In this corner, the Rothstein bankruptcy attorneys. And in this corner, fight promoter Don King. Let the legal brawl begin.
Ponzi schemer extraordinaire Scott Rothstein ponied up $700,000 to sponsor one of King's boxing extravaganzas, billed as the "St. Valentine's Day Massacre," at the BankAtlantic Center in February 2009. Rothstein was buying high-profile publicity – for his Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm, and for businesses he supported with stolen investor money.
"I am so happy my friend Scott Rothstein of Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler Attorneys at Law has come onboard as a sponsor, bringing his prestige and sparkling brands that include V Georgio Vodka, The BOVA Restaurant Group, Renato Watches and Qtask," King wrote in promotional material for the Feb. 14, 2009, fight card, which was televised internationally on HBO.
Now, the bankruptcy attorneys want that money returned – King's production company was sued Tuesday in federal court in Fort Lauderdale. Don King Productions, based in Deerfield Beach, is just the latest entity in the bankruptcy case to be hit with a clawback suit intended to reimburse victims of Rothstein's massive $1.4 billion swindle.
For his money, Rothstein got advertising signage for his law firm and the other companies at the venue, as well as VIP tickets. His law firm, Bova restaurants and Renato were featured in ads in the program for the fight.
The $700,000 did not directly benefit Rothstein's now-bankrupt law firm, said Miami attorney John Genovese, who represents the trustee overseeing the firm, and that is why it is subject to a clawback suit.
"All those entities, not RRA, benefitted by that money," he said.
Alan Hopper, a representative for Don King Productions, declined to comment because it is ongoing litigation.
Rothstein, 49, is serving a 50-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to racketeering, money laundering and fraud, following the collapse of his investment scheme in fall 2009. Federal prosecutors have said in court documents that they expect to indict his top co-conspirators in the coming months.
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