News and articles relating to the scandal surrounding Washington D.C. lobbyist Jack Abramoff

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Police want to talk with indicted lobbyist about Boulis slaying: South Florida Sun-Sentinel

By Paula McMahon
Staff Writer

August 17, 2005

Fort Lauderdale police said Tuesday they would like to interview Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff to learn whether he has any information about the February 2001 gangland-style killing of Gus Boulis.

Abramoff is not a suspect in the slaying, but he and his then-business partner, Adam Kidan, are facing federal fraud charges in the purchase of Boulis' SunCruz fleet of casino boats.

At a brief hearing in Miami on Tuesday morning, U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen T. Brown scheduled Abramoff's arraignment and initial court hearing in South Florida for Aug. 29.

After the hearing, Abramoff's Miami attorney, Neal Sonnett, said his client has been willing to meet with Fort Lauderdale homicide detectives since shortly after Boulis' death, but the interview never took place.

"My thinking was that he wasn't an important enough witness," Sonnett said.

Fort Lauderdale police said they have tried unsuccessfully to talk to Abramoff about the issue on several occasions. "We've attempted through the attorney to talk to Mr. Abramoff several times, and for some reason the attorney's schedule never was able to accommodate it," said Sgt. Tim Bronson, the head of Fort Lauderdale's homicide squad.

Boulis was killed a few months after Abramoff and Kidan became majority owners in his company. Boulis was gunned down in what investigators say was a professional hit as he drove down Miami Road near Port Everglades.

Fort Lauderdale police say they have suspects, but won't name them.

Bronson said his detectives hope to schedule an interview with Abramoff soon. Bronson and Sonnett said they have no reason to think that Abramoff knows anything about the fatal shooting, but the detective said they still have questions for him.

Detectives interviewed Kidan some years ago about the slaying.

Abramoff, 46, of Washington, D.C., and Kidan, 41, of New York, have pleaded not guilty to a six-count grand jury indictment charging them with conspiracy and wire fraud in the September 2000 purchase of the casino boats from Boulis.

Federal prosecutors say the two lied on financial statements and created a counterfeit document claiming that they had put up $23 million of their money in the deal, to trick lenders into providing most of the $147.5 million sale price of the Broward-based operation. Boulis and Kidan clashed about running the company and the terms of the sale. Tensions grew so bad that they accused each other of intimidating behavior, and Kidan hired a bodyguard.

Abramoff is under investigation by a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., and by the U.S. Senate's Indian Affairs Committee for deals in which six Indian tribes paid him and an associate tens of millions of dollars to lobby for tribal casinos and other interests. The tribes have suggested the charges were excessive.

Those twin investigations have received national interest because of Abramoff's links to, and friendship with, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas. The House Ethics Committee is reviewing allegations that Abramoff or his clients paid for some of DeLay's overseas travel expenses. DeLay denied knowing the expenses were paid by Abramoff, who has raised thousands of dollars for DeLay and other Republican members of Congress.

Paula McMahon can be reached at or 954-356-4533.

Local News - Norwich Bulletin - Democrats urge Simmons to return lobbyist's 'tainted' money

Norwich Bulletin

WASHINGTON-- The Democratic Party called on Rep. Rob Simmons Tuesday to return $1,250 in campaign contributions from Jack Abramoff, a former top Republican lobbyist who last week was indicted in connection with his purchase of a casino cruise line in Florida.

"Will Congressman Simmons send back the tainted contributions from the indicted super-lobbyist?"

Bill Burton, spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in a statement.

Simmons chief of staff, Todd Mitchell, declined to answer, noting that the congressman was working hard to save the Groton submarine base from being closed in this year's round of military base closings.

"We're deep in the fourth quarter of the (base-closing) process and we're not going to comment on these stupid political games that the national Democrats are playing," Mitchell said.

It's standard practice for politicians to return donations by donors whose activities have drawn law enforcement scrutiny, said Christopher Barnes of the University of Connecticut's Department of Public Policy.

But the amount of money involved and the scandal surrounding Abramoff aren't significant enough to taint Simmons, at least for the moment, Barnes said.

If the submarine base is ultimately closed and Simmons is in political peril, the donations by Abramoff could count against him, Barnes said.

"It's one of the those things that can stack up against someone," Barnes said.

FEC records confirm that Abramoff gave at least $1,000 to Simmons' campaign in 2002.

Another $250 came in 2001 from a Jack Abramoff with the same Washington address as the lobbyist.

But in an apparent error, the FEC record says that donor was employed as a designer for Electric Boat.

Dan Barrett, spokesman for Electric Boat, said no Jack Abramoff worked for the company in 2001.

Electric Boat, a division of General Dynamics, has a shipyard in Groton, part of Simmons' district.

Abramoff and his associate, New York businessman Adam Kidan, were indicted by a Florida grand jury on wire fraud charges related to their 2000 purchase of SunCruz.

Abramoff also is under federal investigation for allegedly bilking several casino-owning tribes who hired him to represent them before Congress.

Simmons is a perennial target of Democrats because his district leans Democratic. But in November, he defeated Democrat Jim Sullivan of Norwich, taking 54 percent of the vote to win a third term in office.


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