9/29/2005

Daily Kos: Casinogate: more information on the hitmen

Abramoff has mob connections ? The plot thickens -- law

Casinogate: more information on the hitmen
by LITBMueller
Wed Sep 28th, 2005 at 17:38:09 CDT

The Sun-Sentinel reported today that "Big Tony" Moscatiello and "Little Tony" Ferrari, two of the three men arrested yesterday and paid large sums of cash by Jack Ambramoff's business partner in SunCruz Casinos, Adam Kidan, tried to hire a guy named Wayne Nicholson between November 24 and 30, 2000, to kill Miami businessman Gus Boulis.

This is important information when put into the larger context of what I like to call Casinogate, which is outlined in more detail below the jump...

* LITBMueller's diary :: ::
*

I came across a great WaPo piece from way back on May 1,. 2005. Many of you have probably read it, but I have been slow on the uptake on the Abramoff scandals, so it was new to me. The most important part, though, is that it points out the importance of the November dates noted above regarding the attempted hiring of Wayne Nicholson to "whack" Gus Boulis.

Even if you have read it before, read it again to refresh your memory! It reads like a great timeline.

This is the part, though, that the above Times-Sentinel article sheds light on:

After buying SunCruz for free under their fraudulent deal, Kidan and Abramoff then rewarded themselves:

Abramoff and Kidan started paying themselves $500,000-a-year salaries. Among the first checks Kidan wrote were payments totaling $310,000 that he sent to Abramoff to help pay for the sports skyboxes at FedEx Field, MCI Center and Camden Yards.

Operating out of SunCruz's offices near Fort Lauderdale, Kidan moved into a $4,300-a-month luxury condo paid for by SunCruz and bought a 34-foot powerboat. He quickly put his mark on the business, firing SunCruz employees including several of Boulis's friends and relatives.

So, this is where Kidan starting going wrong. Not only did he fire the friends and family of the many they just robbed of a business - the man who still supposed to be a part owne - but then he started refusing to pay Boulis' IOUs.

Boulis started writing Kidan letters demanding payments and threatening to tell the lenders that Kidan was reneging on the deal. Abramoff attempted to use his influence once again, and Congressman Ney once again denounced Boulis in the Congressional record.

Things then began to spiral. Kidan hired his old buddy and known Gambino family associate "Big Tony" Moscatiello, whom he had know since 1990 when Kidan was running a bagel business in the Hamptons (you can't make this shit up!), as a "consultant."

A consultant for what? Perhaps this key passage will tell us: "In early November 2000, Abramoff flew to Miami to meet with Boulis and Kidan 'to try to mediate their differences for the good of the business,'... "

It gets better!:

"By late November, threats were flying. Boulis's allies began to stir trouble, including a business associate who accused Kidan of having mafia connections at a community meeting in Mayport, Fla., where SunCruz docked one of its gambling boats. Kidan threatened to sue."

Now, go back to the date within the Sun-Sentinel article regarding the alleged attempted hiring by "Big Tony" of a hitman to whack Boulis:

"Between November 24 and 30, 2000."

The decision had already been made to at least be prepared.

But, it was the continued fighting (both written and physical!) and perhaps a certain note to Abramoff from Boulis's CFO pointing out that "Boulis, as a lender to the Kidan group, could 'veto certain activities and transactions,' thus canceling the takeover of SunCruz" that may have caused Kidan to say "take him out yourself" to "Big Tony." As the WaPo article continues:

Abramoff forwarded Wagner's last e-mail to Kidan and Waldman. In response, Kidan told Abramoff, "We need to shut her down."

Kidan also urged, "Jack, you need to act above all of this."

In his e-mails to Abramoff, Kidan made a cryptic reference to an ally who had sent protection to Kidan in Florida.

"My friend in NY is acting out of concern for my safety," Kidan wrote to Abramoff. "By sending security I am afraid it will make things worse and I will ask him today to remove them. I appreciate his efforts, but the situation is at a critical point."

Kidan proposed "a concerted press effort" against Boulis.

"I was the victim of family violence before," Kidan wrote. "Lets use that in our favor (my mother wouldn't mind) to show how we can't tolerate violence and the like of criminals. Lets get the protective order. By painting the picture we box him. The negative is that his profile shows that he will retaliate against me."

Abramoff replied, "I agree with this completely."

He e-mailed Boulis attorney Anthone Damianakis: "It is my belief that Gus and Adam need to resolve the issue of what Gus is owed and Gus needs to move on out of the company."

Kidan hired a security firm to assess what kind of threat was posed by Boulis, who once had been arrested for harassing a girlfriend who had obtained a restraining order after she accused him of beating her. Kidan paid for three bodyguards and ordered an armor-plated Mercedes, according to court records. He also requested a restraining order, which was granted. He alleged that Boulis vowed to have him killed.

A week later, SunCruz made the first of $145,000 in payments to Moscatiello. Three checks for $10,000 each were made to Jennifer Moscatiello, daughter of Anthony, and $115,000 to Gran-Sons, a company the Moscatiellos ran. The payments were for catering, consulting and "site inspections," Kidan said later.

However, there is no evidence that any food or drink was provided or consulting documents prepared. The checks to Jennifer were made at Anthony's instruction, Kidan said, even though she performed no services. A lawyer for the Moscatiellos declined to comment.

Kidan could probably argue that his NY friend, "Big Tony," killed Boulis "out of concern for my safety," but this doesn't fly when one considers the big payments to the Moscatiellos...for services never rendered. His steps in hiring the security firm, getting the armored-plated Mercedes, etc. all could be steps to set up his alibi - that he was the one afraid of being killed.

Also, seems to me that Abramoff possibly opened himself up to a conspiracy charge if he knew that Kidan, in his emails, was referring to a "hit" on Boulis, and then said himelf "I agree with this completely." The line from Kidan, "Jack, you need to act above all of this," sounds like a warning.

And, now, without further DeLay!:

On Jan. 19, 2001, Boulis went to court, seeking an injunction to prevent Kidan from operating the boats and to force him to make his payments to Boulis.

The next day, Kidan and Scanlon were guests at a reception in DeLay's Capitol Hill office celebrating the inauguration of George W. Bush, according to two people who were at the reception.

A week later, Abramoff and his partners leased a corporate jet to ferry congressional staffers down to Tampa for the Super Bowl game and a night of gambling aboard a SunCruz ship. Among those aboard were DeLay aide Tim Berry, who is now DeLay's chief of staff, and two staffers to Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.). DeLay's former deputy chief of staff, Tony Rudy, by then a newly minted lobbyist working for Abramoff, was there, too.

Berry failed to report the trip on his disclosure forms. A DeLay spokesman said Berry had no idea SunCruz paid for the trip. He thought it was a Republican fundraising trip allowable under House rules.

Yeah, right...

Abramoff, apparently taking Kidan's advice and "getting above all this", moved "his lobby business and many of his clients...from Preston Gates to Greenberg Traurig LLP." He also took along former DeLay aide Tony Rudy, who became "his first hire from Capitol Hill."

In February 2001, Boulis was murdered.

Interestingly, "in March 2001, SunCruz executives, including Abramoff and Kidan, attended a fundraiser in Abramoff's box at MCI Center for Ney," but by April, DeLay was distancing himself from Abramoff, telling others "'that he had no idea that Abramoff was involved in this and was absolutely shocked when he found out about it,' said Paul M. Weyrich, a conservative activist and longtime friend of DeLay's. 'Immediately he had Abramoff called in and told him, 'I want no more dealings with you,' and I think he felt blind-sided by Abramoff, that Abramoff was aware of Tom's views on the subject and never bothered to tell him' about his stake in SunCruz."

This rings very very hollow, now, doesn't it?

Daily Kos: Casinogate: more information on the hitmen

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