Kidan is expected to admit to fraud
One of the partners in the $147.5 million SunCruz sale five years ago is expected to plead guilty next week to fraud charges, according to law enforcement sources.
BY WANDA J. DeMARZO AND JAY WEAVER
Adam Kidan, the New York businessman who teamed up with a powerful Washington, D.C., lobbyist to buy SunCruz Casinos, has agreed to plead guilty to defrauding lenders in the $147.5 million purchase five years ago, according to sources familiar with the federal criminal case.
Kidan, 41, indicted along with Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, is expected to enter his plea next Thursday before a federal judge in Fort Lauderdale.
Several attempts to reach Kidan's attorneys Thursday were unsuccessful.
Abramoff, 46, is also discussing a possible plea deal with federal prosecutors, sources say.
But Abramoff's attorney, Neal Sonnett, said he is preparing to defend his client at trial, which is set for Jan. 9 before U.S. District Judge Paul Huck. Sonnett declined further comment.
According to an indictment returned in August, Abramoff and Kidan lied to lenders to qualify for a $60 million loan to buy the Broward County casino fleet from Konstantinos ''Gus'' Boulis. He was the former SunCruz owner, gunned down in February 2001 just five months after the sale.
Prosecutors allege the pair were required to invest $23 million to qualify for the financing but made no down payment in the SunCruz deal -- although Abramoff's lawyer claims it was Kidan who was supposed to put up all that money.
Law enforcement sources say, however, that correspondence between the two men and a Washington lobbyist who worked with Abramoff incriminates the SunCruz partners in the alleged scheme. The lobbyist, Michael Scanlon, recently cut a plea deal with Washington prosecutors in an influence-peddling investigation that parallels the SunCruz criminal case.
Scanlon is cooperating with Washington prosecutors as well as those in South Florida, according to his plea agreement.
The SunCruz fraud indictment sent shock waves from South Florida to Washington this summer. Abramoff already was the target of a Justice Department investigation into his lobbying activities with Scanlon on behalf of a half-dozen Indian tribes that own casinos.
Meanwhile, Fort Lauderdale police wanted to talk with the SunCruz partners -- especially Kidan -- about what they knew of Boulis' mob-style shooting.
In September, the Broward State Attorney's Office charged three men with Boulis' murder -- including one defendant with longtime ties to a New York organized crime family.
In court documents released last month, one of the men accused of conspiring to kill Gus Boulis blamed Kidan.
Anthony Moscatiello, associate and pal of the late Gambino family crime boss John Gotti, told police after his arrest in New York that Anthony Ferrari told him that it was Kidan who ordered him to kill Boulis.
Moscatiello said: ''Tony Ferrari got a call from Adam Kidan in Europe telling Tony to do this and not to pay any attention to anything I said -- and I went nuts!'' Moscatiello told police that when he confronted Kidan, Kidan denied it.
Moscatiello, 67, Ferrari, 48, and James Fiorillo, 28, are charged in the Feb. 6, 2001 slaying of Boulis, the founder of Miami Subs and SunCruz Casinos.
All three, in the Broward County Jail, have pleaded not guilty. Kidan has not been charged in Boulis' killing. But the case is not considered closed by homicide detectives. Fort Lauderdale detectives have said additional arrests could be forthcoming.
Ferrari's and Moscatiello's only known ties to Boulis were through Kidan, a New York entrepreneur who bought SunCruz from Boulis about five months before the killing.
Court records show that Moscatiello and Ferrari were paid $250,000 by Kidan in the months before and after the slaying. Kidan has said he hired them for security and catering purposes.
Moscatiello, of Howard Beach, N.Y., received $145,000. Ferrari got $105,000 through his company, Moon over Miami Beach, according to U.S. Bankruptcy Court records.
Boulis, 51, was shot to death at the wheel of his Mercedes-Benz at an intersection on Miami Avenue in Fort Lauderdale.
SunCruz, which Boulis had sold in late September 2000 to Abramoff and Kidan, was then at the center of a bitter legal dispute. The company filed for bankruptcy in June of the following year, and has since reemerged under new owners.