz-Carlton on Fort Lauderdale Beach. Now a source is going on the record with it.
John Ciriello, an antiques dealer living in Pompano Beach, said he learned that Rothstein was keeping a dancer working at Solid Gold on Federal Highway in a room at the hotel in January. Ciriello, who was then working as a cabdriver, said that a Ritz-Carlton employee told him about Rothstein's arrangement and that they spoke about it often. He said he never gave the woman, a blond, a ride in his cab but once saw her exiting another taxi.
A manager at the Ritz-Carlton refused to comment.
"It happened, it's just the truth, and I'll swear to it in an affidavit if I have to," said Ciriello, who often gave cab rides at the Ritz-Carlton. "He kept a stripper from Solid Gold there, and she ran up
big liquor bills every night. I'm talking about $2,000 at a time, and this bigwig lawyer Rothstein was paying for all of it. It was all done on a credit card. She'd party all night and sleep all day. At the same time, Rothstein was coming to the Ritz-Carlton with his wife and family for Sunday brunch. This guy makes me sick."
A longtime Fort Lauderdale businessman who was acquainted with Rothstein and asked that his name not be mentioned said he also learned firsthand from a former Ritz-Carlton bartender -- who was not Ciriello's contact -- that Rothstein had the dancer living in a suite at the hotel. The businessman's account of the story was remarkably similar to that of Ciriello's, whom he doesn't know. "I know it's true," said the businessman. "I've heard it from several different people."
He said he learned that Rothstein had rented a time-share suite in the hotel from a Canadian national for six months around the turn of the year. Ciriello said the woman would tip room service a couple of hundred dollars at a time.
Rothstein and his wife, Kimberly, were fixtures in the Fort Lauderdale social and charity circuit, where Rothstein threw around millions of stolen dollars. Ciriello said he it was only right that Rothstein's financial empire -- based on a Ponzi scheme and theft from friends -- collapsed and he has been exposed as a total fraud. "This guy blew up like a nuclear bomb," he said.