Ed Morse, 1921-2012

Published On: Jul 01 2012 10:49:21 AM EDT
Updated On: Jul 02 2012 08:32:29 AM EDT

Ed Morse started as a doorman at a Miami Beach hotel where he would park the cars for wealthy travelers. 

A lot of the guests stored expensive automobiles in Florida full-time just for their visits. Morse got the idea to rent them cars instead. A mogul was born.

The hard-driving Morse turned the rental car business he started with his father in 1946 into what was at one time one of the largest dealerships in the United States. He made several fortunes along the way. On Friday, he died at the age of 91.

Ed Morse spent his life building a car empire, but in recent years he's been in the news because of his son and CEO Ted Morse's close friendship with Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein, which caused Morse and his family great harm. Rothstein, acting as the attorney for Ed Morse and his wife in a civil case, scammed the couple out of $57 million. Rothstein has claimed in depositions that Ted was in on the scheme with the idea of eventually paying his father back out of Ponzi funds. It was also Morse money, via Ted, that helped fuel the Ponzi in its early stages. 

Morse lawyers say Rothstein is lying about the depth of Ted's involvement, but after reviewing the documents in the case one thing's clear: Ed Morse was an innocent victim of Rothstein.

-- The disappearance of millionaire Guma Aguiar at sea has become even stranger, and not just because of the very public battle between his wife, mother, and billionaire uncle over what's left of his $200 million fortune. I'm talking about who is representing the mother Ellen Aguiar: none other than Broward County Commissioner Ilene Lieberman, who is running for judge. Ellen Aguiar's role is controversial: It was she who filed court papers declaring her son was likely dead and asking to take over his fortune just two days after he went missing and the Coast Guard was still searching for his body. Aguiar's wife's attorney, Bill Scherer, called the filing of those papers "bizarre" and said the mother was making a power play on the fortune. Interesting side note: Lieberman and Scherer have been political enemies for years; now they're doing battle in the courtroom.

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