Kim Rothstein wants some of her bling back
By Peter Franceschina
Perhaps Kim Rothstein is looking for mementos of those idyllic days before her husband turned super crook.
Or maybe she feels she shouldn’t have to forfeit her property to compensate the investors Scott Rothstein swindled.
But the hard-shopping, jewelry-collecting Kim Rothstein wants some of her baubles back from the federal government.
Not all 304 pieces – the watches, necklaces and earrings – that federal agents say they seized last fall, just the ones that Scott Rothstein gave her as their romance bloomed.
She is just the latest entrant in the court battles raging over Scott Rothstein’s assets. One of Kim Rothstein’s attorneys filed a claim Friday in her husband’s criminal case, asserting her right to certain pieces of jewelry.
Dozens of claims from innocent clients of the Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm who lost money and bilked investors who allege they lost tens of millions of dollars have been filed in Scott Rothstein’s criminal case. They are jockeying for a percentage of the cash that will result from the sale of Scott Rothstein’s supercars, luxury yachts and multimillion dollar homes.
Kim Rothstein’s attorney, who could not be reached for immediate comment Monday afternoon, did not specify which pieces of jewelry
Stephan Maloman / Maloman Photographers
she wants back. The key to what she might have a shot at collecting depends on when Scott Rothstein gave her the gift – before or after he embarked on his massive $1.4 billion Ponzi scheme.
“Beginning as early as approximately 2004, and continuing until in or about 2005, but prior to committing the criminal acts for which he now stands convicted and sentenced, defendant Rothstein gave petitioner certain items of jewelry and other gifts based on their personal friendship and relationship,” Kim Rothstein’s claim says.
Under the law, Kim Rothstein is “the sole owner of the items she received as gifts from defendant prior to the criminal acts for which he stands convicted” and her “legal interest in those items is superior to that of defendant Rothstein and the United States,” the claim says.
Attorneys representing the trustee for the bankrupt Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm have filed a $1.1 million clawback suit against Kim Rothstein, alleging her lavish lifestyle, spending sprees and political contributions were funded through Ponzi money that ran through the firm.
“Mrs. Rothstein spent over $880,000 of RRA money on handbags, shoes, clothing, plastic surgery treatments and other such personal dalliances,” bankruptcy lawyers wrote in an earlier court filing.
In a deposition earlier this year, Kim Rothstein testified that she shopped so hard she couldn’t remember specifics about her spending. She liked expensive Jimmy Choo shoes, Louis Vuitton handbags, Gucci accessories and evening dresses by Zola Keller. She could drop nearly $5,000 buying several pairs of shoes from a chic Los Angeles boutique online.
Bankruptcy lawyer Chuck Lichtman said Monday that forensic accounting shows that virtually all of Scott Rothstein’s jewelry purchases were made with money from his law firm accounts.
“We’re incensed that Kim Rothstein thinks she should have an entitlement to this jewelry and we are going to do everything in our powers to protect the creditors’ interests in this jewelry,” he said. “We take this matter very, very seriously.”
In the end, all of the claims filed against Scott Rothstein’s assets in the forfeiture case might be moot. Federal prosecutors have said they will seek to have all of them dismissed by the judge. Prosecutors recently revealed investors lost $426 million.
If prosecutors succeed in holding onto Scott Rothstein’s forfeited assets, they will have to go through a painstaking process of determining who the legitimate victims are, and who doesn’t have “clean hands,” before the restitution is distributed. The judge hopes to have that done by the end of August.