New Mob Links in Abramoff Scandal: Kidan Ties to Sicilian Mafia
Last week's indictment of three men with Mob ties in the gangland-style murder of gambling ship magnate Gus Boulis during Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff's take-over of the gambling cruise ship line revealed deep Mob connections at the highest levels of the Republican Party.
Now The MadCowMorningNews has learned exclusively of more Mob ties to the case. One of the principals in the scandal, Adam Kidan, an Abramoff partner and a former Republican “fund-raiser,” was the co-owner and general counsel of a Caribbean island hotel-casino with Rosario Spadaro, called "a member of the Sicilian Mafia" in an Associated Press story reporting his recent arrest in Italy in a major investigation into international arms trafficking.
“St. Maarten hotel owner arrested, linked to Mafia” read the headline.
“Italian police have arrested St. Maarten's most prominent hotel owner, Rosario Spadaro, accusing him of laundering money for the Sicilian Mafia, Italian police said Thursday,” read the AP report in the May 20, 2005 Orlando Sentinel.
“Spadora was arrested May 9 in Rome's Fiumicino airport, as soon as he landed in Italy on a flight from Caracas, Venezuela, the Messina anti-Mafia police said.”
Just how stupid do you think I am?
Kidan, Abramoff’s second-in-command at the SunCruz casino line, is reportedly soon to be indicted for the murder of Gus Boulis’ murder, on the relatively safe grounds that he wrote checks totaling a quarter million dollars for no easily discernible reason to the Gambino hit man recently charged with the crime.
His defense will probably be that he paid the goombah with a check. He will asks the jury, “Do I look stupid to you?”
We think they will almost certainly answer “yes.”
And based on emails from Kidan to Abramoff in the days before the murder, suspicion is growing that Abramoff may also be involved in what police called the “highly professional hit.”
In e-mails to Abramoff, Kidan made a cryptic reference to an ally who had sent “protection” to Kidan in Florida. Abramoff would have known that such an individual brought his own bat with him when he traveled.
"My friend in NY is acting out of concern for my safety," Kidan wrote to Abramoff. "I was the victim of family violence before. Lets use that in our favor (my mother wouldn't mind) to show how we can't tolerate violence and the like of criminals.”
Abramoff's reply, even though he knows they are in default on their agreement to pay Boulis, is: "I agree with this completely. Gus needs to move on out of the company."
Kidan’s reference to his mother refers to her well-publicized murder by Mafia goons from the Bonanno family, including Madonna’s former boyfriend Chris Paciello.
That’s been reported. What hasn't is that Kidan’s step-father, Sami Shemtov, an Israeli national, has extensive “interests” in pornography business in South Florida. The Bonanno crew thought he was ripe for a take-down.
A Potemkin village, A wizard behind the curtain
News of Kidan’s Sicilian Mafia partner in St Maarten, learned while investigating details of Jack Abramoff’s involvement with Sun Cruz Casinos, adds to the unsavory portrait emerging of Republican operatives involved in the various Abramoff scandals.
For example, at the time of the “purchase” of SunCruz Casinos (Boulis never got his money) news accounts of the news owners failed to mention that Kidan was a disbarred attorney, and that his “Dial-a-Mattress” franchise had recently gone bankrupt, all of which might have given rise to speculation about where he was getting the reported $147 million to buy the line.
Kidan was described as part of a team of seasoned casino and entertainment executives, as well as “an owner and general counsel to the St. Maarten Hotel Beach Club and Casino," according to The St. Petersburg Times, and other news accounts.
Adam Kidan’s newly-uncovered link to a Sicilian Mafia figure sheds light on the activities of secretive Naples, FL financier Wally Hilliard, owner of 9.11 terror flight school attended by Mohamed Atta.
“Some of the same names in the Abramoff scandal also surface in connection with Mohamed Atta’s,” we reported, in a June 21, 2005 story headlined “THE SECRET WORLD OF 9.11.”
Apparently we didn't know the half of it…
Waiting for Fidel to slip on the big banana peel
From a story in the Miami Herald on May 17, 1999 headlined “MAFIA HAS EYES ON CUBA:"
Sicilian mobsters are planning to set up shop in Cuba once President Fidel Castro is gone from the scene, GQ magazine reports in its May issue.
Mafia families want to use hotel, casino and public works projects to launder money and profiteer, GQ said in an article headlined Big Trouble in Havana, quoting U.S. and Italian law-enforcement officials.
GQ names St. Martin, in the Dutch Antilles, as a key organized-crime staging area for Cuba, and Rosario Spadaro, an Italian businessman with two hotels and two casinos there, as a financier with Mafia ties who is likely to be a key figure in future organized-crime ventures in Cuba.
As we've reported before, photographs of Hilliard from his trips to Havana shows him strapping a Rolex with the must-have diamond beveled-face onto the presumably grateful wrist of one of Fidel Castro’s top aides, Guillermo Garcia Frias, known in Cuba as "the Commandante of the Revolution."
Aviation executives and former employees of Hilliard's, like his former Director of Operations Bill Bersch, had told us of their puzzlement at Wally's Cuban adventure.
“I used to look at Wally and Rudi and wonder what made them think they could start an airline,” he told us. “I mean, I was on the executive team, trying to start an airline, and from August 2000 to the present we had all of four business meetings. Even when you could get a meeting scheduled, somebody would tell you that it had been canceled… because Wally is in Havana.”
Have a cigar. We're waiting for Don Corleone to start
Hilliard had been looking to cut a deal with Castro, said Rob Tiller, who provided the photograph, to buy a 10,000 acre cattle ranch on the island for the Mormon Church in Utah, reportedly in anticipation of the resumption of normal diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States.
The explanation never made sense. Now, we are led to wonder: Were Hilliard's visits to Havana part of Sicilian Mafia efforts to regain a foothold in Cuba?
The man who owned the Florida flight school which so many suspected terrorists called home remains seemingly immune to official questioning.
It was widely reported that Atta and several other hijackers made a still-unexplained visit onboard one of Abramoff’s casino boats less than a week before the 9.11 attack,” we reported on June 21 2005.
“Two or three men linked to the hijackings may have been customers on the SunCruz ship that is based at John's Pass,” the St. Petersburg Times reported September 27, 2001.
“SunCruz Casinos has turned over security videotapes and documents to FBI investigators The cruise line also is giving the FBI a videotape from a Port Canaveral ship of a former customer that a casino manager thinks resembles one of the terrorists.”
Two days later the paper reported, “The Pasco County Sheriff's Office has notified the FBI that a local man thinks he might have seen two of the terrorist hijackers last month on a ‘Paradise of Port Richey’ gambling boat, a sheriff's spokesman said. Stephen Babus, 46, of New Port Richey reported to deputies that he saw two Middle Eastern men betting $ 700 to $ 800 a hand on roulette aboard the Paradise ship, which docks in Port Richey.”
In their last word on the matter, the paper reported that the FBI was ‘investigating.” We don't imagine anyone was holding their breath waiting.
Its an ill wind that doesn’t blow somebody some good, and the current scandal starring the GOP’s top lobbyist may yet prove a boon to the party’s efforts to display a common touch.
Abramoff, for example, will someday be able to talk about current trends in license plate manufacture, and proudly display his prison ‘tats’ on Meet the Press.
We all need something to look forward to.
THURSDAY: OLLIE NORTH TEACHES JACK THE MEANING OF "OFF THE BOOKS"