Former Rothstein Partner Suspended from Practicing Law

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Russell Adler, a former law partner of Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein was suspended from practicing law for 91 days by the Florida Supreme Court. He was held guilty of lying to a New York City co-op board during the purchase of an apartment in 2009.

In the matter of the purchase of the apartment, Adler received loans from his firm to cover the entire consideration of $475,000, but only disclosed 90 percent of the loan to the board approving the sale. The board had a policy against approving purchases that were 100 percent financed.

Adler also misrepresented his ownership stake in the Rothstein Rosenfeldt and Adler law firm and told a real estate broker and the co-op board that he had 20 percent stake in the firm that crumbled in 2009 after Rothstein's $1.4 billion Ponzi scheme was discovered.

Court documents show that Adler asked Rothstein to have the law firm's chief financial officer communicate to the co-op board that Adler was a shareholder.

In reality, Adler never received any equity, because his share was dependent upon performance and the firm collapsed before he could have an opportunity to prove and receive his due.

The case gains interest in that the Florida Supreme Court imposed a punishment which is thrice that sought by the referee, who sought only a 30-day suspension.

In justifying their order for greater punishment, the court observed, "In light of [Adler's] misconduct in seeking, from his law firm, a letter with false information about his position and financial status, and given his deliberate false statements to the cooperative apartment board, we find that a 91-day suspension is appropriate."

While Rothstein is currently serving a 50-year sentence, Adler had settled a civil suit in 2011 by agreeing to pay a sum of $350,000. However, it is not known whether the Department of Justice is going to bring criminal charges against him in the matter of his association with Rothstein's firm and activities.

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