Earlier I wrote about the Scott Rothstein Ponzi scheme
in Florida but now another news story indicates that the fallout extends beyond just Rothstein's own properties. Casa Casuarina,
Gianni Versace's South Beach mansion, is also caught in the crossfire. Rothstein, who is part owner of the property, has been accused of swindling investors in a Ponzi scheme which took in hundreds of millions of dollars.
Just a few weeks ago executive chef Wolfgang Birk moved from Washington D.C. to South Beach to take over the new Italian restaurant at Casa Casuarina but on Monday he was escorted out of the building by police along with the mansion's other employees. The restaurant was supposed to open this week. The employees are out of work and their payrolls will be hung up in court while Rothstein's complicated legal tangles are sorted out. Rothstein's Bova Group had taken over management of the entire property, including the hotel, restaurant, nightclub, and the private membership club. After Rothstein's illegal dealings were discovered Peter Loftin, Casa Casuarina's majority owner, asked that anything associated with Bova Group be taken out of the property in order to protect his property from anyone coming after Rothstein. An article on the Daily Pulp
says that Loftin is looking into bringing in a new management company in order to reopen the property.
Rothstein had $1 million wedding at the property last year with Florida governor Charlie Crist in attendance. He has bought a small stake in the mansion and has left behind hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid bills relating to renovations for the restaurant and other areas.
Tony Bova, Rothstein's partner in the restaurant business also managed Bova Prime in Fort Lauderdale and was not part of the Ponzi schemer's machinations. The future of that restaurant is also uncertain and it could end up closing.