He is upset by a recent Baltimore television report about one of his financial efforts after he left prison. He invested stocks for about 10 acquaintances who signed over powers of attorney to him. As always, Levitt had the touch of gold at first and made money for everyone. Then, his investments went south, and he )) lost more than $200,000 of his clients' money through stock options.
Officials in Maryland and Florida are investigating, although they say they have found nothing illegal.
Since then, he has put all his effort into the cigar business, which he says he financed through money given him by his stepfather.
"In the '80s, I was always in a hurry. I'm not in a hurry anymore," Levitt said. "If I strike it rich, I'll be a happier man. But it won't change my lifestyle. I'm not belittling money. But it can't bring back certain people that are gone. It can't bring back a lifestyle that is gone."
'Sick of FAT jokes'
Levitt is sitting on a white, plastic chair outside Dan's News on a hot, sunny day in February, holding his wife's diary. His eyes well with tears.
"Read the diary," he says. "You'll see why I'm bitter."
Karol Levitt wrote the pages while serving 12 weekends in jail in 1986. Although she had no role in running Old Court, she had agreed to help her husband avoid a court order limiting the couple's spending to $1,000 a week.
A woman from a fine Baltimore family, Karol Levitt was one of the most tragic figures of the Old Court era. She left perhaps the most vivid image of the time: a heavy woman walking past a horde of reporters outside a Baltimore courthouse, the collar of her oversized, blue vinyl raincoat drawn up and sunglasses hiding her eyes.
On her first night in the Baltimore City Detention Center, she recalled the laughter of other female inmates as she stepped into the shower.
"I am so sick of FAT jokes," she wrote, reciting one of them: "If you want to remove the snow from your walkway, sprinkle it with chocolate and let the Levitts eat it."
The ridicule hit her hard -- "Would there be jokes and sweatshirts if I had a physically crippling disease?" she asked herself -- but she never turned on her husband. Indeed, she remained loyal to him to the end, saying he had remarkable resilience.
She described him as a "loving sentimental husband and father. A genius and a survivor. When the deck is stacked against him, he turns into Winston Churchill.
"We misjudged and were deeply affected by certain of the rats who deserted when the ship began to sink," she went on. "They seemed to be sure that JAL [her husband] knew in advance what was coming and felt he should have warned them so that they could get their money out in time. If he in fact did know he was too dumb not to withdraw our funds either."
'I'm working too hard'
It's Friday night and Jeffrey Levitt is sitting at a cocktail table with a red table cloth in a dimly lighted room in the back of an upscale pool hall in Boca Raton. Lots of cigars are bought and sold here.
Levitt is in the middle of a cigar deal with the pretty humidor manager, one of his regular customers. Behind them on the wall is a giant poster bearing the face of a woman smoking a cigar; under her face are the words "We're Smokin.' "
"You're supposed to find me a 45-year-old woman worth millions so I can retire," Levitt says to the manager, a woman in her late 20s. "I'm working too hard."
Levitt closes a $1,200 deal with her. To celebrate, she offers him a free drink. He declines but accepts a free dessert instead.
This is a golden moment for Levitt, the moment when the sale is finished. Amid bites of a slice of Oreo cheesecake, he tells the woman, "I give you better deals because I love you."
She rolls her eyes.
"Yeah, right," she says. "You love me if I find you a woman worth millions."
Pub Date: 3/16/97