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Prominent GOP attorney accused of stiffing rich client and bribing witnesses


Via @JayhWeaver

Never shy of the spotlight, William Scherer has stood out for decades among South Florida's elite lawyers.

Born and raised in Indiana, the stalwart Republican helped save George W. Bush's razor-thin victory over Al Gore in the 2000 Florida election recount for the presidency. He is close to Gov. Rick Scott. His daughter, Elizabeth Scherer, is the Broward circuit judge presiding over the criminal case of Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz.

Scherer also led a team of attorneys who recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for wealthy investors burned by now-imprisoned lawyer Scott Rothstein and his $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme. And just this past year, Scherer’s law firm won a $67 million judgment against Wells Fargo over a bungled real estate project backed by former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino and others.

But for all its apparent success, the venerable Fort Lauderdale law firm of Conrad & Scherer is under siege.

Scherer’s law firm is bitterly fighting a former client, prominent Rothstein investor Douglas Von Allmen, who claims the firm stiffed him on a $25 million loan that financed costly efforts to recover losses from Rothstein's investment scheme.

His law firm is also battling a major Alabama-based energy firm, Drummond Company. Drummond has accused the law firm and a former partner of paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to witnesses to bolster their human-rights abuse cases against the corporation. The law firm lost the litigation with Drummond, and it is now facing a defamation case that gained significant momentum last week in a key ruling by an appeals court in Atlanta.

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@NewsbySmiley contributed to this blog. Photo: Lawyer William Scherer, managing partner of the Conrad & Scherer law firm in Fort Lauderdale, is shown in 2003 file photo. Candace West Miami Herald File