Monday, October 11, 2010
Carmel on the Case: Seidlin
A high profile former Broward judge on the record. Larry Seidlin is being grilled about his relationship with a wealthy widow. He's accused in a lawsuit of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from that widow. Tonight, for the first time, this former judge is under oath and answering questions, and only one station has the videotape. 7's Carmel Cafiero has our exclusive story.
WSVN -- It was a quiet Tuesday morning when Larry Seidlin, his wife Belinda and their attorney showed up to begin two days of depositions in the elderly exploitation case pending against the couple and others. At issue? The Seidlins' relationship with this woman, Barbara Kasler. At 84, she is now fighting serious health problems.
Larry Seidlin: "We were with her over 10 years, just about every day."
Seidlin, who was a sitting judge at the time he first met Barbara Kasler, testified, he loved her like a mother.
Larry Seidlin: "It was, uh, we sort of all had a connection, my wife and I and my daughter. We were connecting. There was a connection there."
The elderly widow lives in the same Las Olas condo building as the Seidlins. Her attorney says she was taken advantage of.
Attorney: "What am I going to do for you?"
Barbara Kasler: "Try to get some of my money back."
Attorney: "Can you give me an approximation of how much money you received from her? Your family?"
Larry Seidlin: "I don't know the amount."
Seidlin was shown documents submitted in the case that put the figure at $406,000.
Attorney: "Does that sound accurate to you?"
Larry Seidlin: "Yes."
That figure includes more than $100,000 in cash gifts to his family and more than $50,000 to Pine Crest School to pay for his daughter's education.
Larry Seidlin: "I said, 'Barbara, I can pay,' and she just wanted to pay. It gave her pleasure, she said."
Seidlin was asked about a check to his wife for $130,000.
Attorney: "Were you surprised to hear that Barbara Kasler had given your wife $130,000?
Larry Seidlin: "I thought it was just very generous of her to give this kind of gift to Belinda."
Attorney: "Didn't you find that to be unusual?"
Larry Seidlin: "We had a special relationship, the Seidlins: Larry, myself, and Belinda."
Four months later, there was another check to his wife: this one for $100,000.
Larry Seidlin: "We didn't have any deep conversation about it."
Larry Seidlin: "Belinda had dialogue with Barbara concerning these two checks, and I don't know what they discussed."
Seidlin testified, he sometimes wrote out checks for Barbara Kasler with her permission. But time and again, he could not identify who wrote checks or who endorsed them.
Attorney: "Is that your handwriting?"
Larry Seidlin: "I don't know."
Attorney: "Is that consistent with your handwriting?"
Larry Seidlin: "I don't know. I don't know. I write differently each time. I don't know."
Attorney: "Do you know if that's your handwriting?"
Larry Seidlin: "I can't tell."
Seidlin was also questioned about travel. He admitted the widow paid for hotel stays on trips she took with his family, including several visits to Disney World.
Larry Seidlin: "I would say at least four to six times. My wife would know better. I was, I don't know."
Seidlin was also questioned about the use of the widow's credit card for other charges.
Larry Seidlin: "She gave me her American Express card."
He says he only used it with Kasler's permission.
Attorney: "Did she get clothes for you on her credit card?"
Larry Seidlin: "She sometimes was with me and said, 'Get yourself something.' Yes."
The card was used to charge gas for Seidlin's vehicle.
Larry Seidlin: "She would tell me, 'Put gas in the car.'"
Her card was charged for liquor, even though Seidlin says she doesn't drink.
Larry Seidlin: "She probably was with me. I don't know."
There were also charges for outdoor activities.
Attorney: "Did Barbara Kasler fly fish?"
Larry Seidlin: "No."
Attorney: "Did she ride bicycles?"
Larry Seidlin: "I don't think so."
And when it was time to replace windows and doors in her condo, Barbara Kasler paid for hers, plus the Seidlins, plus his in-laws. The original cost? $60,000.
Attorney: "Why did you not pay for your own unit?"
Larry Seidlin: "Uh, she insisted to pay, and uh, Belinda accepted it."
Attorney: "Did you not accept it also?"
Larry Seidlin: "Belinda had the discussions with Barbara about it."
And Seidlin says Barbara Kasler "may" have paid other bills.
Larry Seidlin: "She may have paid some bills of ours."
Attorney: "What bills are you talking about?"
Larry Seidlin: "I don't know."
Carmel Cafiero: "Belinda Seidlin is due to be deposed later this month. Meanwhile, Larry Seidlin says he is working on putting together a TV show called 'Psychic Court.' He will be the judge."
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