Crime, Money, Scott Rothstein, White-Collar Crime

This Was Pretty Much the Most Unhelpful Recommendation Letter Imaginable

Most of us know it’s not about what you know, it’s who you know. Incidentally, sometimes it’s also about who your enemies are.

When a big man takes a fall, sometimes folks come out of the woodwork to quicken his race to bottom — especially if they are accidentally invited.

Example A: convicted felon and disbarred attorney Steven Lippman. The former Scott Rothstein partner asked for support letters from friends and colleagues during sentencing, but one lawyer deigned to provide an ice-cold glass of brutal honesty instead. And judging from the sentence Lippman received this afternoon, he’ll have plenty of time for self-reflection.

Keep your friends close, and the people who write your letters of recommendation even closer….

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel has some more back story:

When disbarred lawyer and convicted felon Steven Lippman asked a bunch of people to write letters of support to the judge who will decide his fate, he surely didn’t anticipate the blunt response one attorney sent to the judge….

Lippman, 50, of Plantation, faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced Friday in federal court in Fort Lauderdale. A former law partner of Scott Rothstein, he pleaded guilty to conspiring to help the Ponzi schemer break federal election laws and commit bank fraud.

In fairness, the paper reports that dozens of other kinder, more sycophantic gentler people did write more positive letters about Lippman. But today U.S. District Judge James I. Cohn said he wasn’t swayed by the nice letters. Judge Cohn sentenced Lippman to three years in prison and fined him $15,000.

And anyway, nice letters don’t make headlines. Let’s hear what Harris K. Solomon of Brinkley Morgan had to say:

Mr. Lippman wrote to me and asked that I send a letter to you saying positive things that I know about him. I do not know of anything positive to say to this court about Mr. Lippman. In the years I have known him, he has always been an arrogant lawyer.

Ouch, that smarts. Check out the full letter of un-recommendation on the next page. Solomon is either awesomely honest or perhaps dealing with some unresolved anger, à la Walker Percy’s Moviegoer (affiliate link): “I find myself first in a rage during which I develop strong opinion on a variety of subjects and write letters to editors, then in a depression during which I lie rigid as a stick for hours staring straight up at the plaster medallion in the ceiling of my bedroom.”

Judging by Lippman’s criminal record, it’s probably just honesty. Lippman better strap in — looks like it may be a long way down.

Keep reading to see Solomon’s whole letter….

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