The Case Against Kaplan

Q: Was Mr. Kaplan ever on salary with your company?
A: No.
Q: Was there ever any guaranteed wages, income that Mr. Kaplan was entitled to from your company?

A: No.
...
Q: Is [the letter] a true statement?
A: No.

Q: I think you have already said Mr. Kaplan has never had any executive deferred income with your company?

A: He has none.
Q: Signed by Brad Bargman as plan administrator. Did Brad Bargman have a title of plan administrator?

A: No.
Q: Anybody plan administrator in your company?
A: No.
...

Q: Did Topaz Capital Company or any other company that you were affiliated with ever have an executive deferred income plan?

A: No.
Q: Did you ever have any discussions with Bruce Kaplan about his having an executive deferred income plan with your company?

A: No.
...
Q: Was there ever a time when Mr. Kaplan or when your company had $82,000 or any amount of money in an account for Bruce Kaplan?

A: No.
...
Q: In no sense is this a correct statement that he had any kind of a balance at your company?

A: No, he didn't have a balance, absolutely not.
Q: In reference to the $27,000 withdrawn from the plan, do you have any idea where the $27,000, where that number could have come from?

A: No.
...
Q: Based on your prior testimony, it is my understanding that during the time Mr. Kaplan was employed with your company that you had extended numerous loans or payments to him in anticipation of future income.... Mr. Kaplan was thereby indebted to your company the entire time he worked for your company?

A: Yes, he was.

According to Bradbury, Kaplan simply fabricated everything. Prosecutors wanted to know why Bradbury would allow one of his employees to sign a letter filled with lies. "Essentially [Kaplan] asked me for permission to generate a letter to verify his income with the company, and as I recall, I think it was an urgent situation, needed to be done immediately," Bradbury explained. "I remember quite specifically that there was an urgency in the situation."

Because Kaplan needed the letter right away, and because Bradbury was in California at the time, Bradbury contacted Bargman at the company's Pompano Beach office and told him to sign whatever documents Kaplan gave him. Bradbury testified that he never discussed with Kaplan what information the commissioner would include in a letter. He said he assumed Kaplan would state that he was an employee of the firm and that he worked on commission. Bradbury asserted that he had no idea Kaplan was going to create bogus payment plans.

He said he trusted Kaplan.
Bradbury's sworn statements raise another serious problem for Kaplan. As a county commissioner, he is required to file financial disclosure forms every year. In 1994 he listed among his assets a "deferred compensation plan" valued at $80,000. If Bradbury is correct and there was no such plan, then Kaplan not only lied on his mortgage application but also on his financial disclosure forms.

Loan officers at Margaretten needed additional information from Caribbean and Topaz and asked Kaplan to have company officials fill out a questionnaire titled "Request for Verification." Centorino reviewed that document with Bradbury.

Q: It states his date of employment was 1989?
A: No.
Q: Was that correct?
A: No.
Q: He didn't work for you until 1992?
A: I didn't know him in 1989.

The Request for Verification asked specific questions regarding Kaplan's earnings from Bradbury's firms. Those questions carefully distinguished between money earned from commissions and money earned from salary.

Q: It indicates [Kaplan's] current gross pay, annual pay [for 1994] as being $120,000. Was that true?

A: Would have been fairly accurate.
Q: Again whatever his pay was based on commission?
A: Earnings, royalties, and commissions. In 1994 actually, higher than that.

Q: ... 1993 pay was $100,000, states that his pay in 1992 was $85,000. But it characterizes these amounts as base pay as opposed to overtime, commissions, or bonus. What you have told [us previously] these were purely commissions that he was working on, he does not have a base pay, any salary?

A: Exactly.
Q: These properly should have been classified as commissions?
A: Yes.
Q: Would you put it under commission or base pay?
A: If I had seen it I would have put it under commissions.

Centorino noted that the form indicates Kaplan received a $20,000 raise in 1994 from Caribbean.

Q: Again if he was working on commission he wasn't getting raises and such, was he?

A: No.

The form was signed by Sara Suarez, who identified herself as the company's personnel manager.

Q: Who is [Sara Suarez]?
A: Receptionist.
Q: Her title is personnel, is that accurate?
A: No.
Q: Do you have somebody who did personnel work for your company?
A: Brad, myself.
Q: She was simply the receptionist?
A: Yes, she was the receptionist.

Q: Would she have been the appropriate person to sign any verification of employment?

A: No, but she did work for Bruce Kaplan, sat out in the open reception area, actually did a lot of Bruce Kaplan's work.

Bradbury explained that during the period in 1994 when Kaplan was applying for his loan, the commissioner would occasionally arrive at the office and need to have various documents signed; he would solicit help from whoever was available. Bradbury testified that he was unaware what the commissioner was up to, and only learned about it after the State Attorney's Office began its investigation.

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