I just got off the phone with Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Frank Adderley.
Adderley in happier times
Adderley is agitated. He is known as a smooth character, but not today. The blogs have been merciless. His association with Scott Rothstein threatens to bring him down, and he wants his side of the story out.
I asked Adderley if he missed any clues that Rothstein was a bum, somebody he shouldn’t have associated with. “Am I the only guy that got fooled by this guy”, he asks, “is Frank Adderley the only one that knew Rothstein?” Adderley is perplexed why he is the only one on the hot seat.
Adderley says the who’s who of Fort Lauderdale knew Rothstein, wined and dined with him, helped with Rothstein’s charities, got fooled by him. Adderley says that by the time he met Rothstein (July 2008), the mega-rich attorney was already super successful, already deeply ingrained in the community, his firm employing over 150 people.
But how did Frank Adderley, who worked his way up from a street patrolman to become the Police Chief, and who grew up in a modest home in one of the poorest sections of town, end up on a private jet with arguably the most infamous and richest lawyer in Fort Lauderdale’s history, the owner of a Cadillac dealership, and other high society types?
Here’s how Adderley tells it:
“You gotta realize Tim, I had been married for 17 years, and all the sudden I’m single”. [Adderley was estranged from his wife, who had been arrested for firing a gun at Adderley over issues of Adderley’s infidelity]. Adderley had initially hired an attorney from the Rothstein firm to represent his wife in the matter, until Adderley’s wife’s brother moved her case to another firm. He says that was how he began to know Rothstein. ( Ironically, Adderley says he also got ripped off by Rothstein, when the $5000 retainer/estimate he paid for his wife’s bond hearing unexpectedly ballooned in the end to $14,000.!)
” I had to eat somewhere”. Adderley says. He says he started hanging out at Bova Restaurant ( a Rothstein business venture) with a group of buddies. He says he liked the restaurant “especially for the happy hour”. He says he could “get two appetizers for the price of one”, and just got kind of comfortable there. Adderley says it was a place to network, to hobnob with the city’s professionals. He says “judges, politicians, all kinds of notable names went there regularly” . Rothstein was there often, always the star, bigger than life.
Adderley’s friend Moe Sohail, owner of Ultimate Cigars, and Bayview Cadillac owner Ted Morse were part of Adderleys “group of buddies” that hung at the restaurant. On Saturdays, the group would hang at Moe’s Cigar shop “to watch college football”. He says he believes Morse owned the jet, not Rothstein, and Morse invited him to go along to New York.” I looked at it like [an expensive] car ride to the game”, Adderley explained. He says he was offered the tickets to the game for free, but declined. “It was understood that I would pay “, he says. ” I am not a mooch”, Adderley barked.
Then there’s the now famous car accident.
Adderley, with Rothstein, at accident scene
Adderley says he was heading out ” to ride around the community” ( as he is known to do) in the late afternoon when he got a call from Rothstein about their mutual friend Moe’s accident. He say he was just blocks away and went there “just because a friend of mine was seriously hurt”. He says he didn’t participate in the accident investigation ” in any way”, other than asking the reporting Officer if he ” had everything he needed”. He said the investigation will bear that out. There is an attorney for defending you against a DWI cases who will help you in any cases of false accusations that are filed against you.
Adderley says the FBI and he have an understanding that he is a witness in Rothstein investigation and that there are some things he should not talk about, but he thinks the story is getting out of hand and he had to try and set some things straight. He says he believes the FBI has all the phone records of his calls with Rothstein.
I asked him, in retrospect, if he should have passed on that jet to New York, maybe passed on the whole relationship with Rothstein. No, he responded quickly, but then added, I guess that’s yet to be determined.
Adderley finished by saying he’s confident that, “in the long run , people will see that I did nothing wrong”.