Another Rothstein Effect

by Bernard McCormick Tuesday, January 12, 2010 1 Comment(s)

On the surface it would seem quite a distance between the Scott Rothstein saga and the case of former Broward County Judge Larry Seidlin, being sued for allegedly exploiting an elderly sick neighbor, Barbara Kasner. In reality, the distance between the two cases is no more than the distance between the former offices of Rothstein and his partner, Russell Adler. And that could create great complications in the legal process.

Adler, you see, is representing Seidlin in the case brought by attorney William Scherer. Scherer himself is heavily involved with the Rothstein case. He has been all over the media as representative for $100 million worth of investors who claim Rothstein’s scheme victimized them.

In an odd twist this story found its way to an obscure blog, www.EstateofDenial.com, which deals with probate matters. In considerable detail, writer Lou Ann Anderson described the events leading up to the present situation, including the fact that Seidlin was the judge in the Anna Nicole Smith case. It was a long post, describing a story that dates back to 2007 with a series of legal events involving a fight over guardianship and efforts to negate a will that was changed by an ailing woman.

Anderson, who appears to be in Texas (most of the posts on the blog relate to that state), points out that Scherer’s attempt to speed the case to trial, because of Barbara Kasner’s ill health, may be stymied if Adler is indicted or disbarred in the Rothstein matter, and Seidlin seeks new representation. The piece is also sarcastically critical of Broward Chief Judge Victor Tobin, who requested the case be moved from Broward Judge Tom Lynch to a Palm Beach County court, likely resulting in another delay. She smirks at Tobin’s reason – to avoid the appearance of impropriety – in a case which began with impropriety and has been marked by a series of strange events.

Anderson details them all, including recent efforts, so far defeated by Scherer, to have a guardian appointed for Kasler. She observes that a guardian could have considerable powers over legal events, including the lawsuit against Seidlin.

Scherer’s urgency in moving the case forward is not unfounded. Barbara Kasner, 83, is very ill, confined mostly to bed, breathing with the assistance of oxygen tubes and barely able to talk. Considering that Scherer’s suit against Seidlin alleges about $1 million in transferred assets so far, and including her will, the damage to Kasner’s estate may be as much as $6 million, there is ample reason for speed. 

Some of the information in this column has been published locally. Anderson cites both the Miami Herald and the Daily Business Review. But we have not seen it packaged so neatly anywhere else. Unless you count New Times’ blog, Daily Pulp, where the entire Anderson piece was posted earlier last month. 

Journalism has taken some strange twists in the last few years as newspapers have lost clout and the Internet has supplied increasing coverage and opinion on important stories.

But this sequence is bizarre, by any measure. A story on local affairs comes out of Texas, quoting South Florida sources, strange enough in itself, and winds up in a highly read local blog. And www.EstateofDenial.com seems determined to follow events here. Just a few days after the aforementioned post, there was a follow up reporting on the Miami Herald’s big Sunday feature on the background and causes of so much South Florida corruption. The Sun-Sentinel ran a similar story the same day, but maybe Texas never heard of the Sun-Sentinel.

Anyway, it even reported the Herald’s conclusion. The lack of serious reporters has greatly reduced the usefulness of local media in being a watchdog for political misconduct. It isn’t about politics. It’s all about money. Really?


Comments

Mr. McCormick, Keep it coming -- maybe you will d...

This Comment had been Posted by mmccormick

Mr. McCormick,

Keep it coming -- maybe you will drag out some real journalists again!


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