3 Charged in Killing Of Fla. Businessman
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Fort Lauderdale police said yesterday that they charged three men in the 2001 gangland-style slaying of a Florida businessman who was gunned down in his car months after selling a casino cruise line to a group that included Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis was killed on a Fort Lauderdale street on Feb. 6, 2001. Two of the three men charged had been hired as consultants by Adam Kidan, one of Abramoff's partners in the SunCruz Casinos venture.
Anthony Moscatiello, 67, identified by authorities as a former bookkeeper for the Gambino crime family, was arrested Monday night in Queens, N.Y. Anthony Ferrari, 48, was arrested in Miami Beach. Both were charged with murder, conspiracy and solicitation to commit murder. James Fiorillo, 28, was arrested in Palm Coast, Fla., yesterday and charged with murder and conspiracy.
Boulis, millionaire founder of the Miami Subs sandwich chain, sold SunCruz to Abramoff and Kidan in September 2000, at a time when Abramoff was one of Washington's most powerful lobbyists. Abramoff and Kidan were indicted last month on charges of wire fraud and conspiracy in connection with a $60 million loan they obtained to purchase the casino company.
Abramoff is at the center of a federal investigation into lobbying for Indian tribes and influence-peddling in Washington. Abramoff used contacts with GOP Reps. Tom DeLay (Tex.) and Robert W. Ney (Ohio) and their staffs as he worked to land the SunCruz deal, interviews and court records show.
The indictment in the Boulis slaying remained under seal yesterday, and authorities declined to disclose details of the charges against the defendants. Michael D. Becker, a Miami lawyer who has represented the men in other matters, said yesterday that he has not spoken to them yet.
Attorneys for Kidan and Abramoff said their clients have no knowledge about who killed Boulis. The two men were on a business trip abroad the night Boulis was shot. "Adam has cooperated with police right from the beginning. He's never been told he is a subject or a target," said Kidan's attorney, Martin Jaffe.
Fort Lauderdale police say they have long been interested in interviewing Abramoff, but he has repeatedly begged off, citing scheduling difficulties. Abramoff's attorney, Neal Sonnett, said after the fraud indictment that his client knows nothing about the slaying but would be willing to meet with detectives. He said he had no comment on the murder charges.
Abramoff and Kidan have been friends since their days as College Republicans in Washington. Kidan, of New York, owned the Dial-a-Mattress franchise in the District until it filed for bankruptcy in the 1990s. Their third partner in the SunCruz deal was Reagan administration official Ben Waldman.
Dealings between Boulis and the Abramoff group were often tense. At key points in the negotiations, Ney placed comments in the Congressional Record -- first sharply criticizing Boulis and later praising the new ownership under Kidan. Ney later said he had been unaware of Kidan's background.
Also during the negotiations, Abramoff brought a lender he was trying to impress to hobnob with DeLay in Abramoff's FedEx Field skybox at a Redskins-Cowboys game. DeLay has said he does not remember meeting the lender.
After the sale, the friction led to a December 2000 fistfight between Kidan and Boulis, who had remained as a minority partner. Kidan told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that Boulis had said, "I'm not going to sue you, I'm going to kill you." Kidan said that SunCruz thereafter barred Boulis from its casino boats.