Jack Abramoff's co-defendant cops a plea

"Oh boy. That's not a good development for Jack Abramoff," writes Josh Marshall, pointing to this story in the Sun-Sentinel: Jack Abramoff's former business partner Adam Kidan is expected to testify against him in the SunCruz case.

Here's how the SunCruz deal allegedly went down: Abramoff and Kidan wanted to buy the fleet of gambling vessels, but neither had enough money. So, they tried to borrow $147 million from two venture capital firms. The firms wouldn't give them the loan unless the partners kicked in $23 million of their own money.

Abramoff and Kidan didn't have $23 million lying around, and they didn't have good enough credit to get a legitimate loan. So, they found some other lenders who were willing to give them "short-term loans" in exchange for a cut of SunCruz. These loans made the partners look good enough on paper to satisfy the venture capitalists.

Abramoff and Kidan told the venture capitalists that they'd paid SunCruz owner Gus Boulis the $23 million, but they hadn't. Instead, they'd cut a secret deal with Boulis. The partners agreed to pay him most of the money later and to allow him to retain some control over SunCruz through a shell company.

Boulis maintained that he never saw any money. Relations between Kidan and Boulis rapidly soured. The two exchanged lawsuits and threats for several months before Boulis's murder.

Eventually, Kidan got in touch some of his old friends in the mafia. Boulis was gunned down and three of Kidan's associates were charged with the murder. One later testified that Kidan had ordered the hit.

Kidan has never been charged in connection with Boulis's death. So, you can see why he might be especially motivated to cooperate with the feds against Abramoff.

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