If there's a movie made about Scott Rothstein, one of the sets will have to be Anthony's Runway 84.
The Fort Lauderdale restaurant was one of Rothstein's favorite hangouts, a place where he said he first met Stanley Coniglio, whom he testified was tied to an organized crime family. Coniglio denied that recently in a published report.
Rothstein testified he ate dinner at Runway 84 every Thursday night and the events were known as "council meetings."
"Was Mr. Coniglio, we'll call it, a member of the group of men that typically you dined with on Thursday nights at Runway 84?" asked bankruptcy attorney Chuck Lichtman.
"Yes," answered Rothstein. "Thursday night at Runway 84 was called 'council meetings.' That was the -- for lack of a better word, that was the secret name, and it was the night that all the guys from all different groups would gather at Runway 84 and eat dinner and hang out most of the night usually."
"Why were you there?" asked Lichtman.
"Without getting into too much detail, the first reason I was there was to eat dinner. econd, it was a lot of fun. The third reason was I had various business dealings with some of the people that ate there on Thursday nights."
Rothstein testified that Coniglio ultimately introduced him to Albert Peter, who at the time was the CEO of Silversea Cruises. It was then, Rothstein testified, that he and Peter embarked on a scheme to embezzle millions from Silversea using fake legal invoices and bogus bonds.
"Mr. Coniglio was the type of person that was always looking for a method to either earn money, to gain favor, to enable himself to get something out of what I'll term relationship building," Rothstein testified. When I was introduced to [Peter's mistress] Diane DelValle and ultimately to Albert Peter, Mr. Peter was basically told by Mr. Coniglio that he was going to hire me and my law firm to represent Silversea Cruise Lines, and ultimately that is what occurred."
Rothstein testified that Peter was giving Coniglio special perks at Silversea.
"Mr. Coniglio was taking cruises on Silversea's ships, which are rather expensive, at either no cost or a very, very low cost as if he was a family member of a Silversea employee," he testified.
"To the best of your knowledge, was Mr. Coniglio a family member of a Silversea employee?" asked Lichtman.
"I could say that "family" is an interesting word, but no, he was not."
"Sort of using the vernacular here, would it be a fair statement then with respect to your comment that Mr. Peter was told that RRA was going to become counsel to Silversea, that Mr. Coniglio made him an offer he couldn't refuse?"
"I think that's a polite way to say it. I think that they had a mutually beneficial business relationship and it was probably in Albert's best interest to appease Mr. Coniglio, as most people who did business with him did."
"Do you have any knowledge of any of the facts of what the mutually beneficial relationship was between Coniglio and Mr. Peter?"
"The only thing that I was ever told was that Albert had previously been having some problems in town and Mr. Coniglio resolved the problems for him. More than that I do not know."
Rothtein testified that as they began scamming Silversea out of millions of dollars, he arranged for the Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm to buy Coniglio a new Lexus.
Rothstein testified he and Albert became close friends, bonded by their "extracurricular activities" of thievery and women. He said they would sneak off together in the middle of the day together to drink cocktails and smoke cigars, often at Runway 84, where he testified that owner Anthony Bruno would allow them to smoke at the bar.
We'll get more into the amazing Silversea story later, but Rothstein had testified in December of the time he took jeweler Mark Levinson to Runway 84.
"[Levinson] commented that he thought he was stepping into the Goodfellas set," Rothstein testified.
He said Levinson asked him if he could sell diamonds to the Runway 84 fellas and that his answer to the jeweler was a "big no." When asked why he felt it wouldn't be a good idea, Rothstein answered, "Because he liked being in only one piece. I explained to him that these were not business people that he was used to doing business with, that they paid when they felt like paying if they felt like paying."