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The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that former SunCruz co-owner Adam Kidan is expected to plead guilty next week on charges of conspiracy and wire fraud.

If the deal goes through, Kidan, who was looking at up to 30 years in prison, could now face a maximum of 10 years. That sentence could be reduced depending upon the extent of his cooperation as a witness, not only against his co-defendant -- embattled super lobbyist Jack Abramoff -- but also in the prosecution of three men charged in the Feb. 6, 2001, slaying of Boulis, the sources said.

Lawyers for Kidan and prosecutors are finalizing the deal in which Kidan would plead guilty to one count each of conspiracy and wire fraud, sources said. A "change of plea" hearing has been set for Dec. 15 in Miami before U.S. District Court Judge Paul Huck, according to the judge's clerk.

What this means, in short, is that Abramoff is now truly fucked from all sides. Michael Scanlon, Ben Fitial and Adam Kidan--all set to cooperate with federal prosecutors and testify against Abramoff's illegal conduct.

If the deal does go through, Abramoff himself may flip in short time:
Under the plea deal, Kidan would testify against Abramoff, his longtime friend and mentor. Abramoff is also at the center of several Justice Department investigations alleging improper donations and gifts being accepted by members of Congress.

This past August, Abramoff was indicted along with Kidan on six charges including conspiracy, wire fraud and mail fraud. After agreeing to buy SunCruz from Boulis in September of 2000, Kidan and Abramoff faked a wire transfer of $23 million to Boulis as a first payment. This enabled them to receive a $60 million loan from Foothill & Citadel to pay Boulis. No funds were known to have to been given to Boulis at any point. Boulis and Kidan grew increasingly adversarial. Months later, Boulis was killed 'gangland style' while in his BMW.

The Abramoff/Kidan SunCruz trial is set to begin on January 9th. With Abramoff reportedly running out of money and two key witnesses prepared to testify against him in federal cases, his chances of attempting a deal with prosecutors have skyrocketed.

Two recent articles, citing testimony from one of the accused murderers and a witness, suggest that Kidan ordered Boulis' murder.

From the Orlando Sentinel:

"[Ferrari] didn't say [Kidan] wanted [Boulis] killed," Nicholson told detectives during a second interview in May 2001. "He said he wanted him taken out...and he didn't mean dinner."

Ferrari asked Nicholson if he would do it, and Nicholson said he declined. A few days later, Nicholson and Ferrari picked up Moscatiello, who then talked about the need to kill Boulis, Nicholson told police. The ride in the Mercedes ended, he said, with Ferrari promising: "This is my turf. I'll take care of it."

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel:

Moscatiello, 67, said Fiorillo also told him that Ferrari ordered the hit after getting a call from New York businessman Adam Kidan, according to court filings. Kidan had been fighting with Boulis for control of SunCruz Casino, a cruise ship gambling operation based out of Dania Beach.

Such allegations could backfire on Kidan's plea agreement, if true. Thus far, Kidan and Abramoff have skirted charges for any involvement in Boulis' murder.

Update [2005-12-8 6:16:21 by jorndorff]: TPM has more on Kidan's deal and why he's yet to be charged for his involvement in Boulis' murder. Josh also has more on the CNMI side of Abramoff's lobbying history. DKos Abramoff guru dengre has a diary on CNMI Governor-Elect Ben Fitial's cooperation with federal investigators as well.

Originally posted to jorndorff on Wed Dec 07, 2005 at 10:45 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Sweet. (none)
    Flip 'em one by one.

    Get them to sing, and Abramoff will too.

    And when Abramoff sings, Reed, Norquist, DeLay and MANY other people will be very unhappy.

    The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

    by RedDan on Wed Dec 07, 2005 at 10:56:15 PM PST

  •  Boy, I sure hope this means that (4.00)
    Kidan flipping will not only nail Abramoff on the wire fraud, but on the murder rap, too.  

    The money to pay the killers came from SunCruz - did Abramoff know, authorize it?  

    The more ungodly pressure bearing down, from all sides, on Abramoff, the more we're sure to get on the DeLay/Ney sleaze machine.  

    Every time I read about this case, I'm astounded at how unbelievably sleazy these guys are.  

    •  I can't really say that I care... (none)
      ...that much about nailing Abramoff.  He's the messenger, not the message.  The people I want are the politicians he pandered to:  our representatives.  Them, I hold to a higher standard.

      If Abramoff flips on the real murderers currupt politicians, he can spend the rest of his days playing golf with OJ.  He's harmless now.  I'd even be happy to tee up his balls... ummm... well, I never said the rest of his days should be pain free...

      JF

      Invest in your future - VOTE DIEBOLD!

      by Jaime Frontero on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 04:07:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  silly song strikes (none)
    Callin' out around the world,
    are you ready for a brand new beat?
    Summer's here and the time is right
    for flipin' in the street.
    Flipin' in Chicago (flipin' in the street)
    Down in New Orleans (flipin' in the street)
    In New York City...
  •  Is there any evidence (none)
    that SunCruz was used to launder money? Where did the Foothill and Citadel money end up? It would interesting to know if anyone lobbied by Aramoff benefited indirectly from Boulis' murder.

    Mother Nature bats last.

    by pigpaste on Wed Dec 07, 2005 at 11:31:01 PM PST

    •  I haven't seen anything, but I think we can (4.00)
      count on it.  It's what they do.  

      My dream scenario: Abramoff comes clean on everything: how they launder - from the direct mail companies, to the "charities" and 501(c)s, to the lobbying companies, to the front companies, to all those minority business Iraq contracts awarded no-bid to the native groups Abramoff and DeLay were   screwing.  There's a standardized method for funneling back money to all the players and to the GOP.  Then, you get to the actual pay-to-play, and the what happens when you don't play.  

      I can dream, can't I?

    •  Haven't heard of laundering specifically (none)
      ...but SunCruz did donate on behalf of members of Congress that acted in their interest. Months after Rep. Ney made Congressional statements against Boulis, SunCruz made a $10,000 donation to the National Republican Congressional Committee on Ney's behalf. Six days after the donation in Ney's name, Ney made another Congressional statement praising SunCruz co-owner Kidan.

      The loaned money hasn't been fully traced, as far as I've read. Though, it is known that members of Congress and their staffers did fly on SunCruz jets or jets leased by SunCruz. Two staffers for Senator Burns flew on a jet leased to SunCruz to the 2001 Super Bowl and were given $500 in casino chips to use on SunCruz boats. Other fellow lobbyists and aides to members of congress (DeLay, most prominently) were flown by SunCruz to a number of events in 2000-2001 as well.

      'You can't begin to imagine how effective the Big Lie is.' N. Mailer 'TNatD'

      by jorndorff on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 12:00:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Josh Marshall had a post (none)
      at TPM on this. The gist of it (if I remember correctly) was that if one looks broadly at the various Abramoff schemes, it certainly looks like money laundering for the GOP and right-wing interest groups.

      Visit my blog Penndit. Media, politics, campaigns, and political communications.

      by Newsie8200 on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 12:17:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great post (none)
    Should be a front-pager. This is damn important.

    Remember: Both Bush and Bin Laden refer to their supporters as "the base."

    by makemefree on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 01:03:36 AM PST

  •  Adam Kidan - the Mob - Jack Abramoff - al-Quada (4.00)

    I think Hopsicker has been covering Abramoff like nobody else on the net - he's in Venice, Florida where a lot of the principals seem to play (including M. Atta, who hung out at Abramoff/Kidan's casino boat apparently). A guy by the name of Rosario Spadaro in St. Maarten, a capo in the Sicilian Santapoala crime family - happens to have Adam Kidan as a Consigliere/business partner at Maho Beach resort in the Caribbean.

    Spadaro is an underboss for Salvatore Siracusano, now in prison, who is said to have business relations with Youssef Nada, identified as financier of Osama bin Laden by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

    Before landing in jail in Italy Rosario was slated to break open Cuba for the Mob. Spadaro ran casinos in Lagos before hitting the Caribbean in the late 1970's. The guy weights about four hundred pounds... not a healthy bloke.

    GQ names St. Martin, in the Dutch Antilles, as a key organized-crime staging area for Cuba, and Rosario Spadaro, an Italian businessman with two hotels and two casinos there, as a financier with Mafia ties who is likely to be a key figure in future organized-crime ventures in Cuba.

  •  I don't know much about (none)
    the dynamics of plea dealing.  Do you think it's possible that the Feds won't make much of a plea bargain with Abramoff? I guess what I'm wondering is, can Kidan finger Abramoff in the murder?  Otherwise, if both Scanlon and Kidan are getting deals, why would they need to make a deal with Abramoff?  Seems like Scanlon and Kidan beat Abramoff to it.
    •  heh (none)
      just read this at talking points. Must be great minds thinking alike.
    •  It's not too late (4.00)
      It depends on the extent to which he wants to cooperate. Kidan and Scanlon are cooperating but Abramoff was the mastermind, so he's got to know details neither are aware of. (Particularly so in terms of how Abramoff ran every aspect of his racket, how money was laundered and what explicit deals were made between members of Congress, their staff and his close associates.) Abramoff isn't ultimately the hierarchical endgame for the investigators but a huge nexus point of corruption which could lead to the prosecution of many more.

      He'd would likely get less time taken off compared to a situation where he's the only cooperating witness, but it still may be enticing enough to consider. Plus, reports say he's running out of money. Unlike DeLay and Libby, the GOP is smart enough not to even fathom any sort of legal defense fund for Abramoff.

      On the other hand, Abramoff exemplifies the K Street Project. If he cooperates, there's a solid chance he'll implicate Norquist and Reed and likely spark an even more urgent call for lobbying reform. Is he willing to out his fellow corrupt visionaries?

      As for the murder - if the recent reports are true then Kidan's cooperation won't absolve his involvement. It'd just be wagered into his sentencing. Now that Kidan seemingly has flipped on the three suspected murderers, there's a decent chance they will return the favor and rat out Kidan (perhaps even Abramoff). Publically, they're still claiming their innocence. Speculation, of course, but not outside possibility.

      'You can't begin to imagine how effective the Big Lie is.' N. Mailer 'TNatD'

      by jorndorff on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 03:00:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Boulis paid? (none)
    One sight nit-pick. I'm referring to where it states, "No funds were known to have to been given to Boulis at any point." From the Florida Sun-Sentinel:
    First, [Boulis'] $147 million sale of SunCruz Casinos went sour. Boulis accused Adam Kidan, chairman of the new SunCruz partnership, of stealing more than $3 million in cash left on the casino boats and stiffing him on more than $30 million in payments connected with the September 2000 deal.

    Boulis' partners in South Carolina and Tampa also sued him and the new SunCruz owners, claiming they were edged out of the new deal.

    Boulis, who retained a 10 percent interest in SunCruz, allegedly blew up at Kidan during a December meeting. Kidan wanted to limit Boulis' involvement in the new SunCruz, and said Boulis tried to stab him with a pen and threatened to have him killed.


    It seems that some cash was transacted, but not all that was promised. Also, it accuses Kidan of outright theft of some casino boats (Kidan wouldn't have been given access or authority on these boats if him and his partners issued a bogus down payment for the business). This differs from the article's assertion that they totally swindled Boulis, and that Boulis was a laudible, irreproachable individual.

    •  Conflicting reports (none)
      I was basing it off of this August  2005 WaPo article:
      Abramoff and Kidan are accused of faking a wire transfer of $23 million, the equity they had agreed to put into the $147.5 million purchase of SunCruz from Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis, the multimillionaire founder of the popular Miami Subs chain of sandwich shops. The wire transfer, said R. Alexander Acosta, the U.S. attorney here, "was counterfeit."

      "The defendants never transferred the funds and never made a cash equity contribution toward the purchase of SunCruz," Acosta said.


      ...


      "Abramoff and Kidan did not put any of their own money into this deal," said Timothy J. Delaney, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI's Miami office.

      Also, Congress secretly ordered Boulis to sell SunCruz in 1999. It could very well be that he negotiated the deal (that much is definite) but didn't actually have ownership at the time or gave over ownership based on promissory notes, as the Miami Herald suggests:

      The two lenders agreed to put up $60 million in financing, as long as the business partners guaranteed the loans and invested $23 million of their own money. Also, Boulis agreed to accept promissory notes from Kidan and Abramoff the balance of the sale and keep a 10 percent interest in SunCruz.

      'You can't begin to imagine how effective the Big Lie is.' N. Mailer 'TNatD'

      by jorndorff on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 03:52:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Abramoff fucked from all sides" (none)
    kinda has a nice ring to it. Thanks for this update. Recomended.

    I Supported the War When I Believed the Lies

    by bejammin075 on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 03:47:27 AM PST

    •  GOP Fucked from top to bottom (none)
      Am I the only one who thinks it's a matter of time before the RICO act gets mentioned along with George W. Bush in a MSM story?

      There may come a point in our disagreement when I can no longer dispute you on logical grounds, but I can still punch you in the nose. Ludwig Wittgenstien

      by bostonjay on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 03:53:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's time for a BIG chart (none)
    I don't know if this exists, but there needs to be a big chart of all the high-level scandals, who's who, and drawn out like what the police have as they gather info on a mafia they are taking down.

    The chart could have photos of each person involved. At the top would be Bush, Frist, Rove, Cheney, Abramoff, Delay, Safavian, etc, and below them their underlings and lines drawn between them to show the connections/relationships. Under each person could be their status with investigations. The chart could list which kind of indictments, convictions, investigations each person has. It's tought to keep track of all the scandals. What do you folks think? I think something like that would illustrate very well the culture of corruption. Just to be fair, we could include Dem the mayor of Philadelphia - it's bursting at the seems there with indictments for fraud, corruption & pay to play charges.

    I Supported the War When I Believed the Lies

    by bejammin075 on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 03:56:00 AM PST

  •  What's with the "while in his BMW"? (none)
    It's not just you, for some reason many writers point out this brand rather than "while in his car".    

    I never see "while in his Kia", or "he drove his Pontiac off the cliff", etc.  It's not like BMWs are such an exclusive brand, people all over our caste system drive 'em.  As the saying used to go for Camaros and now BMWs, "they're like a penis - half the poplulation's got one" (at least, here in SoFla.

    end rant.  ;-)

    •  Camaro never had the cachet of BMW (none)
       A camaro driver (at least in the deep south where I grew up) signifies street racing and hot rodding. I suppose it had some stature among a blue collar set. Camaro's were fun to drive.

      BMW always had the scent of noveau rich. In Atlanta, if you were a teenager with a brand new Camaro, your daddy probably was a successful home builder and you lived in Lawrenceville or somewhere else outside of I-285.. If you were a teenager with a BMW, you parents were successful professionals and lived either Buckhead  or off of West or East Paces Ferry. I have never driven a BMW.

      "Once in a while you get shown the light In the strangest of places if you look at it right"

      by molly bloom on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 05:49:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  SunCruz connections to CNMI and the rush to plea (4.00)
    Jack was a player in Iran-Contra. At its root it was a money laundering scheme based on three legs: drugs, guns and cash.

    Jack's innovation is to add gambling as the fourth leg of the stool. SunCruz was a part of the plan. So were the Tribal casinos. And Jack had plans to take SunCruz international.

    Naturally those plans took Jack to CNMI as reported in the Saipan Tribune on April 5, 2001:

    Floating casino on its way to Saipan

    A huge Florida-based leisure company is seriously looking at putting up a multi-million-dollar investment on Saipan, a development seen to alleviate the CNMI's economic conditions, which had gone sour since the Asian contagion in 1997.

    Executives of SunCruz Casinos were on island earlier this week to meet with key government officials where concrete plans for the establishment of a $10-million floating casino near the coast of Saipan were discussed. [snip]

    According to SunCruz Casinos Chair Adam R. Kidan, initial infusion of investment would amount to between $10 million and $12.5 million while other business opportunities throughout the Northern Marianas are being carefully looked at for future expansions.

    Mr. Kidan's group were in the Northern Marianas in December last year to explore possible business opportunities here. Company officials also simultaneously conducted a trade visit in Guam where SunCruz Casinos also intend to bring in a floating facility. [snip]

    Among the areas where the company operates floating casinos are: Key Largo, Hollywood, Florida; Jacksonville; Port Canaveral; Daytona Beach; Clearwater; Fort Myers; John's Pass TI; Myrtle Beach in South Carolina; and Panama City.

    SunCruz is also in the final stages of bringing its floating casino in some Asian countries like Hong Kong and the region's casino gaming hub -- Macau.

    "We are continuously deploying floating casinos to areas where there are good potentials. The Northern Marianas can be a casino hub in the Pacific Region, especially with its proximity to Asia where millions play cards and machines," said Mr. Kidan. [snip]

    He added that SunCruz Casinos is also eyeing investments in the transportation sector since a reliable transport system is essential to the company's floating casino business, which is heavily dependent on casino players from other countries.

    Mr. Kidan and other executives of SunCruz Casinos will be back on Saipan to meet with other CNMI government officials, including Gov. Pedro P. Tenorio and members of the Legislature, as well as private sector leaders.

    In his meeting with House Speaker Benigno R. Fitial earlier this week, he said the company is hoping to deploy the floating casino to the Northern Marianas by August this year.

    So Kidan was on CNMI working out deals with the DeLay installed CNMI Speaker of the House Benigno R. Fitial. Now Ben is cooperating with the Feds and it looks like Kidan will soon join him.

    With Kidan's plea on the charges he shares with Abramoff, Jack has nobody but Congressmen and highly placed GOP scoundrels to give up in any deal. And it looks like they are squeezing him hard to talk about his 25-years of service as a GOP bagman.

    As it start to rain plea bargains I expect some more of Jack's pals to get in on the act.

    This is a big story and may dominate domestic news through the 2006 cycle...

  •  WHERE IS THE MEDIA ON THIS??? (none)
    ANOTHER sleeper story thats getting 22d minute (PAge 14)coverage.
    If Democrats were involved in this there'd be a media feediing fenzy. We've already heard the lies about Harry Reid/ABramoff. WHY arent the Republicans scrambling like conckroaches when the light comes on? When is the media going to tie the Republicans to this? How long is the  media going to keep pretendiing that  EVERYBODY does this and that its just normal DC business?
    HELLLLLLOOOOOOOO American media are you awake yet? You can go ahead and cover this one now, I don't think there's any cute young white women missing today.

    INVESTIGATE THE CBS PAPERS!!! THEY ARE FEDERAL DOCUMENTS!! Don't let Bush win WITHOUT PROVING A THING!

    by exlrrp on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 05:53:12 AM PST

    •  it'll get covered... (none)
      When Abramoff flips and congressmen start getting charged, the media will notice.  Right now, it's just too detailed and complex for the bleach-blondes to explain.

      "we have to work... the dark side, if you will"
      -Vice President Cheney, as quoted in Newsweek

      by Leggy Starlitz on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 07:50:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This Reaches to the Northern Marianas (none)
    Stranger than fiction

    The Marianas Variety Online reports that Governor-elect Benigno R. Fitial says he will cooperate with federal authorities in the ongoing investigation of Rep. Tom Delay and former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, whom he once described as his "close friends."

    House leadership spokesman Charles P. Reyes Jr. said Speaker Fitial "will comply with all the legal requirements asked of him."

    But Reyes said it's unfair that Fitial's name is always being associated with Delay, R-Texas, and Abramoff. In April, when news about DeLay's and Abramoff's possible ethical violations broke, Fitial issued a statement in their defense.

    "I join Congressman DeLay in condemning this unfair criticism, which has even gone to the extent of attacking the Northern Marianas for its efforts to rightfully defend itself against hostile federal takeover attempts orchestrated by partisan political groups and other liberal special interest groups," said Fitial in a statement issued on April 20, according to the Marianas Variety Online.

    Back then, Fitial said certain left-leaning parties hostile to the local garment industry are "attempting to undermine" his 2005 gubernatorial bid by linking him to the controversy surrounding DeLay and Abramoff, whom Fitial credited as the individuals who "successfully thwarted repeated federal takeover attempts against the CNMI."

    <Snip>

    In that same article, Eloy Inos, a corporate executive of Tan Holdings, was mentioned as donating $5,000 to Burns' political action committee. Inos now serves on Fitial's transition committee.

    Fitial, a former executive of Tan's, became speaker of the 12th Legislature largely through the help of DeLay's aides. But Reyes said if Fitial was given help it was "not surprising" since at that time he was still with the local GOP.

    The Marianas Variety Online reports that, in a separate interview, Press Secretary Peter Callaghan said the CNMI Attorney General's Office has provided federal authorities with all the documents they needed regarding the CNMI's previous transactions with Abramoff.

    "We must all hang together or assuredly we will all hang seperately." - Ben Franklin

    by RandyMI on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 06:07:06 AM PST

  •  Felony Murder? (none)
    "Adam Kidan is expected to plead guilty next week to federal conspiracy and wire fraud charges for his role in the purchase of the SunCruz fleet from Gus Bolis, who was murdered in a Mafia-style hit allegedly planned and carried out by men with mob ties to whom Kidan had directed payments. As part of his plea deal, the Sun-Sentinel says, Kidan will agree to testify against Abramoff."

    It sounds an awful lot like Abramoff is at least an accessory or co-conspirator in a case where mob hit men were paid to kill someone.

    Does this not invoke the felony murder doctrine? Conspiracy is a felony, and if anyone is killed in the commission of a felony, any person involved in the underlying felony may be charged with murder.

    If the prosecutors can squeeze Abramoff with the threat of a possible life sentence or lethal injection, every Republican in Washington better start looking for a plea bargain.

    Culture of Corruption doesn't even begin to describe the cess pool that is the Republican party.

    "But the sea is wide, and I can't swim over, and neither have I wings to fly . . ."

    by bobdevo on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 07:26:58 AM PST

    •  Separate crimes, at least (none)
      at this point. Kidan & Abramoff are currently only charged with conspiracy and fraud charges. The murder of Boulis is a separate crime, arising after the duo conspired and committed wire/mail fraud. However, further charges are possible. If Kidan turns on the three charged for Boulis' murder, they could very well attempt a plea as well and implicate Kidan, Abramoff or both. I don't believe  a date has been set for the Boulis murder trial, so there's plenty of time for things to change in the case.

      'You can't begin to imagine how effective the Big Lie is.' N. Mailer 'TNatD'

      by jorndorff on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 07:50:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  oh, this is BAD (none)
    This is the one that connects Abramoff with a mob hit.  Which could mean he gets charged with accessory or conspiracy for murder.  He won't be going to two years of tennis prison for THAT - that's hard time somewhere nasty.  And it's also much harder for Bush to pardon him in 2008 if he's convicted of accessory to murder, rather than mere corruption.  

    A murder-related charge will put a LOT of pressure on Abramoff to flip.  Which means LOTS of congressmen going down.

    "we have to work... the dark side, if you will"
    -Vice President Cheney, as quoted in Newsweek

    by Leggy Starlitz on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 07:48:27 AM PST

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