Casino Jack & The Murder of Gus Boulis
Over nine months ago a story in the The MadCowMorningNews revealed that disgraced Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s biggest legal worries concerned neither the fraudulent takeover of the SunCruz gambling ships, nor the Indian casino lollapalooza in which "Casino Jack" skimmed tens of millions of dollars off the take from casinos on Indian reservations across the U.S.
Abramoff’s big fear, we reported in a story in June of 2005 headlined “Terrorists Torpedoes and Republican Muscle,” centered on his potential “exposure” in the gangland-style assassination of Boulis, a murder which figures prominently in his rise to power.
This week, with a vengeance, that prediction began to come true, when defense attorneys for reputed Gambino associates accused of the hit on Gus Boulis announced plans to subpoena both Abramoff and his former business partner Adam Kidan.
They want to question the two men, court documents showed, about their purchase of SunCruz, alleged to be "at the heart" of the murder case.
Abramoff and Kidan's testimony is critical, the lawyers alleged, in showing the bitter feelings and power struggle that followed their purchase of SunCruz from Boulis in September 2000.
In plain English, they want to ask Jack Abramoff and Adam Kidan what they know personally about the subject of “murder for hire.”
A man whose cash was key in two American Presidential elections being questioned about "Murder for hire."
Imagine the possibilities.
We (hardly) ever stoop to saying 'We told you so."
On a day which saw Zacharias Moussaoui's death penalty trial go to the jury in Washington D.C., Jack Abramoff getting sentenced in Florida, and George W Bush joining college kids on spring break in Cancun, the only bright spot all day on Wednesday was provided by a total eclipse of the Sun.
Taking a tip from an old playbook—recall Al Capone ensconced at his South Florida mansion when the St. Valentines’ Day Massacre rocked Chicago— Bush slipped out of D.C. just as his erstwhile buddy Abramoff was facing the music (such as it was) in a Miami Federal courthouse.
For Bush it was clearly a smart move. But it also held eerie echoes of the circumstances surrounding the murder of Sun Cruz Casino gambling line czar Gus Boulis, which conveniently occurred while his chief antagonists Abramoff and Kidan were safely out of the country, and presumably innocent, by virtue of geographic distance.
It was fuzzy logic, as if the Age of Specialization had never happened to humanity, and we still lived in a world where everyone grew their own food and Mob Boss’s did their own hits.
But be that as it may—and thank God for small favors—there was Jack Abramoff, looking sheepish and properly humbled, standing before a U.S. District Court Judge being sentenced to federal prison.
So that’s where we’ll begin…
"When did newspapers stop reporting what happens every day?"
While going to court for sentencing is probably nobody's idea of fun, Wednesday actually turned out to be an exceptionally good day for disgraced Republican lobbyist Abramoff and co-defendant Adam Kidan.
It was 'high fives' all around, as U.S. District Judge Paul Huck accepted the plea of Abramoff's lawyers and gave him the shortest possible prison time.
How odd that news clips weren't reflecting this fact. They made it sound, in fact, as if he'd gotten his just desserts:
“U.S. District Judge Paul C. Huck sentenced Jack Abramoff and a former business partner to five years and 10 months in prison and ordered them to pay restitution of more than $21 million.”
It sounded almost draconian. But what news accounts left unmentioned was that for the same crimes someone without Casino Jack's, um, impeccable credentials would be looking at a slightly more severe scenario:
Twenty years of being somebody’s bitch in a world where cigarettes double as legal tender.
But what passes for reality in America today, lucky for Jack, consists of little more than a flimsy façade. For example, Abramoff got away with laundering millions of dollars through IRS-approved charitable foundations which didn’t even pretend to being real, with the following "mission statement":
“American International Center is a Delaware-based corporation with the global minded purpose of enhancing the methods of empowerment in possession of and within the United States.”
A man with a plan… a "global minded" plan
No wonder 263 people wrote Judge Huck to ask for clemency for Abramoff.
Perhaps this is why we haven’t seen stories reporting what really happened in the ongoing saga of Jack Abramoff during sentencing in Miami.
A real story would have had to start like this…
“After being sentenced to prison, Jack Abramoff and his co-defendant, henchman Adam Kidan, left a Federal courtroom in Miami on Wednesday walking on air…
Here's a newsflash for the AP, NY Times, and Washington Post: Abramoff and Kidan got a sweetheart deal that any convict would take in a heartbeat.
The message sent by Abramoff’s sentencing is anything but “Crime doesn’t pay.”
Of course, anyone capable of stealing $43 million and negotiating a sentence of just six years in a country club federal prison camp is guaranteed to become a legend in American jurisprudence.
For having negotiated the Deal of the Century he is about to go down in history…Credit where credit is due:
Jack Abramoff is a con’s con.
More mascara under the bridge
But wait. There’s more.
Abramoff and Kidan have also been promised further reductions in their already meager jail time, for ‘cooperating’ with authorities.
What “cooperating with authorities” means, in practice, primarily consists of “ratting out” some government pre-selected associates-turned-targets, leaning heavily towards inconsequential Congresspersons unfortunate enough to be less influential than their peers.
Big deal. A few schmucks are peeing their Sansabelts. If public outcry grows too loud, it appears there may even be a contingency plan: offering up Katherine Harris. Even die-hard Republicans aren't too troubled by that prospect.
So Jack’s cup truly runneth over. Being connected in America today truly does mean never having to say your sorry.
But before all this prompts you to hurl your new set of Ginzu knives at your TV in disgust, be advised of two slightly hopeful signs also at work:
1. Nothing is at it seems. And…
2. What we are seeing, so far, is just the tip of the iceberg.
What that means is that, under the right circumstances, this could really get interesting.
"Look out kid. They keep it all hid."
When Sun Cruz casino czar Gus Boulis was gunned down in a plot described by one reporter as featuring “three mugs, and a moll,” it set in motion a train of events which is today culminating in a situation which asks some momentous questions about the health (or even existence) of an American Republic.
What do Mob hit men in Florida have in common with high-powered Republican lobbyists? Could this be the biggest scandal in American history? Will it be allowed to break? Or will it, like Iran Contra and almost every other recent American scandal, by quietly but effectively covered up?
How will the powerful shadowy forces operating in the background—you know the ones— respond should there be inadvertent public disclosure of any of the truly earthshaking revelations out there waiting to be stumbled upon?
Won’t they be doing their darned-est to make sure nothing that unsettling occurs?
The roots of the Abramoff Scandal go so deep into the national Republican Party, and spread so wide, that we believe they will prove virtually impossible to ignore…even in an American press corps whose chief shared characteristic is the ability to stand stock still with their hair on fire while at the same time assuring their readers they can’t smell smoke.
Tomorrow, we’ll pull back the curtain, just a little, and get a quick glance at things as they are in the world, before they’re rewritten by soulless drudges at papers like the Los Angeles Times. A warning: Some parts of the story, we quickly discovered, were almost too cynical for words.
Remember Ronald Reagan's kitchen cabinet advisor, Alfred Bloomingdale? Betsy's hubby? He played a small but significant role in the Abramoff story, we will learn. And he was also and at the same time the central figure in a little-remembered sex scandal with a woman named Vicki Morgan, said to have involved all kinds of top Republican officials, caught on camera with their little pink things showing.
Anyone without both a strong stomach and an unerring sense of the absurd should be forewarned. The image of then-Attorney General Ed Meese reportedly playing kinky S & M games in the nude captured on videotape is perhaps one reason its been forgotten.
The murder of the chief witness is certainly another.
While pursuing leads in the story of how Jack Abramoff became Jack Abramoff we even learned details–heartbreaking details, really– about Kiki Camerena, the DEA agent tortured and murdered in Mexico.
While he's only tangentially involved (through his attorney) in the Abramoff saga, what we learned about him while pursuing the Abramoff story may change the way you think about the people running America.
And we'll learn that poking into the juncture of Gus Boulis and Jack Abramoff is sensitive enough for a reporter to hear some well-meaning concerns expressed about his physical health.
But… Abramoff's already been disgraced. So why is heretofore knowledge about his role in the murder of Gus Boulis considered a "threat to current operations?"
MONDAY: The Rise to Power of Jack Abramoff
NOTE: WE WILL BE POSTING AN UPDATE ON THE CURRENT LAWSUIT SHORTLY.