Saturday, November 7, 2009

Charlie Crist's Ponzi-scheme pal

Scott Rothstein paid $52,000 to have his name emblazoned on a birthday cake for Florida Gov. Charlie Crist at a July 2008 GOP fundraiser:
"[Rothstein] spent money like it wasn't his," said one person who was there. "Now we know why."
Indeed, Rothstein’s now at the center of an alleged Ponzi scheme in which he bilked investors for what some say could be up to $1 billion. Though many in the legal community had suspected Rothstein was up to something (he couldn't have that much disposable cash legally, they said), politicians and political parties didn't ask many questions. Big checks at the very least buy gratitude and a see-no-evil attitude in politics. Rothstein's $52,000 check from his law firm was the biggest single contribution for the Republican Party of Florida fundraiser, which raised about $1 million for the party.
Q-and-A with Crist, who takes a see-no-evil stance on Rothstein's swindling. Inside Rothstein's law office:
The walls of Rothstein's office and other hallways are lined with framed photos of the lawyer with politicians including Gov. Charlie Crist, former U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, U.S. Sen. John McCain and Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti.
Rothstein "raised at least $675,000 for Crist’s 2006 gubernatorial campaign and donated close to $80,000 during the first 50 days of Crist’s U.S. Senate campaign," Judicial Watch reports, noting that two other major Crist contributors have also recently been indicted:
A few months ago, south Florida ophthalmologist Alan Mendelsohn, a prolific fundraiser and political power broker, was charged with fraudulently using money from political action committees to pay for a mistress’s love nest, a luxury car for himself and his children’s education. Mendelsohn was so tight with Crist, a former Florida attorney general, that the governor gave him a spot on his coveted gubernatorial transition team in 2006.
In February a Jordanian businessman (Ala'a al-Ali) was indicted for making tens of thousands of dollars in illegal contributions to various political candidates, including Crist, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Arizona Senator John McCain. Ali, who lives in the Dominican Republic, circumvented federal limits on individual contributions as well as a ban on foreign donations by using bogus donors that he later reimbursed. . . .
Read the whole thing.

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