When Jack Abramoff showed up looking
like an old-time Mafia don complete
with black fedora and matching trench
coat last month, to plead guilty
to felony fraud charges in a Federal
Court in Washington D.C., puzzled
observers were asking: what could
he possibly have been
But the beleaguered Republican lobbyist
may have been making more than a
fashion statement... Abramoff’s
garb may have suited his station
in life better than the American
press was ready to admit. The ‘Disgraced
Lobbyist’ job description
with which he was incessantly tagged
might be less accurate than that
of 'Gangland Kingpin.’ And
for that role, it
must be said, he was impeccably
Because whatever else Abramoff is
remembered for, he is sure to go
down in history as the man who gambled
the reputation and prestige of the
national Republican Party on the
uncertain outcome of a murder trial
that Court TV's Nancy Grace should
really sink her teeth into, placing
the GOP squarely in the middle of
somebody's deadly earnest Mob War.
get some idea of the immensity of
Mr. Abramoff's accomplishment, one
need only picture Ed Meese
and Dick Cheney
going to the mattresses.
don't want to kill everyone…Just
my enemies" -- Michael Corleone
Nothing less than the future of
the GOP rides on the uncertain outcome
of a murder trial in Florida this
Spring of three men accused of the
gangland style slaying of the one
man who stood in the way of Jack
Abramoff's ascension into, if not
heaven, then at least the realm
of the Titans: Sun Cruz gambling
czar Gus Boulis.
Here's our modest proposal: We think
grateful Democrats should consider
erecting statues in Abramoff's honor.
Or maybe re-name Faneuil Hall in
Boston. And the party’s few remaining
practicing Catholics might consider
beginning a discreet campaign to
talk up Abramoff in Rome as an ecumenical
candidate for immediate beatification.
And why not? He's already
performed his first miracle. Because
it was only through the intercession
of (bow your heads) St Jack
that the Democratic Party was brought
back from the dead.
And if that’s not
a miracle, we'd like to know...
meet a friend of ours, Chief Stands-with-Pair
since the bygone days when FBI Director
J. Edgar Hoover could deny the existence
of the Mafia while at the same time
vacationing annually at Southern
California’s Del Mar Race Track
as the guest of Texas oil man Clint
Murchison, whose part-owner in his
oil company was New York Mob Boss
Vito Genovese, has there been such
a total disconnect
between what passes for the news
in America… and what really happens
Millions of words have been written
decrying Abramoff’s ruthless greed
and utter corruption. But what has
gone almost unmentioned, except
in passing, is the looming presence
hovering on the fringes of all three
major story lines in the Abramoff
Scandal—the Indian gambling, the
Republican slave plantations in
the Mariana’s, and the completely
unregulated and therefore to-die-for
(literally!)casino cruises in Florida--of
Organized Crime, or, as it is referred
to colloquially, The Mob.
Indian gambling, for example. The
subject of the Mob and Indian gambling
could fill a book. A big
book… Senator John McCain deserves
credit for bringing to light the
vast sums being trucked into Washington
D.C. as if our nation's capital
were a giant landfill.
The Mob didn’t need to infiltrate
the breathtakingly-huge $40 billion
a year slush fund known as the Indian
Mob money created it.
Meyer would be
proud of you Jack... except for
god sake lose the halo
The Indian gaming industry began
in 1979 in—can you guess?—Florida...
with the Seminole Tribe’s million
dollar bingo parlors. Along with
Seminole Chief James Billie, a fast-talking
former Marine named Robb
Tiller was the linchpin
in the fortunes of what was to become
one of Florida's biggest businesses:
the Seminole Indians gambling operations.
Lansky put up the original million
dollars for the Seminole tribe to
start gaming in Hollywood at what
became the first bingo hall gaming
entity in the U.S.,” Tiller told
newspaper interviews in the early
80's, Seminole Chief Billie had
acknowledged as much. "There
might be some semblance of truth,"
he said, to the allegation that
Organized Crime helped capitalize
the tribe's first bingo hall. He
was referring to a 1979 investment
by Cosa Nostra kingpin Meyer
When Lansky got into difficulties
with the FBI in 1981, no one was
happier than Chief James Billie.
“It’s great if you are going to
arrest Lansky,” he told investigators.
“I won’t have to pay him back.”
Even the Inspector General's Office
for the U.S. Department of Interior—never
known to be an eager beaver outfit—reported
ties between one of the companies
managing the Seminole casinos' operations
and an organized crime family.
A Caribbean Dutch
island Rudi Dekkers would be proud
Seminole Indians of Florida, who
run four gambling operations in
the state, also have a stake in
a St Maarten casino. Their original
entry into gambling came via a Meyer
Lansky associate named James
(Skip) Weisman,” they reported.
St. Maarten, east of Puerto Rico,
is administered by the Netherlands.
The State Department has identified
it as a center for cocaine and heroin
shipments to the United States,
and a haven for launderers of drug
Most people think that the Indian
tribes run the casinos located on
their reservation. Nothing could
be further from the truth... For
example, Seminole Management
Associates (SMA), was the management
company that ran the Seminole’s
Hollywood casino, also
controlled by Lansky lieutenant
James (Skip) Weisman.
Meyer's people clearly get around.
The National Indian Gaming Commission
finally stepped in. They invalidated
SMA's contract. So the tribe immediately
hired another company, JPW Consultants,
which was owned by—can you guess?—James
"Skip" Weisman, with
his brother "Butch" Moriarty.
These are of course the very same
men who'd managed the hall under
SMA, before supposedly being dethroned
by the U.S. Government.
means never having to say you’re
Sharon Lyons, a bingo-card seller,
told investigators she saw Skip
Weisman packing cash from the Hollywood
casino into cardboard boxes, and
then sending the boxes off to the
island of St Maarten using UPS,
Skip was apparently not amused.
"She was told to keep her mouth
shut if she wanted to keep
her legs," testified
investigator Roger Odom, a former
Seminole police officer, in a deposition.
Weisman denied, of course, shipping
any cash. The boxes were filled
with "janitorial supplies,
ping pong balls, your balls, your
papers, your do-it-yourselfs, different
forms to run an office, your boards,
just a myriad of different items,"
Weisman said in a sworn deposition.
“Your balls, your papers, your big-ass
More Things Change...
Bosses Frank Costello and Lucky
Luciano attended the 1932 Democratic
Convention that nominated F.D.R.
2004 things had changed, but only
slightly. Now not just the Bosses,
but even lowly accused Mob hit men
were getting into the act. Plus,
they'd switched parties. The Mob
had gone Republican...
wonder Gore lost Florida.
of the three men who go on trial
in March for the cold-blooded gangland-style
slaying of Sun Cruz Casino’s Gus
Boulis found it necessary to show
his respect by attending the funeral
of President Ronald Reagan.
even brought an entourage.
Accused killer “Little Tony” Ferrari
checked into Washington's posh Madison
Hotel for President Ronald Reagan's
funeral, according to the June 9,
2004 Washington Post, with his family
and a "five-car entourage
"I'm a big fan of President
Reagan," Little Tony told the
Post. "I even met him once."
(Oh, to have been a fly on the wall
during that meeting!)
More They Stay the Same
Back in the early 1930’s, when Mob
Boss Dutch Schultz suspected a key
lieutenant of disloyalty, he
personally encased the man’s
legs in cement, and then dumped
him, while still alive, in the Hudson
Well, remember the Marine arrested
at the White House for spying recently?
Feeding classified material to politicians
in the Philippines? The politicians
were Abramoff's clients...
The Marine passed classified documents
to a Filipino politician named Michael
Aquino, who’d been sent
to the U.S. to chill out until he
was no longer “hot” in Manila. Why
was Aquino laying low?
Because he'd killed a man who’d
released an embarrassing video clip
during the Filipino Presidential
campaign showing Philippine Vice
President Joseph Estrada playing
high-stakes baccarat at a casino
with a notorious gambler.
Bentain disappeared without a trace,
until someone confessed that they’d
seen him...in a drum.
Bentain was encased alive in cement.
Philippine NBI agents were later
said to be searching for a metal
drum near the bridge.
"We were brought to a bridge
near Bacolor, where we saw Bentain
inside a drum. We could still see
his head but the rest of his body
was already buried under cement,"
said the man’s statement to police.
“Bentain was crying and begging
for his life.”
Tagalong, Aquino told him, “You
deserve this because you mind other
people's business too much!"
The future looks
so bright we're gonna have to wear
Jack Abramoff’s intense preoccupation
with a tiny string of islands 7000
miles from Washington D.C. was no
laughing matter... It wasn’t because
he wanted easy access
to Tahiti, either. Evidence indicates
that Abramoff’s clients, who ran
the Mariana’s Islands as if they
were a sugar plantation in Haiti
circa 1700, were also in business
with Chinese Tongs, the Yakuza,
and the Russian Mafia.
This is, almost by definition,
was to have been Abramoff’s springboard
to wealth and power beyond the dreams
of mortal men. Some of Sun Cruz’s
dozen gambling boats in Florida
and South Carolina were to be used
to open operations in the Marianas
Islands in the Pacific. Abramoff
and Kidan traveled to at least a
dozen countries, including China
and the U.K. scouting potential
expansion spots, for what they called
"the shining star"
of the industry.
"You know, we're really scouring,"
Kidan told FORBES in Abramoff's
Washington office in early 2001.
"I've been traveling like crazy.
Jack's been traveling like crazy.
Sometimes together, sometimes separately,
looking at locations."
Except, to do that, Kidan and Abramoff
first needed to get rid of
Adam Kidan wrote $250,000 in company
checks to men who are today about
go on trial for capital murder.
Asked what the checks were
for, Adam Kidan
used the same excuse the Black Hand
did back in the early days of the
20th Century. He told The Miami
Herald that the checks he wrote
to accused killed Anthony Ferrari
were “for security.”
couldn’t very well say they were
for the Black Hand.
Yet Kidan has not been charged with
any crime in Boulis' murder.
business tactics" for Dummies
an interview in the Dec 27
2005 Newsday Kidan took
exception to his portrayal in the
media as a failure in the business
and legal professions. The Miami
Herald, to cite one example, called
him “a defrocked lawyer.”
think its better than being called
a "fucking dunsky."
If John Gotti were alive,
what do you think
he'd call a guy who pays for a hit
with a check?
Conceding he had filed for bankruptcy
and surrendered his license to practice
law, Kidan said that both instances
were “actually business tactics.”
Daniel Lapin, the Jewish Jerry Falwell,
let poor Jack have it with both
barrels. “I think the Torah he has
learned helps him to internalize
the tragic events of the past two
years in his life, and use them
for personal transformation.”
Still, Jack Abramoff’s mea culpa
for his transgressions wasn’t exactly
what you might call heartfelt.
He attributed his downfall,
in part, to “zealousness for finding
funds for the charities I supported.”
told The Jewish Journal, “I had
lost a sense of proportion and judgment."
Kidan, perhaps finally realizing
that he's no rocket scientist, contents
himself with saying he had just
been "looking the other way."
yet fraudulent netherworld?"
Who are they kidding?
“Sometimes you go into a business
and the upside potential is so great
that you close your eyes and
look the other way,"
said Kidan. "I looked the other
way and the other way has come back
to smack me."
Newsday reported that Kidan was
giving its readers “a unique insight
into a seductive, yet fraudulent
look the other way" may
qualify as a unique insight on Long
Island. But somehow we doubt it.
Just like Rudi Dekkers, Kidan was
being given a pass.
We’ve barely scratched the surface
of the hidden connections that we've
discovered around Abramoff and Kidan.
But we may as well take our time
dishing them out...
There’s not much fear of being scooped.
The major media has decided to let
sleeping dogs lie.
the Abramoff saga were a Bob Hope
road movie, it would be being tidied
up with left-over funding from Lady
Bird Johnson’s Highway Beautification
always a few bad apples...
Don't mean nuthin.'
The Jack Abramoff Scandal is being
revisionists are already working
to redeem the unredeemable.
While pundits ponder out loud the
question of whether Abramoff’s crimes
represent the handiwork of “a
few bad apples” or institutional
corruption of gargantuan proportions,
we all know that "B" is
a definite non-starter.
Jack Abramoff, it will be explained,
was an aberration.
A singularity. An
evil genius, creating corruption
where none would otherwise have
existed, or the Arnold Rothstein
of American politics bribing
a hapless Congress into pretending
they're the infamous Chicago Black
Sox during the crooked 1919 World
Maybe its not even Abramoff's fault.
Maybe something in his childhood...The
back-peddling is in full swing.
Abramoff may have visited the White
House, sure, an unnamed source tells
the Washington Post, but his trips
were generally social visits such
as Hanukkah receptions.
Their meetings, President Bush insisted,
were just innocent “grip-and-grin”
part of the job of the president
to shake hands with people and smile,”
Too bad it isn't true.