A Daily Business Review reporter sat in on a deposition Tuesday for Szafranski -- who served as the "independent verifier" for Scott Rothstein's bogus Ponzi settlement deals -- and reported that Szafranski uttered "'Fifth Amendment' hundreds of times" to bankruptcy attorney Theresa Van Vliet's questions.

At the same time he was serving as the so-called verifier, Szafranski also raised tens of millions to invest in Rothstein's scheme.

Szafranski's attorney, Chris Berga, announced at the beginning of the deposition that his client wasn't going to answer any questions and at one point snapped at Van Vliet for continuing to ask the questions about what, exactly, he did to 

Szafranski Pleads the Fifth Hundreds of Time

"verify" Rothstein's fake settlements. Reporter Julie Kay wrote (no link is available to the story at this point):

Still, tempers flared during the deposition. At one point, Berga snarled, "Are you going to keep asking questions?"

Van Vliet snapped: "I can do anything I want to do. It's my deposition."

As the deposition ended, Van Vliet noted that she may bring Szafranski back for another deposition once his legal team turns over documents. Berga of Lydecker Lee Berga & de Zayas of Miami protested, and Van Vliet's co-counsel, John Genovese, shot back, "I'm happy to go to court to get what I need any time. We love to go to court, and we can get an injunction."


The bankruptcy attorneys also questioned Szafranski about the email exchange that was revealed in the civil lawsuit filed against him and other alleged Rothstein cohorts by attorney Bill Scherer.

Up today for deposition is Szafranski's wife, who Kay reported paid $1.5 million in cash for a house a month before the Rothstein scheme imploded. I'm searching for that transaction; property records show that Szafranski owns a condo on Collins Avenue in Surfside with Elana Sturm Sturm that they bought in 2003 for $283,000.

UPDATED: The Miami-Dade Property Appraiser's Office had Szafranski's wife listed as "Strum" on the home they share. Thanks to the two folks who gave me the heads-up, a search of Elana Sturm, her actual name, shows the purchase of the $1.5 million home at 133 Camden Drive in Bal Harbour

(Thanks to Jay for the heads-up.)

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.