The Rothstein “Home Collection” is going up for auction in a matter of days. The home collection features everything from designer shoes and handbags to Savile Row men’s suits and enough furnishings and decor to fill four mega-mansions.
Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein was a notorious spender. He poured millions of dollars into his personal acquisitions, sometimes guided by questionable taste. Now South Floridians can judge for themselves how wisely the now-imprisoned fraudster spent his mountain of dirty money — and how fashionable he truly was.
The first auction preview open to the public is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in a warehouse at the Gallery Center in Boca Raton, 608 Banyan Trail, just off Military Trail north of Glades Road. The warehouse is doing its best impersonation of a mini-department store, stocked from wall to wall, with barely room to wiggle around and scads of Rothstein’s stuff crammed into its 9,000 square feet.
Rothstein’s yachts, exotic cars, and watch and jewelry collections have already been sold off, but there is lots of buzz surrounding the coming auction, on Oct. 15.
“We really don’t know what people will pay for it, but we know there is a tremendous selection of goods to pick through,” said Chuck Lichtman, one the bankruptcy attorneys marshaling assets for Rothstein’s bilked investors. “Of all the auctions that have occurred so far, this is the one the public will probably want to attend.”
Rothstein’s investors lost $363 million, but Rothstein and his wife, Kim, spared no expense when it came to pampering themselves on their money — they could burn through tens of thousands of dollars on each shopping spree.
“They spent a tremendous amount of money on themselves, and this is pretty much everything they owned,” Lichtman said. “We are anticipating a really large crowd because it is really quality clothing, furnishings and goods.”
Up for auction are the contents of four of Rothstein’s homes — his Harbor Beach waterfront home in Fort Lauderdale, his Manhattan condo and side-by-side houses on Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island — that were seized by the federal government.
There is an impressive wine collection featuring a 1967 Chateau Lafite and several vintage bottles of Bertani Amarone, hundreds of Rothstein’s suits and shirts, a huge box of colorful silk ties, and a good number of his wife’s high-end, size-5 shoes — Manohla Blanik, Jimmy Choo and Chanel. And Louis Vuitton handbags, Gucci accessories and evening dresses by Zola Keller. Some items still carry their price tags and evidently were never worn or used.
“He just bought and bought and bought,” said B.J. Fisher, of the Fisher Auction Co. in Pompano Beach, which is handling the sale. “I’ve never seen anything like this. I grew up in this business. Mind-boggling.”
It took five trucks — two of them 55-footers, plus three 44-footers — to transport the goods to the warehouse. More than 700 separate lots will go under the gavel. There are 18 flat-screen television sets, three of them 70-inchers. There are enough kitchen goods to supply the Food Network. A working Joe couldn’t begin to fit any of the pieces of oversize furniture, much of it gilded, into his living room.
There are Versace dishes, a baby grand piano, Swedish glassware by Kosta Boda, Baccarat crystal, artwork — including a reclining nude by Italian modernist Amedeo Modigliani — hand-carved cigar humidors, outdoor furniture, rugs, washers and dryers, gym equipment, lamps and electronics, and a stuffed lion.
Benny Fisher, of Fisher Auction, said he anticipates the sale will generate several hundred thousand dollars.
“The reality of it is, as expensive as these goods were to the people who bought them, it’s like anything else in the retail secondary market. Whatever car you drive, as soon as you drive it off the showroom floor it loses value,” he said. “The mystique of this lies in the notoriety of the previous owners.”
Rothstein, a disbarred attorney, is serving a 50-year prison sentence, and federal prosecutors have said they expect to indict the top co-conspirators in his $1.4 billion investment fraud by the end of this year.
Those eager to own a piece of Rothstein history will have a second chance to preview the items from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 8 at the Gallery Center. A preliminary online auction will be held Oct. 6-13 for about 350 of the lots.
The live auction will begin at 10 a.m. Oct. 15 at the Embassy Suites, 661 NW 53rd St., Boca Raton. Online bids also will be accepted then.
Source: The Palm Beach Post