“One shakedown the post-Prohibition Mafiosi borrowed from the defunct
Black Hand was setting up phony “security” companies… Merchants
who decline to sign up with spurious watchguard services often found their
windows smashed or their premises ravaged by suspicious fires.”
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 thinking?
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 turned out.
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.
To get some idea of the immensity of Mr. Abramoff's accomplishment, one need
only picture Ed Meese and Dick Cheney going
to the mattresses.
"I 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
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... what
Vito, Edgar, meet a friend of ours, Chief Stands-with-Pair
Not 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 every day.
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.
Take 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 gaming industry...
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.
“Meyer 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 us matter-of-factly.
In 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 Lansky.
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
“The 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,”
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 money.
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
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.
Being connected means never having to say you’re
When 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
"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 cement shoes.”
The More Things Change...
Mob Bosses Frank Costello and Lucky Luciano attended the 1932 Democratic Convention
that nominated F.D.R.
By 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...
No wonder Gore lost Florida.
One 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.
He 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!)
...The 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 River.
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.
Edgar 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
"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.”
In 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, serious business.
SunCruz 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
Except, to do that, Kidan and Abramoff first needed to get rid of Boulis.
So Adam Kidan wrote $250,000 in company checks to men who are today about to
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.”
He couldn’t very well say they were for the Black Hand.
Yet Kidan has not been charged with any crime in Boulis' murder.
"Actual business tactics" for Dummies
In 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
We 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.”
Rabbi 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.”
He 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."
A "seductive 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
Newsday reported that Kidan was giving its readers “a unique insight
into a seductive, yet fraudulent netherworld.”
"Never 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.
If 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
There's always a few bad apples... Don't mean nuthin.'
The Jack Abramoff Scandal is being prettified. The 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 Series.
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
Their meetings, President Bush insisted, were just innocent “grip-and-grin”
encounters. “It’s part of the job of the president to shake
hands with people and smile,” Bush remarked.
Too bad it isn't true.
Our attitude about what's going on is that we feel a little like the bitter
hero of Hemingway’s "The Sun Also Rises," who
spoils the romantic musings of the love of his life, Lady Brett, after she's
gushed about how--if only Jake hadn’t had a certain unmentionable
male organ blown off by a land mine in World War I--they could have had
a damned fine life together.
In the novel's closing line, Jake replies, "Isn't it pretty to
Once you've lost your illusions, there's no getting them back.
While awaiting sentencing, Kidan told a reporter, "I look forward to cooperating
and getting on with my life.”
What we’d like to say to him is: "Not so fast, pal."
Abramoff admitted in interviews that his business was shot through with illegalities.
Gus Boulis was shot through too. Three times.
And we don’t hear Jack saying much about that.
Not yet, at least.