Friday, December 16, 2005

Gus Boulis is back in the news

The worsening scandal connected to lobbyist-turned-restaurateur Jack Abramoff has touched another notorious character from the industry, though he was murdered in 2001. Gus Boulis, the founder and longtime owner of Miami Subs, was shot gangland-style in his car after he'd sold a controlling interesting in his fleet of Florida-based casino boats for some $148 million. One of the buyers was Adam Kidan, who yesterday pleaded guilty to conspiracy and fraud charges related to the purchase. The other buyer: Jack Abramoff.

Kidan was accused of faking the wire transfer of some $23 million to meet a lender's requirement for what was in effect a down payment on the boating firm. He has said he knew two of the three individuals who were recently arrested in connection with Boulis' murder. News reports have speculated that Kidan's plea deal may include cooperating with authorities who are still trying to determine why Boulis was killed.

Boulis had a reputation as a brilliant entrepreneur, but someone who seemed comfortable with conducting business in the shadows. He retained a stake in the SunCruz line, but had reportedly feuded with partners Kidan and Abramoff.

Abramoff is under investigation for charges similar to those brought against Kidan. Meanwhile, investigators are also probing his high-level lobbying activities. The latter endeavors revealed that Abramoff owned a restaurant in Washington, D.C., Signatures, where he often entertained clients and lawmakers.

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