Rothstein bodyguard hit with $300k clawback suit
By Peter Franceschina
The former bodyguard for Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein’s wife, Kim, has been hit with a $300,000 clawback suit alleging law firm money went to purchase a Victoria Park condo.
The bankruptcy suit against bodyguard Joe “Meaty” Alu – a former Plantation police officer – alleges that $301,000 was used to purchase the $430,000 condo on NE 5th Court in May 2009, “a mere five months before the Ponzi Scheme was revealed and subsequently exploded.”
In the aftermath of the revelations surrounding Scott Rothstein’s $1.4 billion investment fraud scheme in the fall of 2009, Alu was a constant presence at the side of Kim Rothstein.
He chauffeured her around in a black Cadillac Escalade and stood guard outside the gated Rothstein compound on Isla Bahia, even as Scott Rothstein dropped out of sight and was secretly cooperating with federal prosecutors. He was thrust into the media limelight, with his bulging, tattooed arms and his sometimes pithy quotes.
And he defended Scott Rothstein, who hired him in September 2008 to protect his wife.
"I don't abandon my friends because they make mistakes,” Alu told the Sun Sentinel earlier this year. "Or I'd have no friends left. He never did anything to hurt me, ever. ... I'm sorry some people led Scott astray to do some bad things. I don't think it's Scott's fault."
Alu said Friday that he has been making monthly mortgage payments, which are being held in escrow by his attorney. He said he is a victim of a dispute between the bankruptcy attorneys and federal prosecutors over Rothstein's assets.
"I don’t care who I pay the money to. They can fight among themselves over the money. I just want to get out of this mess," he said.
He was still working as a Plantation police officer in 2008 when Rothstein hired him to guard his wife, and Alu retired from the force that fall, after a 21-year career. He told the Sun Sentinel he had known Scott Rothstein for 20 years, after they met in Plantation when Rothstein had an office there and represented the police union.
More than two dozen clawback suits have been filed in the bankruptcy case, seeking tens of millions of dollars. The suit against Alu was filed on Thursday.
Rothstein, 48, is still cooperating in the federal investigation and is serving a 50-year prison term in an undisclosed location after helping bring down a reputed Mafia figure.