Gibraltar Private Bank & Trust attorney Eugene Stearns offered spirited support for an injunction to stop Razorback Funding from going forward with its trial next week against the bank.
Razorback accuses Gibraltar of fraud for allegedly aiding Ponzi schemer and disbarred Fort Lauderdale lawyer Scott Rothstein.
Stearns said Razorback's attorney would have people believe there are millions of dollars in spare capital and assets that could be obtained beyond the $20 million settlement with the bankruptcy trustee for Rothstein's defunct law firm.
Stearns noted at a bankruptcy court hearing that banks are required to maintain high levels of capital or risk being shut down by federal regulators, which would leave Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler's creditors with nothing.
Ray wryly observed: "It's the Jewish grandmother defense. You do what I want, or I'll kill myself."
Organizers of The Florida Bar's International Litigation and Arbitration Conference scrambled to find another guest after one of their key speakers was detained overnight at Miami International Airport and sent home to Costa Rica.
Jose Antonio Reyes, a lawyer from Costa Rica, was scheduled to speak on "Hot Topics in International Arbitration" at the Miami conference attended by 116 lawyers from the United States and Latin America.
But panel moderator Carlos Concepcion of Coral Gables-based Martinez & Bellido discovered shortly before the session that Reyes had been detained at the airport by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and sent away again because someone sharing his name is on a no-fly list. It's a common enough name also shared by a professional Spanish soccer player.
No last-minute speaker could be found, so the session proceeded with Luis O'Naghten of Akerman Senterfitt's Miami office and Jeremy Harwood of Blank Rome in New York.
Another speaker, Owen Pell of White & Case's New York office, also was detained at an airport — but not because of immigration problems. His Miami-bound plane made an unscheduled stop at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport because it was behind Air Force One. Miami International Airport was briefly closed Thursday when President Barack Obama landed for the first of a two-city visit to Florida.
After a brief touchdown in Fort Lauderdale, Pell's plane resumed its flight to Miami.
"That was probably the only direct flight between Fort Lauderdale and Miami airports ever," Pell cracked.
Three Miami-Dade County Court judges — Andrew S. Hague, Cristina Miranda and Rodney Smith — are among attorneys who have applied to replace the late Circuit Judge Julio Jimenez.
The other applicants are Paul Aiello, Steven P. Befera, Manuel L. Casabielle, Judson L. Cohen, Michelle Ashby Delancy, Ariana Fajardo, Alan S. Fine, Victor J. Hayes, Lisa Lehner, Christine Lopez-Acevedo, Louis V. Martinez, Jonathan Parker, Bonnie Riley, Vivian Rosado, Alan D. Sackrin and Veronica A. Xiques.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio says there is some disagreement about how U.S. District Judge Adalberto Jordan pronounces his last name.
Running through the variations before a vote Monday night, the Florida Republican offered jor-dahn', jor'duhn and hor'-dahn as options. No matter which you prefer, Rubio called on fellow senators to cut off a filibuster and confirm the Miami judge's nomination to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The cloture vote was approved 89-5 to cut off debate, and Jordan's confirmation hearing is now set for Wednesday.
He may be out of public office, but Ron Klein is not getting a break from fundraising.
Klein, a Democrat who joined Holland & Knight as a partner after being ousted from his congressional seat by Republican Allen West, has become one of President Obama's top bundlers, raising between $200,000 and $500,000.
He has also raised a total of $25,000 for U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.; U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.; U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colorado; and U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa.
"I thought I was done with fundraising, but that's not the case," Klein said with a laugh. "I'm enjoying it. We had an event for Vice President (Joe) Biden and a couple other events."
Klein, who splits his time between H&K's Fort Lauderdale and Washington offices, also is calling on his foreign affairs experience gleaned as a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the subcommittee on the Middle East and Asia. He recently traveled to Tel Aviv as part of a six-lawyer contingent from Holland & Knight looking to reactivate its dormant Israeli office. The group crammed 61 meetings into a 10-day trip, meeting with a variety of science, health care and university executives.
"They asked me to rebuild that office," Klein said. "It's personally interesting to me. We will be going back and forth for a while."
Holland & Knight currently has international offices in China, Mexico and Abu Dhabi.
Klein also recently picked up a new client, Spirit Airlines, the international and domestic discount carrier based in Miramar. He said he is not a lobbyist for the airline but represents them as a lawyer — an important distinction because Obama vowed he would not accept campaign contributions from lobbyists.
When asked whether he plans another run for political office, Klein was noncommittal.
"I've been in public office for 18 years and enjoyed the privilege of doing so but I'm enjoying the work I'm doing now," he said.
The 3rd District Court of Appeal doesn't seem interested in hearing anything more from disbarred attorney Jerrold Wingate on his attempt to get money out of cruise injury cases that he was forced to farm out.
Wingate lost control of the cases for allegedly paying off a Royal Caribbean employee to let him know the potential settlement value of 77 cases.
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Herbert Stettin found Wingate violated his order by secretly trying to grab a share of the money after he was barred from getting any.
In his latest appeal decided Wednesday, Wingate asked for review of an order denying reimbursement of his costs.
"Mr. Wingate was evidently unfazed by the order of criminal contempt, undaunted by the unsuccessful appeal of that order and undeterred by the disciplinary proceedings and his ultimate disbarment. Four days after this court issued the mandate in the first appeal, and in what appears to be a textbook example of legal chutzpah, Wingate filed a motion with the trial court for disbursement of costs, asserting Wingate was entitled to costs incurred in cases which had not yet been settled at the time of the contempt hearing," Judge Kevin Emas wrote for a unanimous panel.
The court agreed with Stettin that Wingate shouldn't get anything.
Contractors and consumers have joined as a class to sue a Sebring-based septic tank manufacturer, claiming the company has been selling a defective product.
Alpha General Services spoiled its relationship with its distributor and installation network — notably Southland Septic in West Palm Beach and Environmental Control Systems in Loxahatchee — after they recognized a pattern of defective tanks and tried to get the manufacturer to do something.
After failed mediation attempts with consumers, the contractors offered replacement tanks but with the same design flaws.
Leopold Law of Palm Beach Gardens filed a lawsuit Friday in Palm Beach Circuit Court, claiming the alleged defect is costing consumers economic losses and posing a health hazard.
The lawsuit claims the tanks crack in the same location, and the tank thickness does not meet Florida Department of Health requirements.
"The manufacturer has knowingly designed and marketed a product that is detrimental to the health and safety of families throughout the state," Leopold said. "Alpha is trying to shirk responsibility for their poor product by shifting blame to the contractors who got saddled with a defective tank."
Alpha General president Richard LaPadula had no comment by deadline.
It took a year, but developer Mark Siffin has finally paid a prominent Miami real estate broker money tied to his failed bid to acquire land next to the Miami Herald headquarters.
Siffin paid $905,771 to an affiliate of broker Edie Laquer on the eve of a Jan. 26 final hearing to enforce a summary judgment against him, according to attorney Todd Levine. He represented Laquer Corporate Realty Group, which sued Siffin in February 2011.
The money included interest and Laquer Corporate's legal fees.
Lacquer Corporate loaned Siffin $700,000 in early February 2010 to help Siffin pay a non-refundable $6 million deposit to extend the land deal another year.
The loan gave Siffin "additional funds to use towards the deposit so he could get an extension on closing on the Herald property," said Levine, a founding member of Kluger Kaplan Silverman Katzen & Levine.
Siffin was seeking to buy the land from Citisquare Group, which had a $190 million contract to acquire a 10-acre site from Herald owner McClatchy. Siffin and Citisquare were unable to get financing to close the deal by Feb. 1, 2011. In May 2011, McClatchy announced it was selling the land and the Herald building for $263 million to Malaysia-based Genting Group. Genting, a casino operator, is proposing to build 10 million square feet of hotel, convention, entertainment and retail space.
After McClatchy terminated the Citisquare contract, Laquer Corporate sued Siffin and affiliate Maefield Holdings for its loan. Laquer Corporate obtained the summary judgment on Dec. 27.
Although Carlos Boozer’s son openly rooted for the Miami Heat against the professional basketball star’s Chicago Bulls last Sunday, his love for Miami has not diminished one bit.
Boozer, who has bought and sold multiple residential properties in Miami-Dade County over the course of his 10-year National Basketball Association career, plunked down $1.8 million for a vacant 1.06-acre residential parcel in Pinecrest, according to Miami-Dade County records. The power forward’s purchase closed Jan. 26, three days before the Bulls lost a heartbreaker to the Heat on national television.
The sellers of the 7450 SW 100th St. property were Richard and Lisette Suarez. Boozer obtained a $1.35 million loan from U.S. Bank, presumably to be used to build a home on the property.
During the fourth quarter of the Heat’s triumph over the Bulls, ESPN cameras caught Boozer’s young son, Carmani, joining the American Airlines Arena crowd in a “Let’s Go Heat” chant. Television announcers immediately poked fun at the situation, and video of Carmani seemingly rooting against his father quickly spread virally over the Internet.
But Carmani might have a legitimate reason to support the Heat over his father’s employer. According to the Huffington Post, he was born with sickle-cell anemia and received life-saving treatment at Miami Children’s Hospital. Carmani’s story was featured several years ago on ESPN.
Soon, Carmani and the rest of the Boozer clan could enjoy rooting for the local hoops team from the comfort of their Pinecrest home.