Judge Larry Puts on the Ritz
Boy, was former Broward Circuit Judge Larry Seidlin living high off the widow.
A civil suit filed by Bill Scherer alleges that Seidlin -- who gained notoriety as the judge in the Anna Nicole Smith hearings and reportedly has a TV show in the works -- basically ran a con game on an 84-year-old neighbor in his Fort Lauderdale condo building. The suit claims Seidlin and his wife and in-laws extracted hundreds of thousands of dollars from Barbara Kasler.
The evidence is clear that Seidlin, who allegedly called himself Kasler's son and would sometimes lie in bed with her, lived lavishly at Kasler's expense, paying off vacations, electronics, jewelry, and other items on the widow's credit card.
But new evidence filed in court indicates that Seidlin also may have managed to rip off the state court administration system. Let's start with a copy of Kasler's credit card bill from June 2006:
As you can see, in the space of a couple of weeks, Seidlin charged up a Walt Disney World vacation and an expensive stay at the Ritz-Carlton in Naples. He even spent $150 for swim lessons at the Jack Nelson Swim School in Fort Lauderdale. It's suspected those were for Seidlin's daughter Dax, whose education at the expensive private Pine Crest School was also subsidized by Kasler.
But it's Seidin's stay at the Ritz that is of chief concern here. He stayed three nights -- June 11, 12, and 13. That happens to coincide with the 2006 Florida Conference of Circuit Judges, which Seidlin also allegedly attended.
Inside, see evidence that Seidlin double-dipped at the conference on the taxpayers' dime.
Although it's clear from the credit card charges that Seidlin charged Kasler for the stay at the Ritz and for gas during the conference, that didn't stop him from hitting up the state for reimbursement. Here's a copy of the travel voucher reimbursement Seidlin submitted to the state after the conference.
The voucher shows that Seidlin was reimbursed a total of $330 for the stay at the Ritz. He submitted the Ritz bill, which showed that his room was $289 a night less taxes, but the state's per-diem limit was $110 a night. The bill also shows he charged $61.48 in mileage.
So it looks like Seidlin charged the hotel to Kasler and then turned around and got reimbursed in his own pocket from the state. Nice work.
Now he will likely have an explanation for this -- perhaps that he reimbursed Kasler cash for the trip after he was paid by the state. I'm waiting on a call from Seidlin's attorney, Russ Adler, whom I left a voice-mail with this morning.
Without absolute proof, I won't buy it, though. Seidlin's an old-fashioned viper, and based on his known actions from information gleaned during the lawsuit, I think he squeezed Kasler -- and the state -- for every penny he could get.
Would it be a crime? I suppose a case could be made for theft, but has the two-year statute of limitations run out since he left office in 2008? Or would this even fall under that particular statute?
I'm still trying to answer those questions and will update.