The Rothstein Literature
Scott Rothstein has compiled a body of literature that would make John O’Hara envious. O’Hara published about 400 stories, as well as a number of novels. Even he was not sure of the total. Judging by the number of references to Rothstein’s literary style on the popular blogs, many people have preserved written souvenirs of his brief but glorious rise to fame. They show an erratic nature, varying from effusively affectionate to hostile and threatening. Here’s one from Byron Calhoun, the likeable broker associate specializing in commercial property for Stiles.
The background: Calhoun had gotten friendly with Rabbi Schneur Kaplan when he was looking for a downtown location for his services. For several years the Chabad was held at the Riverside Hotel. However, the rabbi was told last year (2008) that pending construction of the hotel would not permit the Rosh Hashanah services in September. Asked to help with the matter, Calhoun asked Stiles’ Jeff Lis if he could get a construction delay for a week to permit the congregation’s use of hotel facilities. Rothstein, ever the opportunist when it came to schmoozing, was delighted to jump in when Lis reported success. However, the Riverside began pre-construction midstream in the holy week.
The e-mail exchange shows the Jekyll and Hyde sides of Rothstein. Gracious and pious at one point, and friendly to Calhoun after the disappointment, he suddenly turned threatening, not to Stiles organization, but rather to the hotel. Here’s the exchange. Grammatical errors and stylistic quirks are as written. The e-mails were sent within a few days of each other in late September-early October, 2008.
Rothstein to Calhoun
Sept. 29. 2008
Rabbi Kaplan just forwarded me your e-mail regarding the space at the Riverside.
I can not thank you enough for the beautiful thing you have done for our congregation. We are still a month or so away from completing our Shul on Broward Blvd. and if you had not stepped in we would have been without a place to worship on one of the holiest days of the year for the Jewish people.
We are forever in your debt.
You are a true gem and the Stiles Corporation should be proud to have you on their team. (Tell Terry and Doug I said so ….and tell them I said you deserve a raise….)
Wishing you all the best of everything always,
Calhoun to Rothstein
Sept. 30, 2008
Scott…thanks. I consider it a great privilege being asked to help. Jeff Lis, our Senior Vice President, who is heading up the effort to redevelop the Riverside Hotel is the real agent of action here. Without hesitation, Jeff took immediate remedial steps as soon as I informed him of your congregation’s plight. By the way, he wants you to know that he is part of the “Gator Nation” and that his son is attending “law School” at the U of Fl at this very time.
May you and your family and friends have a Blessed Holy Season.
Rothstein to Calhoun
Oct. 3, 2008
Thanks again for your kindness. And please extend my sincere thanks and gratitude to Jeff Lis.
Unfortunately, the Riverside took it upon themselves to dismantle the electrical running to the room as soon as our services were over so we are no longer able to have services there next week despite your hard work and amazing efforts on our behalf.
I just wanted to let you know that despite the Riversides actions which were clearly motivated by something other than wanting to move the project forward (when the time is right I will deal with them…they really have no idea who they have angered), we remain in debt to you and Jeff for your sincerity, and kindness.
If there is ever anything I can do to help you or Jeff at any time please feel free to call on me.
Wishing you all the best,
Tell jeff I said….GO GATORS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Side Car: The rabbi’s story had a happy ending, we hope. The shul on Broward Boulevard opened, aided by a generous gift from Rothstein. It even put his name on the building. That was before the great fall. Now the name is gone.