WILL ABRAMOFF ALSO GET NAILED FOR MURDER? AND IF HE DOES, WILL HE IMPLICATE DELAY AND NEY?
There are several strands of the Abramoff/DeLay/Cunningham scandals that you never hear about on TV-- and rarely if ever see in newsprint either. Two of them involve Greek-Americans nicknamed "Gus." Back last summer I did a series of articles about how Cunningham was peddling presidential pardons for Bush for $400,000. Although the major media outlets were aware of Republican operative Thomas "Gus" Kontogiannis and his relationship to Cunningham (which looks like it also involved serious national security matters)-- and although Kontogiannis testified in open court that he gave Cunningham $400,000 to buy a pardon from Bush-- no one wanted to cover that aspect of the Cunningham saga.
The other "Gus" wound up even worse off than Kontogiannis. This guy, Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis, was the founder of the Florida sandwich chain, Miami Subs and, unfortunately for him, the multimillion dollar owner of SunCruz Casino cruise ships. He was brutally murdered, gangland style, by 3 Mafia thugs working (as "caterers" and "consultants" for Abramoff and his partners (only hit that photo link if there are no small children around). This is a murder that involves Tom DeLay and Robert Ney, two senior Republican congressmen. And it's finally starting to get some coverage outside of the blogosphere.
This week IN THESE TIMES ran a story by Richard Fricker that lays the whole mess out: "A Florida hit man. A high-powered lobbyist. A pair of disgraced Republican congressmen. The ingredients for a potboiler novel? No-- this is what passes for political news in the age of Abramoff." That's because the 3 galoots whose mugs you linked to above, go on trial for murder next week.
Fricker writes that Abramoff and Adam Kidan, one of his many partners, were defrauding Boulis, who reacted badly and got into a fist fight with Kidan. He "was driving his car in Ft. Lauderdale on February 6, 2001, when two cars boxed him in. A third car going in the opposite direction pulled up to his side and its driver shot Boulis three times in the chest. Charged with the murder are Anthony Ferrari, James Fiorillo and former Gambino family bookkeeper Anthony Moscatiello. Also under investigation is Moscatiello's daughter, Jennifer, who along with her father received $145,000 from Kidan for catering and 'other' services. There is no evidence that food or services were ever provided." [Except the body with the 3 bullets in it, of course.]
"What does Abramoff--the dapper fixer from Capitol Hill--have to do with three mugs and a moll?" asks Fricker. "He's already admitted to using his powerful lobbying firm to bribe politicians, defraud Native American tribes out of millions and help to ensure that migrant workers in the Marianas Islands earn slave wages. Around that same time, in 2000, he was also tricking Gus Boulis out of his SunCruz Casino gambling ships. The roots of this scam go way back: Abramoff and Kidan had known each other since the '80s as active members of the College Republicans national office. According to Kidan's deposition, he was nearly broke when Abramoff brought him into the deal to buy SunCruz. After a contentious negotiations period that drew on for months, in September 2000, the pair finally managed to persuade investors to go along with the arrangement by claiming they had put up $23 million of their own money for the deal, offering phony wire transfers as evidence. But when it came time to pay Boulis, Abramoff and Kidan were $23 million short."
A violent fracas between Kidan and Boulis "sparked a federal investigation, and within a few months Abramoff and Kidan were charged with fraud regarding the SunCruz purchase. During a 2001 civil case, Kidan also admitted that he paid the men now charged with Boulis' murder $250,000, including the $145,000 paid to Anthony and Jennifer Moscatiello. Because of Abramoff's connections, the SunCruz purchase had been of great interest to some members on Capitol Hill. In March 2000, Rep. Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio)-- at the urging of Michael Scanlon, a former spokesman for Tom DeLay, and a business partner of Abramoff-- placed a scathing attack on Boulis in the Congressional Record."
Ney, who has taken incredible amounts of bribes from Abramoff, his clients and his criminal associates, and is widely considered to be the congressman most tainted with corruption after DeLay himself, inserted this into the Congressional Record (on behalf of the citizens of Ohio he
"Mr. Speaker, how SunCruz Casinos and Gus Boulis conduct themselves with regard to Florida laws is very unnerving. I don't want to see the actions of one bad apple in Florida, or anywhere else . . . affect the business aspect of this industry or hurt any innocent casino patron in our country." We should petition Webster's to put Ney's photo next to the definition of "scumbag."
Read Fricker's whole story. He gets into a lot of great stuff. He's a 2-time winner of the American Business Press Editors Award for Investigative Journalism. All this stuff is getting dangerously close to Bush. In November either the country will come to its senses and sweep the Republicans out of the Congress so that serious investigators like Henry Waxman can start looking into all this criminality, or it will all continue to be swept under the carpet... and no American will be any more safe from these predators than Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis was.