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Acrimony Imperils Sun Cruz Casino Partners' Plan

17 June 2001

DANIA BEACH, Florida –June 17, 2001 -- · The $147 million purchase of SunCruz Casinos sounded good to three youngish Republican activists from the nation's capital when they entered Florida's cruise-to-nowhere business in September.

"Each boasted impressive political credentials. Jack Abramoff, 42, is a preeminent Washington lobbyist, Ben Waldman, 42, worked in the Reagan White House and ran twice for Congress. Their point man, Adam Kidan, 36, is the former owner of the national Dial-A-Mattress chain with his own political connections.

"This deal would allow millionaire Gus Boulis to get out of the casino boat industry, a secret promise he had made to the federal government but did not share with the buyers. The new partners would acquire a profitable business, and their connections would help keep the U.S. Congress or anyone else from outlawing the legally tenuous casino boat industry.

"…But the legal battles that ensued between Boulis and his new partners after the sale proved that this project wasn't going to be easy. The murder of Boulis in February turned the acrimony to a level that Kidan says is endangering the three partners' careers.

"Boulis' representatives, with the same tenaciousness as their fallen friend and client, have dropped any pretense of civility toward Kidan and his partners. Their civil lawsuits scream with allegations that Kidan paid a Gambino crime family associate $30,000 before Boulis' death, `not for any legitimate purpose.'

"…But by far the most explosive revelation is Kidan's relationship with Anthony Moscatiello, a lifetime friend of Gambino crime family boss John Gotti. Moscatiello, of Howard Beach, Queens, was indicted in 1983 and later cleared in a case that sent Gotti's brother, Gene, to prison for 50 years.

"…The implication in the lawsuit is clear, as Kidan sees it -- that he arranged for Boulis to be killed.

"`They are truly, roll-up-your-sleeves street brawlers, and this is how they're conducting themselves,' Kidan said.

"…Boulis was trying to collect his money and/or take his company back through his lawsuits when he was gunned down in his car in Fort Lauderdale on Feb. 6.

"…Lester Bullock, president of the Day Cruise Association, a lobbying group that included most of the casino boats in the state before Kidan pulled SunCruz out, said a less combative approach by Kidan from the start could have avoided the eight lawsuits between Kidan, Boulis, and two other operators in Florida…"

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