When trial lawyer Jeremy Alters hosts an April 10 fundraiser for President Barack Obama at his Golden Beach home, it'll be like walking on to the set of a South Florida telenovela.
There's a spurned nanny. A hint of poison and betrayal. A multi-million case against a bank. Allegations of financial impropriety. Cut-throat lawyers. A bar complaint. An ongoing lawsuit. A lie-dector test. The forced sale of tony Colorado homes, and a $2.2 million loan made with a handshake.
This has been Alters' life for the past few years.
"Ever since I took on the banks, this all happened," said Alters, 41, who initiatied a suit against Bank of America that resulted in an initial $410 million settlement.
Alters, who initiated the major national lawsuit into overdraft fees, was so busy with the case and a $1 billion action against Chinese drywall makers that he needed a partner to take over the leadership of his firm, Kimberly Boldt, who appeared to make potentially inappropriate money transfers from trust accounts to the firms operating accounts as times got tough. One transfer was allegedly needed when another lawyer appeared ready to leave with $1.6 million in fees the cash-strapped firm was counting on after Alters was forced to repay Bank of Miami a $3 million line of credit
In all, $1.1 million was potentially improperly transferred, apparently without Alters knowledge. When he found out about it, he sold his two homes in Colorado, brought co-counsels in to help parlay his drywall and bank cases into short-term cash and borrowed money, including a $2.2 million handshake loan from Miami super lawyer Bruce Rogow.
At the same time, Alters fell sick. So sick, he says, that he could have been a victim of "poisoning." He wouldn't say by whom -- but noted he fell suspiciously and gravely ill.
Alters fought the case and was pretty much cleared Jan. 20 by a special Supreme Court-appointed referee, Miami-Dade Judge Marcia Caballero, who summarily shredded the Bar's investigation and the allegations against Alters as inaccurate and incomplete. She noted he took a lie detector test.
Now, Sullivan is suing him in court, claiming Alters he forced her "to loan money and that she is owed $178,479, including interest. Sullivan alleges that Alters also owes her $22,000 in unpaid wages, which is part of the total," according to the South Florida Business Journal.
Alters denies the allegations.
"The case is crazy. She's not telling the truth," Alters said, claiming she still contacts his 10-year-old child with emails dishing dirt on his dad.
Now that he's back on his feet, why would Alters host a fundraiser and give away so much of his money?
"It's worth it," said Alters, who hosted one of Obama's first fundraisers in February 2008 just after he announced his candidacy. "Barack Obama is the best person for the job. He needs the chance to finish what he started."
It's not cheap. It's $15,000 per person, $20,000 per couple at the dinner. Earlier in the day, Obama has a $20,000-per-head lunch at the Palm Beach Gardens home of Paula and Hansel Tookes. The VIP reception is $50,000.
"I put my money where my mouth is," Alters said.
But now his nanny wants some of the cash, too. No way, says Alters. He survived the bar complaint, the illnesses and the financial problems -- and he says he'll win her suit.
"It's going to take more than a nanny to bring me down," he said.