FloridaTrend.com, the Website for Florida Business


Dubious Achievers - Florida Newsmakers of the Year

• SCOTT ROTHSTEIN
Attorney, Fort Lauderdale

Scott Rothstein
[Photo: Miami Herald]
$1.2-Billion Fraud

Scott Rothstein's $1.2-billion fraud actually disintegrated in late 2009, when he briefly fled to Morocco before returning to face the music. In 2010, he got a 50-year sentence, now being served in protective custody in parts unknown. The 48-year-old got gaudily rich thanks to a fraud involving phony settlements. And what class: "I don't want the feds to f------ have it. It's not their money. They didn't steal it. I did it," he said, according to the Sun-Sentinel's transcript of a conversation Rothstein had while working as a fed informer. The guy he was trying to sting, Roberto Settineri, a Miami Beach wine seller with alleged ties to a Sicilian crime family, in fact got stung and wound up sentenced to four years. The fallout continues from the implosion of Rothstein's 70-lawyer firm, Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler, as defrauded investors and authorities go after whomever they can.


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Business
Mark Wilson
Wilbur Ross Jr.
Lola Gonzalez
John Textor
Robert Clements
Thomas Gaffney
Hugh Green
R.J. Scaringe
Foreclosure Fighters
Julian MacQueen

Politics
Mel Martinez & The Dominoes

Military
Florida's Fallen Soldiers

Education
Frank Brogan
Maryellen Elia

Science/Innovation
Win Phillips & David Day
Ian MacDonald & William Hogarth

Environment
Extreme Temperatures

CRITTERS
Mystery Monkey

Sports
Tampa Bay Rays' Top Brass
Pat Riley

Volunteer/Non-Profit
Barth Green

Arts/Entertainment
New World Symphony
Pitbull
Pamela Tuscany

Dubious Achievers
Scott Rothstein
David Brooks

Jim Greer
Wayne McLeod
Lewis Freeman
Pawl Hawks
Lee Farkas

• DAVID BROOKS
Founder, Point Blank Solutions
Pompano Beach

David Brooks
[Photo: Howard Schnapp]
Raiding the Company

David H. Brooks, 55, who led what's now Point Blank Solutions, was convicted in 2010 of looting his company to pay for luxury cars, racehorses, family trips, his wife's plastic surgery and hookers for employees. (If the prostitutes made workers more productive, it was argued, they were a legitimate expense.) The formal charges included insider trading and fraud. Brooks and his chief operating officer, Sandra Hatfield, 56, were convicted after an eight-month New York trial that was a spectacle with allegations of shenanigans in the jury room and the anxiety-suffering Brooks being smuggled pills in a pen in court. "The trial of the century in the United States — hands down, don't even try to compare it with anything else," said The Atlantic.


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Business
Mark Wilson
Wilbur Ross Jr.
Lola Gonzalez
John Textor
Robert Clements
Thomas Gaffney
Hugh Green
R.J. Scaringe
Foreclosure Fighters
Julian MacQueen

Politics
Mel Martinez & The Dominoes

Military
Florida's Fallen Soldiers

Education
Frank Brogan
Maryellen Elia

Science/Innovation
Win Phillips & David Day
Ian MacDonald & William Hogarth

Environment
Extreme Temperatures

CRITTERS
Mystery Monkey

Sports
Tampa Bay Rays' Top Brass
Pat Riley

Volunteer/Non-Profit
Barth Green

Arts/Entertainment
New World Symphony
Pitbull
Pamela Tuscany

Dubious Achievers
Scott Rothstein
David Brooks

Jim Greer
Wayne McLeod
Lewis Freeman
Pawl Hawks
Lee Farkas

• JIM GREER
Former state GOP leader

Jim Greer
[Photo: AP]

Jim Greer, 48, Charlie Crist's choice to chair the Republican Party of Florida, lived well off the party in his three years in charge. It even picked up the tab for a trip to Vegas to see Wayne Newton. He wound up charged with money laundering, theft and fraud for allegedly channeling a cut of donations to his side company.


Business
Mark Wilson
Wilbur Ross Jr.
Lola Gonzalez
John Textor
Robert Clements
Thomas Gaffney
Hugh Green
R.J. Scaringe
Foreclosure Fighters
Julian MacQueen

Politics
Mel Martinez & The Dominoes

Military
Florida's Fallen Soldiers

Education
Frank Brogan
Maryellen Elia

Science/Innovation
Win Phillips & David Day
Ian MacDonald & William Hogarth

Environment
Extreme Temperatures

CRITTERS
Mystery Monkey

Sports
Tampa Bay Rays' Top Brass
Pat Riley

Volunteer/Non-Profit
Barth Green

Arts/Entertainment
New World Symphony
Pitbull
Pamela Tuscany

Dubious Achievers
Scott Rothstein
David Brooks

Jim Greer
Wayne McLeod
Lewis Freeman
Pawl Hawks
Lee Farkas

• WAYNE MCLEOD
Investment adviser, Jacksonville

Wayne McLeod
Wayne McLeod, 48, a father of five, killed himself in June as the Ponzi scheme he ran collapsed. McLeod gave government-sponsored seminars to federal employees, notably DEA, FBI and others in law enforcement, on how to maximize their work benefits. He donated to their charities. The seminars led to landing the law officers as clients for his special program that he touted as returning 8% to 10% per year. It was a decades-long scam involving 260 investors and $34 million in lost money.


?

Business
Mark Wilson
Wilbur Ross Jr.
Lola Gonzalez
John Textor
Robert Clements
Thomas Gaffney
Hugh Green
R.J. Scaringe
Foreclosure Fighters
Julian MacQueen

Politics
Mel Martinez & The Dominoes

Military
Florida's Fallen Soldiers

Education
Frank Brogan
Maryellen Elia

Science/Innovation
Win Phillips & David Day
Ian MacDonald & William Hogarth

Environment
Extreme Temperatures

CRITTERS
Mystery Monkey

Sports
Tampa Bay Rays' Top Brass
Pat Riley

Volunteer/Non-Profit
Barth Green

Arts/Entertainment
New World Symphony
Pitbull
Pamela Tuscany

Dubious Achievers
Scott Rothstein
David Brooks

Jim Greer
Wayne McLeod
Lewis Freeman
Pawl Hawks
Lee Farkas

• LEWIS FREEMAN
Attorney/forensic accountant
Miami

Lewis Freeman
Fitting the Pattern

A guy usually called in to fix such messes wound up creating one himself. Lewis B. Freeman, whom Florida Trend called "Cleanup Man" in a 2001 piece, specialized in fiduciary assignments and receiverships. "I'm either a physician or a mortician," he told us. He also had regular clients including coaches Jimmy Johnson and Butch Davis and employed for a time the former head of the SEC in Miami. In 2010, Freeman was charged with stealing $2.6 million from clients. He would have recognized the pattern: An upright guy — University of Miami donor, supporter of charitable causes — who finds his business short and "borrows" from accounts to make ends meet. Miami's elite wrote letters in the hundreds to beg the judge to have mercy. Freeman was sentenced to almost 8½ years.


Business
Mark Wilson
Wilbur Ross Jr.
Lola Gonzalez
John Textor
Robert Clements
Thomas Gaffney
Hugh Green
R.J. Scaringe
Foreclosure Fighters
Julian MacQueen

Politics
Mel Martinez & The Dominoes

Military
Florida's Fallen Soldiers

Education
Frank Brogan
Maryellen Elia

Science/Innovation
Win Phillips & David Day
Ian MacDonald & William Hogarth

Environment
Extreme Temperatures

CRITTERS
Mystery Monkey

Sports
Tampa Bay Rays' Top Brass
Pat Riley

Volunteer/Non-Profit
Barth Green

Arts/Entertainment
New World Symphony
Pitbull
Pamela Tuscany

Dubious Achievers
Scott Rothstein
David Brooks

Jim Greer
Wayne McLeod
Lewis Freeman
Pawl Hawks
Lee Farkas

• PAUL HAWKES
1st District Court of Appeal judge
North Florida

1st District Courthouse
Judge Paul Hawkes lobbied lawmakers for the $48.8-million courthouse, which includes kitchens for each judge and big-screen TVs. [Photo: Ray Stanyard]

Paul Hawkes
Lobbying for the ‘Taj'

Voters in November decided to retain Judge Paul Hawkes, a Jeb Bush appointee and at the time chief judge of the appellate district that includes much of north Florida. Voters kept alive the judiciary's unbroken string of retention victories despite revelations that the former GOP legislator was the driving lobbying force for his district's new, $48.8-million "Taj Mahal" courthouse, including big-screen TVs and individual kitchens for each judge. "I don't think it's extravagant," Hawkes told the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville. Hawkes has since stepped down as chief judge.


?

Business
Mark Wilson
Wilbur Ross Jr.
Lola Gonzalez
John Textor
Robert Clements
Thomas Gaffney
Hugh Green
R.J. Scaringe
Foreclosure Fighters
Julian MacQueen

Politics
Mel Martinez & The Dominoes

Military
Florida's Fallen Soldiers

Education
Frank Brogan
Maryellen Elia

Science/Innovation
Win Phillips & David Day
Ian MacDonald & William Hogarth

Environment
Extreme Temperatures

CRITTERS
Mystery Monkey

Sports
Tampa Bay Rays' Top Brass
Pat Riley

Volunteer/Non-Profit
Barth Green

Arts/Entertainment
New World Symphony
Pitbull
Pamela Tuscany

Dubious Achievers
Scott Rothstein
David Brooks

Jim Greer
Wayne McLeod
Lewis Freeman
Pawl Hawks
Lee Farkas

• LEE FARKAS
Taylor Bean & Whitaker, Ocala

Lee Farkas
[Photo: Bruce Ackerman/Ocean Star Banner]
Mortgage Mess

Lee Farkas took mortgage company Taylor Bean & Whitaker from small beans to one of the nation's largest mortgage players not owned by a bank. It closed in 2009 amid allegations of a $1.9-billion fraud that sank Alabama-based Colonial Bank, one of the 10 largest banks in Florida by market share and Taylor Bean's largest lender. Farkas, 57, in 2010 was arrested on bank and securities fraud charges for allegedly trying to hide losses from financial firms and the government.


?

Business
Mark Wilson
Wilbur Ross Jr.
Lola Gonzalez
John Textor
Robert Clements
Thomas Gaffney
Hugh Green
R.J. Scaringe
Foreclosure Fighters
Julian MacQueen

Politics
Mel Martinez & The Dominoes

Military
Florida's Fallen Soldiers

Education
Frank Brogan
Maryellen Elia

Science/Innovation
Win Phillips & David Day
Ian MacDonald & William Hogarth

Environment
Extreme Temperatures

CRITTERS
Mystery Monkey

Sports
Tampa Bay Rays' Top Brass
Pat Riley

Volunteer/Non-Profit
Barth Green

Arts/Entertainment
New World Symphony
Pitbull
Pamela Tuscany

Dubious Achievers
Scott Rothstein
David Brooks

Jim Greer
Wayne McLeod
Lewis Freeman
Pawl Hawks
Lee Farkas