Tuesday, April 04, 2006

DeLay implicated in Florida gangland hit of casino boats owner.

Former GOP Majority Leader Tom DeLay's surprise announcement that he will resign from Congress in a few weeks and not stand for re-election after winning the GOP primary in his Houston area district came after a bombshell was dropped in the Broward County, Florida trial of former John Gotti hit man Anthony "Big Tony" Moscatiello for the February 2001 gangland slaying of Sun Cruz casino boat owner Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis. Moscatiello is on trial with Anthony "Little Tony" Ferrari and James "Pudgy" Fiorillo in the murder of Boulis.

On April 1, the Miami Herald reported that Moscatiello was a long time informant for the FBI at the time of the murder of Boulis. Moscatiello quit his association with the the FBI shortly after the murder of Boulis. Recently convicted GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his colleague Adam Kidan forced Boulis to sell Sun Cruz Casino Cruises to them in a scheme engineered by Gov. Jeb Bus to establish a GOP money launcering contrivance. The state pressured Boulis, a Greek national, to sell Sun Cruz to Abramoff because of an obscure state requirement that shipping companies be owned by U.S. citizens. Jeb Bush, using Florida's regulatory mechanisms behind the scenes, ensured Boulis was pressured to divest his interests in Sun Cruz to Abramoff.

WMR sources report that Broward County prosecutors are livid about the failure of the FBI to inform them that Moscatiello was an FBI informant at the time of the Boulis murder. They are convinced that the George W. and Jeb Bush administrations in Washington and Tallahassee, respectively, deliberately blocked the prosecution from linking Moscatiello to the criminal cases against Abramoff and Kidan. Kidan placed Moscatiello and Ferrari on the Sun Cruz payroll after Abramoff assumed control of the company. Abramoff and Kidan were sentenced to over 5 years in prison last week for lying to financers in their purchase of Sun Cruz from Boulis. The light sentences were the result of plea agreements in which they promised to cooperate with federal prosecutors.

However, the Sun Cruz case goes far beyond Abramoff and involves DeLay, according to informed sources. The Broward County prosecutors believe that the FBI's written summaries (FD-302s) of their interviews with Moscatiello were withheld from the prosecution by the FBI in order to protect senior GOP officials. Had the prosecution known Moscatiello was an FBI informer, he could have been offered a plea bargain in return for his cooperation against Republican politicians in Florida and Washington, DC.

The story behind the story: DeLay's involvement with Florida gangland mobsters probed by prosecutors stymied by withheld FBI interview forms and obstruction from George W. and Jeb Bush.

Prosecutors and investigative reporters in Miami and Fort Lauderdale are focusing on the time line involving Sun Cruz, Boulis, Abramoff, and DeLay. In February 2000, Abramoff began negotiations with Boulis for the sale of Sun Cruz, which Boulis eventually sold to Abramoff for a mere $147 million. At the time, Abramoff was a lobbyist for the well-connected Preston Gates law firm. After the November 2000 election of George W. Bush, Boulis protested that he had been defrauded by Abramoff and Kidan in the sale of Sun Cruz. To avoid legal issues, Abramoff and Kidan began to make legal moves to move Sun Cruz's corporate headquarters from Florida to the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas.

On December 13, 2000, Abramoff's Sun Cruz paid $145,000 to Moscatiello for "consulting services." On January 19, 2001, one day prior to the inauguration of George W. Bush, Boulis filed court action to block Abramoff's and Kidan's involvement with Sun Cruz. On January 20, 2001, Kidan and former DeLay aide Michael Scanlon met in DeLay's congressional office in Washington to "officially" celebrate the Bush inauguration. Scanlon, former DeLay aide Tony Rudy, Abramoff, and Kidan are all cooperating with federal prosecutors after agreeing to plea agreements.

On January 25, 2001, Abramoff reportedly flew DeLay's senior staffer Tim Berry, named his chief of staff in 2002, to Tampa for the Super Bowl and a meeting on one of the Sun Cruz casino boats. Suspiciously, Berry did not report the trip on disclosure forms, something DeLay's office later called an "honest mistake."

On February 6, 2001, Boulis was shot to death in his car after leaving his Fort Lauderdale office. Florida prosecutors have uncovered preliminary evidence that Sun Cruz was wrested from Boulis to enable hundreds of millions of dollars in cash could be laundered into GOP campaigns, including the DeLay and Bush-Cheney 2004 campaigns, from the casino boats.