The Abramoff scandals are turning into one huge mega-scandal, in which murder, bribery, drugs, corruption, protection rackets, racism, the Israel-ueber alles faction and the Christian right all flavor the same fetid stew.
First, we have word of earwitness evidence in the murder of Gus Boulis, the fast-food magnate turned casino boat owner, who paid the price for refusing an offer he couldn't refuse:
Sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas five years ago, the plan to kill Fort Lauderdale business tycoon Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis unfolded inside a shiny, black Mercedes Benz, if the man who appears to be the state's star witness is to be believed.
From the back seat of the luxury car, Dwayne Lavade Nicholson listened as the man he served as a bodyguard, Anthony "Little Tony" Ferrari, spoke with another man about a troublesome situation, according to court records make public Wednesday.
The other man, said Nicholson, was Anthony "Big Tony" Moscatiello, a known associate of deceased New York City mob boss John Gotti and his Gambino crime family.
The conversation, relayed by Nicholson to Fort Lauderdale police detectives three days after Boulis' murder, discussed the escalating business dispute between Boulis and the men who bought his SunCruz Casino business.
That's Kidan and Abramoff, folks.
According the Josh Marshall
, the Boulis killing has been directly tied to congressional corruption:
You know that when the casino boat line SunCruz was owned by Jack Abramoff and Adam Kidan, the company paid the men who blew away SunCruz founder Gus Boulis.
Now it turns out they also had the company pay the National Republican Congressional Committee (the House GOP election committee) $10,000 on behalf of Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH). That was in exchange for Ney's putting anti-Boulis remarks in the congressional record that helped Abramoff and Kidan pressure Boulis to sell them SunCruz.
The guy who helped arrange Ney's anti-Boulis-trash-talking and the later pay-off was none other than Mike Scanlon, who later did public relations work for SunCruz, in addition to going into the Indian gaming bilking biz with SunCruz owner Abramoff.
Scanlon is the guy who just agreed to testify against, well...everybody in the Abramoff cases.
The Miami Herald
When U.S. Rep. Bob Ney assailed the owner of SunCruz Casinos in 2000, it seemed puzzling that an Ohio lawmaker would go out of his way to attack a South Florida businessman who was trying to sell his floating gaming empire.
It turns out, according to federal investigators, Ney publicly called SunCruz founder Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis a "bad apple" in exchange for the company's new owners contributing $10,000 -- in his name -- to a national campaign fund to help elect Republicans to Congress.
In his plea agreement, Scanlon agreed to help federal authorities in Washington and Miami.
He admitted to helping Abramoff and Kidan buy SunCruz by persuading Ney to insert comments into the Congressional Record that were "calculated to pressure the then-owner to sell on terms favorable" to the buyers.
According to court papers, both Scanlon and Abramoff "engaged in a course of conduct through which one or both of them offered and provided a stream of things of value to public officials in exchange for a series of official acts."
Finally, this note:
According to federal court records, Kidan also diverted $310,000 from SunCruz to pay for luxury sports skyboxes in the Washington-Baltimore area -- part of Abramoff's GOP fundraising enterprise where he entertained politicians and donors at FedEx Field, MCI Center and Camden Yards.
In a civil court deposition, Kidan said $236,000 in SunCruz profits went for a skybox in Maryland at FedEx Field in 2000.
The rest of the money went for another box at MCI Center in downtown Washington.
I hope Ney had a real
good time at those games. He may be entering another box soon -- the non
-luxury kind, the kind with bars on the door.
Daniel Hopsicker makes this
observation about the Boulis murder, a point I've seen nowhere else:
After failing to pay for his purchase of Boulis’ SunCruz casino ship empire, Kidan added injury to insult, investigators now suspect, by using Boulis’ purloined company to pay for his own death.
Keep in mind, as you read all this, that Abramoff's major partner in this series of scams was professional Christian Ralph Reed. Reed's major function (if I may over-simplify matters) was to cajole naive fundamentalists into bringing anti-gambling pressures against Indian casinos, who would then pay Abramoff to lobby those troubles away.
Remember those old "Dead End Kids" movies? "Hey Mister -- we'll watch your car
for a quarter." Anyone who didn't pay the quarter found his tires slashed. Abramoff and Reed were plying the same trick, albeit on a much more rarified level.
The bottom line: Abramoff, representing the Bush interests, seems to have been the point man in a crusade to take over non-Vegas gambling. At the same time this Republican "mob" asserted ever-growing control over the Indian casinos, they forced they way into the regulation-free cruise ship industry attempted to acquire the major share of online gambling.
An interesting parallel.
Daniel Hopsicker pointed out an eerie historical parallel which deserves wider comment. Here's how Gus Boulis met his end:
Boulis, 51, was driving on Miami Road on the night of Feb. 6, 2001, when a car swerved in front of his BMW and slammed on brakes. After Boulis stopped, a black Mustang going the opposite way pulled alongside and its driver fired several shots into Boulis' car. Boulis drove off and crashed into a tree.
In 1987, "Poppy" Bush's friend Don Aronow -- the "speedboat king" who was heavily involved with drug-running -- was murdered in a substantially similar fashion. In the Aronow case, the shooter was on foot and the victim was given no chance to try to get away.
Interestingly, Aronow was aware that his life was in danger, and tried many times to call the elder Bush in the days leading up to the murder.
In earlier times, Bush -- who, as vice-president, was heading the war on drugs -- made sure that Aronow got a contract to supply the customs service with drug interdiction boats. Naturally, Aronow made sure that the cops received slower boats than those used by the smugglers.
Thomas Burdick, who wrote a book about the speedboat king, once spoke to a former convict named Tommy Teagle, who said that Aronow and Jeb Bush had been partners in cocaine trafficking and were $2.5 million in debt to their Colombian suppliers. Teagle, who claimed to be fearful that Bush would have him
killed, later changed his story.
Question: Is there any way to make this nation's many naive Christophiles -- the ones who jumped every time Ralph Reed snapped his fingers -- understand the truth about the thugs who commanded their loyalites?