The bankruptcy lawyers handling the bankruptcy involving Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein sued six businesses yesterday -- including Miami billionaire Norman Braman's car dealership and perhaps the most high-profile jewelry store in Broward County, Levinson Jewelers.
The bankruptcy is seeking $1.5 billion from Braman, the cost of a $1.5 million Bugatti sports car Rothstein bought from Braman Motors on Biscayne Boulevard. From Levinson, the bankruptcy is seeking more than $9 million. The lawsuit against the jewelry store claims Rothstein spent some $11 million at Levinson's in a five-year period, including $1 million worth of "off the books" gem stones.
Braman was at hope recuperating from hip replacement surgery, but his attorney, Larry Schantz, called the suit "unjust and unfair." He said the Bugatti in question -- Rothstein had two of them -- had already been seized by the feds and sold to benefit victims. He said Braman was a victim of the conflict between the federal government, which is prosecuting the criminal cases involving in the scheme, and the bankruptcy court.
Eddie Trotta, the owner of Thunder Cycles, agreed with that assessment. The bankruptcy hit the Fort Lauderdale motorcycle shop with a $69,000 lawsuit for a chopper Rothstein bought there. Trotta said he bought the chopper back from Rothstein after the now-disbarred attorney wrecked on the bike. (See Trotta in the video above).
Also sued was Rothstein's favorite cigar store, Ultimate Cigars, on Federal Highway in Fort Lauderale. Bankruptcy lawyers sued the shop, owned by former Rothstein pal Moe Sohail, for $57,000. Euro Motor Cars, in Bethesda, MD, a Rolls Royce dealer, was sued for $177,000. And another exotic car dealership, Recovery Racing LLC, was sued in the bankruptcy for $560,000.
Yesterday's action was part of an anticipated surge in lawsuits in the case, as bankruptcy lawyers face a November 10 deadline for filings. More suits -- and arrests -- are expected.