Crist Denies Close Ties, But Accused Fraudster Was A Friend Who Even Sponsored Crist’s Birthday Cake

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist’s assertion that accused fraudster attorney Scott Rothstein was nothing more than another campaign supporter is starting to look even thinner.

A Florida source familiar with the situation tells TPMmuckraker that Rothstein often bragged about his closeness to Crist, now a candidate for US Senate. The source says Rothstein once remarked: “It’s one thing when you’ve got the governor on speed dial. It’s another thing when the governor has you on speed dial.”

“They were friends,” the source tells us. “To say anything else is ridiculous.”Crist said Wednesday: “Well, he had supported me like he did to many others. … And that’s about the extent of it.”

Rothstein is accused of bilking investors of as much as hundreds of millions of dollars in a scheme run out of his Fort Lauderdale firm, Rothstein, Rosenfeldt and Adler.

As pointed out by the Palm Beach Post, Rothstein’s law firm bio noted not only that he chaired multiple fundraisers for Crist, but also that: “He remains a close friend and advisor to the Governor, currently serving on the Governor’s Chairman’s Counsel, a group of 25 highly respected business people in Florida handpicked by the Governor and the Chair of the Republican Party of Florida.”

And as we told you yesterday, multiple news articles and sources describe the two as close friends, with Crist hitting up Rothstein for frequent donations to the state GOP and Republican candidates.

Rothstein even gave $50,000 to sponsor Crist’s birthday cake in 2008, at a GOP fundraiser-cum-birthday party at The Breakers hotel in Palm Beach, the Miami Herald reports. A Republican insider tells TPMmuckraker that in return, the logo of Rothstein’s law firm was painted in the frosting of the cake.

It turns out Rothstein also has a picture in his office of he, Crist, and Crist’s wife blowing out the candles on a cake at one of the governor’s birthday parties. Might it be the $50,000 cake? The Broward-Palm Beach New Times reports on a media tour of Rothstein’s office today:

Photographs and commendations are everywhere, but one person takes center stage: Charlie Crist. The governor and U.S. Senate candidate’s photos are everywhere, including a photo taken at one of the governor’s birthday parties where Charlie; his wife, Carol Rome; and Scott Rothstein blow out his candles together.

The Palm Beach Post has posted the audio of Crist’s exchange with reporters about Rothstein here. The Crist campaign and the press secretary of the governor’s office did not immediately respond to our requests for comment.

Late Update: And now the Palm Beach Post has the goods on yet another link between Rothstein and Crist:

Fort Lauderdale attorney Scott Rothstein opened up a Tallahassee office shortly after Republican Charlie Crist won the governor’s office. But there’s no one at the office these days and it appears there hasn’t been for a while — a FedEx note from Sept. 29 is hanging on the door knob.

Meanwhile, the firm’s Capital City operation provides another link between Crist and Rothstein, and could further call into question Crist’s claim that the two had little relationship beyond Rothstein’s support of Crist’s campaigns.

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