Three Arrested for Roles in SunCruz Murder
Three men have been arrested by Fort Lauderdale police in connection with the murder of Konstantinos “Gus” Boulis, a Miami businessman whose execution-style killing in 2001 has cast a shadow over the federal investigations into former GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Anthony Moscatiello and Anthony Ferrari were charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and solicitation to commit murder in the death of Boulis, according to the Ft. Lauderdale Police Department. A third suspect, James Fiorillo, was charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
Abramoff and business associate Adam Kidan were indicted last month on federal wire- and mail-fraud charges related to their $147 million purchase of SunCruz Casinos from Boulis in September 2000. Federal prosecutors allege that the two counterfeited a $23 million wire transfer used as a down payment on the SunCruz deal. They also want the pair to forfeit the $60 million they received in loans for the purchase.
After a long legal battle, Boulis, a Greek immigrant, was forced by the federal government to sell SunCruz in the late 1990s because foreigners are not allowed to own U.S. commercial ships. Abramoff, Kidan and Ben Waldman, a former Reagan administration official, then formed a partnership to buy the company, which has nearly a dozen casino boats.
But Kidan and Boulis quickly had a falling- out after the SunCruz sale was completed. Kidan and Boulis filed a number of lawsuits against each another, alleging violations of the sale agreement. At one point, Kidan even charged that Boulis had threatened to have him murdered after the two had a physical altercation, according to media reports in Florida.
On the night of Feb. 6, 2001, Boulis was shot four times as he left his office in what police described as a gangland-style killing.
Both Kidan and Abramoff repeatedly have denied having any knowledge of who murdered Boulis, and they were out of the country when Boulis was killed.
But Kidan had business dealings with two of the men now charged in Boulis’ murder. Moscatiello has been linked in media reports to the Gambino crime family. Kidan reportedly paid $145,000 to Moscatiello’s daughter and a company he owns, allegedly for food and beverages that were never provided.
Kidan also paid another $105,000, including $10,000 in casino chips, to Moon Over Miami Beach, a company whose board of directors included Ferrari. One of the checks given to the firm reportedly was for “surveillance,” according to the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, although investigators have had a difficult time determining what line of business the company was actually in.
Abramoff, who also is under federal investigation over his business dealings with American Indian tribes, made use of his contacts on Capitol Hill during the long, tense negotiations to buy SunCruz.
At the behest of Abramoff, Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) put a statement in the Congressional Record bashing Boulis, and another statement praising Kidan after the purchase was complete.
Abramoff also introduced parties to the SunCruz deal to Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) — then the Majority Whip and now the Majority Leader — as well as several of his top aides, although sources close to DeLay claim that he cut off contact with Abramoff when he found out about the SunCruz arrangement.
Calls to the Ft. Lauderdale Police Department for this story were not returned.