Five years ago, while he was still one of the capital's most prominent Republican lobbyists, Abramoff, with Kidan and former Reagan administration official Ben Waldman of Springfield, Va., took over SunCruz Casinos. The company operated a fleet of gambling boats from as many as 11 ports in Florida. Although the indictment does not detail the effort, Abramoff leveraged his connections with members of Congress to advance the SunCruz deal, according to interviews and thousands of documents, court records and e-mails filed in related bankruptcy cases.Think DeLay is feeling any heat yet? Or perhaps he's too distracted by the new FEC charge that ARMPAC underreported hundreds of thousands of dollars in 2001 and 2002?
Each of the six counts in the indictment [5 for fraud and 1 conspiracy] could bring a punishment of as much as five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Federal authorities are also seeking $60 million from Abramoff and Kidan, the money lost by a lender they had sought out to help finance the casino ships' purchase.
After the sale, Boulis retained a piece of the business, but relations among the partners quickly soured, according to lawsuits and bankruptcy records. Boulis accused Kidan of maintaining connections to organized crime, and he and Kidan came to blows during a business meeting.
On Feb. 6, 2001, Boulis was killed as he drove home from a business meeting by someone in a Mustang who fired three hollow-point bullets into his chest. No one has been arrested in the slaying.
SunCruz were intertwined with his relationships with powerful members of Congress and their staffs. As the negotiations warmed up, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's office -- he was the House minority whip then -- gave Boulis a flag that had flown over the Capitol. And as the SunCruz deal was closing, Abramoff brought his lead financier to a DeLay fundraiser in the lobbyist's box at FedEx Field during a Monday Night Football game between the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys.
To help land the deal, an Abramoff associate, Michael Scanlon, persuaded Rep. Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio) to officially criticize Boulis in the Congressional Record; later, Ney praised Kidan in the official publication of Congress.
Abramoff listed Tony Rudy, a top DeLay aide at the time, and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) as personal references on his loan papers. And he flew key members of DeLay's staff -- including his current chief of staff -- on a SunCruz jet and took them for a night of gambling on a SunCruz boat at the 2001 Super Bowl in Tampa. The Super Bowl trip came just days before Boulis's slaying.
Friday, August 12, 2005
zoe kentucky | Friday, August 12, 2005 |