I was stranded in the “Hole,” slang for solitary confinement, in a dingy federal prison in Jesup, Ga., with literally nothing to do but ponder the past. I had nothing to read, nothing to do, nothing to look forward to until the next bowl of gruel was tossed into the cell through a flap in the door. Nothing to even watch since the tiny three-inch window slit was old and yellow and glazed. Total emptiness. It was driving me crazy. For a life-long claustrophobe, being thrust into a seventy two square-foot space that contained only a bed, toilet and sink constituted the worst case scenario. My worst nightmare had materialized, and there was no getting away from it. No relief. I knew why I was in prison, but I didn’t know why I was in the Hole.
As I sat there gazing in amazement at nothing, I realized that I had plenty of time to contemplate what in the world had just happened to my life. My great life—the one that had disappeared in what seemed like an instant—was gone! I’d just spent a year and a half listening to all the truths, half-truths, tall stories, outright fabrications and spurious drivel regarding who did what to whom during the heyday of Scott Rothstein’s now-famous billion-dollar Ponzi scheme. Unfortunately for me, since I was a client, business partner and friend of Scott’s for over two decades, I was trash by association. Guilty. Even though I was used only as a bit player in a tiny fraction of the scandal, the internet mavens and media pundits raced to vilify me without having any idea of what actually happened… or how.
As I paced the cell, uttering and muttering my recalcitrant mantra, the words rang back at me, echoing languidly off the concrete walls of the empty prison cell, “I should have stayed in Morocco”. Up until that moment, the phrase had been nothing more than a saying, a slogan, an empty pipedream… a nonsensical vision of a distant, impossible alternative. But suddenly it became reality—since I felt in my heart for the first time that it was actually true! The idea for my book was then duly conceived.
I set my mind to the task of revealing not only the truth, but providing an insight into what the Rothstein scandal looked like from the inner perspective of a close friend. Scott wasn’t always a scheming, eccentric, manipulative, misguided, insatiable billionaire that got his family, best friends (including me!), partners, employees and confidants thrown into prison. He was once young and enterprising, an ambitious and talented attorney with a great sense of humor and a lot of heart. He was my friend.
Sure, outsiders knew a few facts and figures about what had transpired, but that was about all. Having read almost everything ever written on Rothstein, from time to time I had entertained fleeting thoughts about someday setting the record straight. Or not. But why not? Now would be a good time to give a real, human account of what happened… wouldn’t it? I could share some actual facts portraying how it all went down. Who else could know? I was pretty sure there were no reporters following us around in Morocco.
I wouldn’t write another forensic account of Rothstein’s life, another trite replication of the volumes of venomous snippets posted on the net about his transgressions and ill character. I would tell the story of how Scott’s life intertwined with mine over several decades—before the ‘explosion’ in Morocco. A detail of the events and conditions precedent to that day of reckoning.
By virtue of finding myself living in the bowels of a federal prison, it occurred to me that people also needed to be aware of the catastrophic failure of the prison system in America, and of the disastrous, far-reaching ramifications of the dirty ‘business’ of incarceration. How this could happen in this fantastic, free country of ours was beyond comprehension to me! People didn’t know the truth. Better yet, I would do something about it. But first, I had to get out of the Hole!
Title: I Should Have Stayed in Morocco
Author: Stephen Caputi
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
Read the First Chapter
About the Book:
Stephen Caputi’s memoir, I Should Have Stayed in Morocco, is not just another forensic account of billionaire Ponzi-schemer Scott Rothstein’s life. Caputi opens his heart and soul as he takes the reader on a journey through two decades rife with personal experiences, misadventures and wild escapades with Rothstein, climaxing with their now-infamous ramble in Casablanca. It’s a frighteningly true story of how friendship and loyalty was dedicatedly served to a master-manipulator, just to be rewarded with deceitful betrayal and a prison sentence.
About the Author:
Steve is best known for his involvement in the creation, building and management of successful nightclub and hospitality businesses. Decades of experience in the industry and the good fortune to work with a succession of the best performers in the world gave him a broad base of skills… skills that were instrumental in his entrepreneurial quest and subsequent sparkling career.
As an Ivy-league student-athlete, he graduated from the renowned Cornell University School of Hotel Administration in 1979. Rostered as the ‘smallest player in NCAA Division 1 football’, he lettered under George Seifert, world-champion coach of the San Francisco 49’ers and played centerfielder on Cornell’s EIBL championship team of 1977, led by hall of fame coach Ted Thoren. Steve set several all-time team and NCAA records, one of which still stands 37 years later.
His career experience was equally as fortunate as he was trained by the best club management experts in the business while managing the Texas billionaires’ favorite watering hole – the ultra-private, magnificent Houston Club. In the early 1990’s, Steve was President of Michael J. Peter’s gentlemen’s club empire, featuring the world-famous Solid Gold, Thee Doll House, and Pure Platinum. It was during that era that adult clubs became legitimized. After redesigning and opening Club Paradise in Las Vegas, Steve became a partner in South Florida’s most successful long-term nightclub chain ever, Café Iguana. Over the decades, businesses under his direct control amassed nearly a billion dollars in revenue.
Steve was blessed with everything a man could want until he got tangled up in Scott Rothstein’s Ponzi scheme in 2009, at which time everything was lost… including his freedom. So began his most recent quest upon his release from the Federal Bureau of Prisons… to find out what happened, how it happened, and why!