Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Carmel on the Case: Seidlin Lawsuit
The exploitation lawsuit brought by an elderly woman against former judge Larry Seidlin and several others is making its way through the legal system. At a recent deposition, there was a stand off when Seidlin tried to get close to the woman suing him. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is on the case with exclusive video of the incident and the first ever interview with the widow.
WSVN -- Barbara Kasler is 84 years old. She has health issues and spends much of her time in bed at her Las Olas condominium.
Carmel Cafiero: "Is there one thing you'd want people to know?"
Barbara Kasler: "Well, look over your bills more carefully."
Carmel Cafiero: "To pay more attention to how your money is being spent?"
Barbara Kasler: "Yes."
The wealthy widow is at the heart of a civil lawsuit that alleges she was exploited by former Broward judge Larry Seidlin, his wife and her parents. Earlier, a criminal investigation cleared Seidlin in connection with more than half a million dollars in gifts and property, Barbara Kasler gave to his family.
Bill Scherer: "We've asked the judge to set, as I told you, give us a quick trial date."
Bill Scherer represents Mrs. Kasler.
Bill Scherer: "What am I going to do for you?"
Barbara Kasler: "Try to get some of my money back?"
Bill Scherer: "Right."
The Seidlins aren't the only ones being sued. In all 15 individuals and business are named as defendants in the case everyone from Mrs. Kasler's former accountant to a former attorney.
Bill Scherer: "They weren't looking out after her interests."
So, when Mrs. Kasler recently sat down for her very first deposition in the case you can imagine how many lawyers gathered to hear what she had to say.
Larry Seidlin: "I'm Larry Seidlin and Barbara we miss you."
Larry Seidlin and his wife Belinda were also there. At one time, Mrs. Kasler's apartment was full of photos of her with the Seidlin family.
The former judge has maintained they cared for and about the widow, but the lawsuit alleges once they gained Mrs. Kasler's confidence and trust they, "...immediately began to abuse it for their own personal gain." Seidlin's response: A motion to dismiss the lawsuit and remove what he calls, "...scandalous allegations," in the suit.
It is expected there will be other depositions as attorneys for all the defendants question Mrs. Kasler under oath and although nothing unusual happened during this initial session, it did after the questioning was over. Seidlin tired to approach Mrs. Kasler.
Larry Seidlin: "I'd like to say hello to her. I've been kept away from you."
He was turned back by Dave Dipietro, one of Mrs. Kasler's attorneys.
Larry Seidlin: "Don't be touching me. I'm not touching you. Stay away from my client and I'll do it again."
Scherer calls it inappropriate behavior.
Bill Scherer: "I mean, I'm astounded. He walked over to her like he was going to hug her."
Bill Scherer: "Occasionally in depositions, you have the parties at each others throats, but you don't have them trying to hug and kiss each other."
Seidlin's attorney Peter Sachs did not return a phone call for comment.
Carmel Cafiero: "A judge from Palm Beach County is being brought in to try the case since Larry Seidlin is a former Broward County Judge. The trial is expected to get underway this summer."
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