On Feb. 6,2001 Gus Boulis left his office in Fort Lauderdale about 9:30 p.m. and took a shortcut on his way home to Hollywood, FL. A car stopped in front of him, and then a black Ford Mustang with temporary tags pulled up next to Boulis, and someone in the car shot him at least three times with a semi-automatic weapon.
Jan 23 2006–Venice,FL.
by Daniel Hopsicker
Handcuffed, in leg chains, and wearing gray and white striped prison jumpsuits, “Big Tony” Moscatiello and accused triggerman James “Pudgy” Fiorello sat and listened Friday as prosecutors revealed some of the evidence against them in the slaying of casino gambling ship czar Boulis.
The men charged, and those still blissfully un-indicted, have been quick to protest—not just their innocence, as might be expected—but also their intelligence.
When police arrived to arrest Anthony “Big Tony” Moscatiello in Howard’s Beach, NY, for example, he was at pains to remind them of his status as a Wise Guy.
“I have a 152 IQ,” he boasted to arresting officers.
Don’t ask if you don’t want to know
When asked why he’d written checks totaling a quarter million dollars to Gambino hit men alleged to have committed the murder, Adam Kidan, whose status as a former National College Republican official seems to have served as a shield against hostile questioning by the authorities, angrily protested to The Miami Herald that he weren’t no dunsky, neither…
“Now, you need to ask yourself a couple of questions. If I’m going to pay to have Gus killed, am I going to be writing checks to the killers? I don’t think so. Why would I leave a paper trail? It’s crazy… Do I look stupid to you?”
(According to court filings the checks were recorded on Sun Cruz’s books as ‘donations’ or ‘site development’ to disguise the true nature of the transactions, so, should he ever be charged in the case Mr. Kidan may, sadly, be in for something of a surprise.)
The reason for this sensitivity about the ability to chew gum while walking became clear during a bail reduction hearing in a Fort Lauderdale FL. courtroom last Friday, when we caught our first glimpse of the “dog-walking, food-fetching, car-washing, baby-sitting” wannabe gangster sitting slack-jawed and droopy-eyed while being accused of gunning down Gus Boulis.
Pudgy is as Pudgy does
James “Pudgy” Fiorello comes by his nickname honest, as they say in the South. He could easily be taken for a character straight out of one of Elmore Leonard’s funnier crime novels, except he can’t be presumed to be any more of a sap than we are, if we accept the official story offered so far in the case, which is an insult to the intelligence of the American people.
Were it not for the fact that it is emblematic of the unsound methods utilized so widely during the recent Mob-aided GOP take-over of our once-proud Republic, one might be able to appreciate it as yet-another colorful example of the Sunshine State’s penchant for over-the top scandals once described as being “just too Cuban for words.”
Just how are we being taken for a ride this time?
Let’s take a look.
Listen up Mr. Green, Mr. Black… and you too, Mr. Pink
Hardly anything about the official explanation offered so far of the Gus Boulis murder stands up to close scrutiny…
Adam Kidan, for example, was a disbarred lawyer and proud owner of a bankrupt Washington, D.C. mattress company… Do these seem the credentials of a man who’s just received a $60 million dollar loan?
No one in authority seems ready to ask.
This gaping anomaly has been skated over as if it were thin ice covering murky depths no one is interested in plumbing.
When a reporter inquired of a Foothill Capital executive about their seemingly lax loan criteria, he replied, “You would have had to be there.”
But wait. There’s more…
According to testimony during the bail hearing, within just 24 hours of the murder a man involved in the plot to kill the casino czar had come forward and contacted police with details of the crime.
Yet for more than four years no one was charged with murdering Gus Boulis. Maybe they were just waiting for the right moment, do y’think?
The FBI dropped the ball? Now that is a surprise.
In fact, testimony at the hearing offered indications that—had it not been for the adverse publicity accorded Republican lobbyist Casino Jack Abramoff during John McCain’s Indian gambling hearings recently—the murder might have gone straight to video, as they say out West.
Cops could tell without even asking that it belonged in the already-bursting South Florida Cold Case File labeled Too Hot to Touch.
The judge would not allow the media to take photos or video of Dwayne Nicholson, a beefy 40ish black man wearing glasses and a suit with matching shiny tie, after prosecutors said he feared for his life.
“I phoned an FBI agent up in Baltimore,” testified the state’s key witness, Dwayne Nicholson, who had worked as a bodyguard for Anthony “Little Tony” Ferrari…”I must have left six messages for her. My wife called a bunch of times too. No one ever called back.”
“He owned a bunch of night clubs in South Beach, and I would follow him aound as he made his rounds, doing security work, you know, watching his back. Three months after I met him I started collecting money for him, too, from people who owed him money, and talking to people he had a problem with.”
“Little Tony” Ferrari talked a lot about ‘The Family’ up in New York,” Nicholson testified. “He was always mentioning his Uncle John (Gotti) and Uncle Peter (Gotti.)”
An arm of leg, sure. That I can do.
“Several months before Boulis’ murder Ferrari began telling me about the big contract my security company was going to get to do security work for Sun Cruz Casino Lines,” stated Nicholson.
“We would have to get someone, Jennifer Moscatiello, to front for me, because I had felonies up in Baltimore,” explained Nicholson, who has a gun conviction in Maryland.
“Then Tony began talking about problems he was having with one of the old owners. He told me there were problems with the deal. The old owner wasn’t cooperating, wouldn’t step out of the way.”
Ferrari asked Nicholson if he would “take him out.”
“I told him, straight up, I can’t kill someone,” Nicholson testified. “I might break an arm or a leg, though. If you want me to break his leg or arm, I could do that.”
Don’t worry about it, Little Tony told him. “I’ll take care of it.”
The very next day, he and Ferrari drove to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, to pick up “Big Tony” Moscatiello, who had flown in from New York on a Learjet, accompanied by Adam Kidan and his brother-in-law, Nicholson said.
Nicholson joined Moscatiello and Ferrari in the “big car,” a long Mercedes. Pudgy Fiorello followed in a the tail car, a Cadillac.
The three men discussed “taking care of Gus,” Nicholson said. “Big Tony said, ‘Everything has to be done right. There’s too much at stake.’”
To his surprise, Nicholson heard Little Tony reply, “Don’t worry, Dwayne will take care of it.”
In the back seat, Nicholson rode in silence. He played along, he said.
Nicholson told the court, “Big Tony turned around and said, ‘The only reason we are talking in front of you is because Little Tony said I can trust you, he trusts you with his life. He trusts you with his family’s life. I trust him, therefore, I have to trust you. If this conversation goes anywhere else or is heard anywhere else, I have to take care of you.'”
After talking with Moscatiello, Nicholson said he immediately began fearing for his life.
“What were you thinking?” the prosecutor asked.
“I was thinking, ‘oh shit. I’m all fucked up now,’” confessed Nicholson.
Three months later Boulis was killed.
Adam takes care of a little problem with the police
Before dropping Big Tony at his beachfront hotel, they swung by the headquarters of Sun Cruz, where Little Tony pointed out a black Blazer which Gus Boulis drove, at the back of the parking lot.
“He asked me to find out where Gus hung out, to do surveillance,” testified Nicholson. He said he was shown a picture of Boulis. “It was like a real old picture. He was wearing like a leisure suit and a shirt with polka dots and shit.”
Several weeks later, Nicholson said he was surveilling Boulis in the parking lot outside Sun Cruz with Pudgy Fiorello, sitting in a black Mustang belonging to Fiorello, when the two men were approached by police, suspicious about what they were doing.
“They ran our identifications, and checked the car, and it all came back clean” Nicholson said. “We told the cops we were looking for a hotel to stay at, and they believed us.”
When Little Tony heard about the police stop, he immediately phoned Adam Kidan, the new head of Sun Cruz, who told him to tell us id we were stopped again to say we were doing security for him at Sun Cruz, and he would back up our story,” Nicholson testified.
A week later, while watching a Sun Cruz casino boat looking for Boulis, the men were again stopped by Fort Lauderdale police. “They got Adam on the phone, and he vouched for us,” Nicholson stated.
Keeping a safe distance away from the Bada-Bing
Soon thereafter, Nicholson said he began avoiding Little Tony, attempting to shrink his way out of participating in the hit. He told detectives he was supposed to travel to Fort Lauderdale the day of the killing but purposefully had not answered his phone to avoid getting involved.
While watching the news on television one evening, he learned that Boulis had been gunned down, gangland style, and that police were looking for a black Mustang.
Nicholson immediately realized he had exposure.
He had been stopped in the same car by police. They had his name. But he was equally worried about his companions. “I said, oh shit. I was supposed to be there. Now they’re going to come after me.”
His cell phone began ringing insistently. He said he ignored it.
“I sat on the edge of the bed in my bedroom, feeling totally lost,” Nicholson said. “Then I called Crimestoppers and told them what I knew. They said, we cant do anything. You’ve got to call the police.”
“I said, I cant talk to the police,” Nicholson testified. They asked why not. I said, ‘Because I don’t trust the police. For all I knew, they might report anything I said back to Little Tony.”
“So I finally called Fort Lauderdale homicide. I figured, by that time, I had nothing to lose.”
Then, a week after the murder, the call he’d been dreading came through. Little Tony wanted to see him. Why hadn’t he been coming around? Why wasn’t he returning his calls?
What Republicans mean by ‘Family Values’
“I told him I was scared he was going to kill me,” said Nicholson. “He said, ‘I swear on my daughters’ life nothing will happen to you.’”
Nicholson was talked into wearing a wire by detectives. But Little Tony was deliberately vague in conversation with him, perhaps mistrusting him already, he said.
Then one day Pudgy came by the house, and told me Little Tony wanted to see us, and that we should drive up to Venice, where his mother lived. In the car on the way, Nicholson testified that Fiorello admitted to shooting Boulis. Then Pudgy turned to him and asked plaintively,” Tell me the truth… Are you going to kill me?”
Nicholson replied he’s been wondering the same thing.
When they arrived in Venus, FL., Little Tony came out of his mother’s house, and motioned Nicholson to move off a few feet while he talked to Fiorello.
“He said to Pudgy, ‘What the fuck, man,'” testified Nicholson. “‘What do you think you’re doing? Why have you been running your mouth off up in New York?’
“And Pudgy replied, ‘You got paid! Everybody got paid. Except me! And I’m the one that did it! You’re all fucking me out of my money!’”
“Little Tony pointed to me, and said, ‘What, do you think he’s dumb? I ought to bust you right here! He’s standing right there and he heard every word!’”
Why it never hurts to pay your respects
Turns out, Anthony “Little Tony” Ferrari isn’t your average rent-a-thug.
According to the June 9, 2004 Washington Post, Ferrari checked into Washington’s posh Madison Hotel for President Ronald Reagan’s funeral, along with his family and a “five-car entourage of aides.”
He told the Post he even met Reagan once:
“Miami Beach business consultant Anthony Ferrari, his wife, Jessie, their young daughter and a five-car entourage of aides already were encamped at the Madison Hotel yesterday. Ferrari hoped to see the horse-drawn procession to the Capitol tonight and perhaps see Reagan’s coffin in the Capitol Rotunda tomorrow.”
“I’m a big fan of President Reagan,” Little Tony is quoted as saying. “I met him once. The man had a big impact on America. He really loved this country and it showed.”
Perhaps instinctively knowing that in America today “Being connected means never having to say you’re sorry,” Dwayne Nicholson testified that Pudgy Fiorello told him he’d written a letter detailing the role played in the murder by Little Tony, and given it to his girlfriend, to be sent to police in the event of his early demise.
“He said to me, ‘I’ll watch your back if you’ll watch mine'” said Nicholson.
For his part, “Big Tony” Moscatiello, after his September arrest, told investigators that Fiorello and Ferrari had admitted their involvement in the crime. Moscatiello claimed Ferrari told him that Adam Kidan had ordered the hit.
A New York native and former Dial-A-Mattress franchisee, Kidan had done business with people who had done business with the Gambino crime family. His mother was killed in 1993 in a mob robbery gone awry.
Yet Adam Kidan has never been named as a suspect. The reason?
Prosecutors would have a hard time convincing a jury that the buck stopped with him. This is the man, after all, who wrote checks for the hit.
So it apparently pays to be an Abramoff flunky. Because Jack can be expected to keep his mouth shut and do his five years like a man.
But nobody in a position to affect the outcome of the case apparently wants to leave Casino Jack Abramoff totally without recourse, facing life behind without parole… dangling slowly, slowly, in the wind.
Because under those circumstances, nobody knows who he might drop a dime on.
And that’s when the Abramoff Scandal might, truly, go rogue.