August 12, 2005
Abramoff’s other chums
Earlier today, lobbyist Jack Abramoff was indicted for bank fraud in connection with his 2000 purchase of the SunCruz gambling ships from Greek millionaire Gus Boulis. To finance the purchase, Abramoff and his partner Adam Kidan were required by Foothill Capitol to put up $23 million in cash to secure the loan. Abramoff and Kidan signed sworn documents, provided to Foothill Capitol at closing, attesting that they had paid Boulis the $23 million. In fact, Abramoff and Kidan never paid Boulis and by October 2000, Boulis was threatening to sue. In January 2001, Boulis did file suit, but in February 2001, he was murdered in an unsolved gang-land style homicide.
Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) also played a role in the deal. On March 30, 2000, Ney inserted a statement into the Congressional Record, criticizing Boulis and his management of SunCruz. On June 30, 2000, Kidan, Abramoff, Abramoff’s wife and Michael Scanlon, a former DeLay aide, each made $1,000 contributions to Ney’s re-election campaign. On October 26, 2000, Ney again inserted remarks about SunCruz into the Congressional record. This time he praised the leadership of the new owners claiming that Kidan had a “renown reputation for honesty and integrity.” In fact, Kidan had been disbarred in New York after misappropriating money in a business deal and he had ties to organized crime figures.
In addition, shortly after Kidan and Abramoff purchased the ships, Abramoff leased a corporate jet to ferry congressional staffers down to Tampa for the Superbowl and to gamble aboard a SunCruz ship. Among those on the trip were Tim Berry, then Rep. Tom DeLay’s chief of staff, DeLay’s former deputy chief of staff, Tony Rudy, and two staffers for Senator Conrad Burns.
With a dash of Ralph Reed still to come. Along, I’m guessing, with more indictments for Abramoff and Kidan.
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