Abramoff Scandal Timeline

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Contents

1994

  • Jack Abramoff joins the lobbying firm of Preston Gates & Ellis.
  • Between 1994 and 2001, the Northern Mariana Islands paid $6.7 million to Preston Gates for lobbying services.

1995

  • Jack Abramoff is hired by the Mississippi band of Choctaw Indians to provide lobbying services, including on taxation and sovereignity issues. (Abramoff Information, p. 6)

1997

  • Jack Abramoff arranges for lawmakers and aides to take trips to the Marianas.

1998

  • Edwin Buckham, former chief of staff and an old family friend of House Majority Whip Rep. Tom DeLay, along with former DeLay aide Tony Rudy, ran the lobbying firm Alexander Strategy Group, which accepted a number of clients from Abramoff and paid Christine DeLay, wife of the Majority Whip, $115,000 for work from 1998 to 2002 to determine the favorite charity of every member of Congress.

1999

  • Abramoff allegedly arranged for more than $4 million of Preston Gates Ellis Native American client funds to be funneled into antigambling campaigns run by Reed from 1999 to 2003. The point was for Abramoff's Native American casino clients to pay for campaigns that would shut out potential competition from state lotteries or new casinos.
  • Edwin Buckham, Former chief of staff and an old family friend of House Majority Whip Rep. Tom DeLay, involved, along with former DeLay aide Mike Scanlon, in a 1999 effort by Abramoff to allegedly dangle U.S. tax dollars to influence a election for the speaker of the legislature in the Northern Mariana Islands. A few months later, DeLay was on a House committee that approved $150,000 in Northern Marianas funding.

July 1999

2000

  • Kidan was Abramoff's partner in a $147.5 million purchase in 2000 of a casino gambling boat company in Florida, SunCruz Casinos. Prosecutors say the purchase involved a fake wire transfer of $23 million and the falsification of loan documents. Both Kidan and Abramoff have been indicted on charges of wire fraud and conspiracy.
  • In 2000, Lapin's religious charity received a $25,000 donation from an online gambling company, eLottery, a lobbying client of Abramoff and Preston Gates Ellis. That money was then allegedly used to pay a Virginia consulting firm, Liberty Consulting, registered to Lisa Rudy, the wife of DeLay's deputy chief of staff, Tony Rudy. At that time Rudy had been instrumental in scuttling an antigambling bill, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, that eLottery and Abramoff wanted killed.
  • Abramoff also funneled a lucrative $1.2 million no-bid Northern Marianas Islands government contract to Lapin's brother, Los Angeles businessman Rabbi David Lapin, to conduct ethics-in-government programs there. But near as anyone in the Marianas can determine today, David Lapin failed to provide any services.

January 2000

February 2000

  • Gus Boulis enters serious negotiations to sell SunCruz Casinos to Abramoff and Kidan.

March 2000

March 30

  • Rep. Robert W. Ney's statement disparaging SunCruz Casino and Gus Boulis appears in the Congressional Record. (146 Cong. Rec. E469, Scanlon Plea, p. 15)

May 2000

  • Abramoff also allegedly misused a conservative D.C. think tank on whose board he served, the National Center for Public Policy Research. The group was allegedly used to launder $50,000 to pay for a May 2000 trip by DeLay, his wife, aide Tony Rudy, and another DeLay aide to Scotland. Trip to Scotland sponsored by the conservative D.C. think tank the National Center for Public Policy Research, one day after two Abramoff clients each donated $25,000 to the group. At about the same time, a Virginia consulting firm registered to Rudy's wife Lisa received money apparently laundered from a $25,000 donation received by a charity of Abramoff and DeLay friend Rabbi Daniel Lapin, Toward Tradition. Two months later, DeLay helped kill an anti-gambling bill, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, opposed by the two Abramoff clients, the Mississippi band of Choctaw Indians and eLottery.
  • Abramoff, DeLay and Rudy are among those on 10-day trip to Britain and Scotland, which includes golf at the St. Andrews course.

June 2000

  • Trip for DeLay aides to U.S. Open, aboard SunCruz corporate jet. Abramoff, Kidan, Rudy and SunCruz executive Joan Wagner are on the trip.
  • Gus Boulis agrees to sell SunCruz to Abramoff and Kidan.

July 2000

  • Tom DeLay helps kill an anti-gambling bill, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, opposed by Abramoff clients.

September 2000

September 18

  • SunCruz principals meet in New York to begin closing the deal. That same night, Adam Kidan and his lead financier, Greg Walker of Foothill Capital Corp., travel to Washington D.C. to join Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff for a DeLay event in the lobbyist's box during a Redskins-Cowboys game. (WaPo)

September 26

  • Terms of the SunCruz sale are finalized at $147.5 million. Gus Boulis retains a 10% stake. Jack Abramoff and Adam Kidan agree to put in $23 million cash; obtain a $60 million loan from Foothill Capital and another lender, Citadel Equity Fund; and to owe the balance to Boulis. (WaPo)

September 27

  • Adam Kidan and his partner Waldman each fax to the lender a document showing that Kidan wired the $23 million to Gus Boulis's bank. The wire transfer later will be at the center of a criminal inquiry, when lenders allege that the document was forged and the deal fraudulent because no money changed hands. (DOJ, WaPo)

October 2000

October 26

  • Rep. Robert W. Ney's statement praising Adam Kidan, the new owner of SunCruz Casino, for his "renowned reputation for honesty and integrity," appears in the Congressional Record. (146 Cong. Rec. 1953, Scanlon Plea, p. 15)

December 2000

December 5

  • Adam Kidan and Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis, new and old owners of SunCruz Casino, get into a fist fight. (WaPo)

December 21

  • Payments totaling $145,000 begin from SunCruz to Adam Kidan's associate, Anthony Moscatiello, and his daughter, for food and beverage consulting and other services. Moscatiello has been identified by law enforcement as an associate of the Gambino crime family.

2001

  • Jack Abramoff solicits $50,000 in payments from Wireless Telephone Company to Capital Athletics Fund, in exchange for which Abramoff would undertake lobbying efforts for the company, and that no payments to Abramoff's employer, Firm B, would be needed. Abramoff and Firm B lobby for the company through early 2002. Firm B is not made aware that payments for it's work are diverted to Capital Athletics Fund. (Abramoff Information, p. 8-9)
  • SunCruz pays Moon Over Miami Beach Inc. $95,000 for surveillance services. Anthony Ferrari is a principal in Moon Over Miami Beach. Ferrari and several associates also reportedly receive $10,000 in SunCruz casino chips. (WaPo)

Early 2001

  • Senator Conrad Burns, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the chair of an appropriations subcommittee that controls spending for the Interior Department, meets Abramoff's lobbying team at least eight times in early 2001 and collects $12,000 in donations. Burns votes against a bill that would have ended a "guest worker" program in the Northern Mariana Islands' garment industry; in 1999, he had voted in favor of an identical bill.

January 2001

  • Jack Abramoff switches lobbying firms from Preston Gates & Ellis to Greenberg Traurig.
  • Scanlon establishes Capitol Campaign Strategies LLC (CCS), a business to provide grass roots work, public relations services and election campaign support. Scalon also forms American International Center, Atlantic Research Analysis, and Scanlon Gould Public Affairs, which are used largely to receive money for services and work performed by CCS. (Scanlon Plea, p. 15, Abramoff Information, p. 2)

January 20

January 28

  • Jack Abramoff arranges for Capitol Hill staffers to fly to Tampa and the Super Bowl as part of his lobbying efforts on behalf of Indian tribes and the SunCruz casino ships (St. Petersburg Times). Will M. Brooke, then chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns; former Burns staffer Ryan Thomas, who worked for the Senate Appropriations Committee; Tim Berry, a top aide to Tom DeLay; and Tony Rudy, a former DeLay aide who went to work for Abramoff, take the trip.

Early 2001

February 2001

February 6

  • Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis is killed in a gangland style hit in Fort Lauderdale.
Three men -- Anthony Moscatiello, Anthony Ferrari, and James Fiorillo -- were charged in September 2005 in the Boulis killing. Kidan had hired Moscatiello and Ferrari to provide catering and surveillance services to SunCruz. Moscatiello, identified by authorities as a former bookkeeper for the Gambino crime family, asserted after his arrest that Ferrari had admitted to him that he and another man killed Boulis after getting a call from Kidan.

March 2001

  • Jack Abramoff and Michael Scanlon solicit the Louisiana Coushatta tribe to hire them for lobbying and grassroots services (Abramoff Information, p. 6). After the first payment to Scanlon's CSS, Abramoff advises the Louisiana Coushatta tribe to rehire CSS, concealing his 50% kickback arrangement. From March 2001 through May 2003, Abramoff receives $11.4 million in kickbacks from CSS of the tribe (Abramoff Information, p. 7).

March 6 to March 22

  • For Jack Abramoff, Ralph Reed organizes "grass roots" efforts against a Louisiana riverboat bill. Reed organizes "patch-through" calls to representatives about the bill, and gets a group of African American pastors to hold a rally. Abramoff for Greenberg Traurig LLC requests a $400,000 "urgent wire transfer" from Van Hoof & Associates to Michael Scanlon's American International Center for public affairs efforts on regional gaming issues. The American International Center pays CSS hundreds of thousands of dollars for research and advocacy, consulting, and professional services. (Abramoff documents, #1 though 25)

March 27

June 2001

  • Sen. Conrad Burns supports a bill that urged the Interior Department to rescind a requirement that the Marianas provide matching funds for a federal program subsidizing local construction projects.


June 22

  • SunCruz files for bankruptcy protection. Within two weeks, Adam Kidan, Jack Abramoff and the Gus Boulis estate reach settlement. Lenders later allege the settlement was aimed to conceal the fraud in the sale of the company. (WaPo)

June 2001 through April 2004


August 2001


September 2001

September 7

  • Preston Gates sues the Republic of the Marshall Islands for unpaid fess. (Complaint)

2002

  • In 2002 the Choctaw tribe, a client of Abramoff's, donates $1 million to the National Center for Public Policy Research (Abramoff on board).
  • Ney and California tribe about taxation and post office. (Scanlon Plea, p. 16)

January 2002

February 2002

  • After $4.2 million payment to CSS, Abramoff conceals from the tribe his work to oppose Texas efforts to reopening the casino. Abramoff represented to the tribe he would work for free, in fact, he received $1.8 million from CSS in kickback payments. (Abramoff Information, p. 8)


March 2002

  • In March 2002, Abramoff instructed the Louisiana Coushatta Indians to give $5,000 to Sen Byron Dorgan's PAC weeks after Dorgan solicited support for a school funding program the tribe wanted to use. The check was one of about five dozen the Coushatta sent to various lawmakers' campaigns and political causes at Abramoff's instruction.
  • Abramoff and Staffer B lobbied Representative 1, and the House Committee that he chaired on behalf of their clients. This was illegal because it occurred within one year of the time that Staffer B has been the Staff Director of that Comittee, and Chief of Staff to Representative 1. Staffer B is rumored to be Neil Volz, and Representative 1 is rumored to be Robert W. Ney. (Abramoff Information, p. 10) (Financial Times, January 16, 2006, p.4)

March 20

March 26

  • Jack Abramoff directs Tigua tribal officials to make three contributions totaling $32,000 to Robert Ney's campaign and political action committees. (WaPo)

June 2002

  • Jack Abramoff encourages the Michigan Saginaw Chippewa tribe to expand its contract with CSS, concealing his 50% kickback arrangement. (Abramoff Information, p. 7)
  • Robert Ney agrees to back legislative language that would benefit another Texas tribe. (Scanlon Plea, p. 12)

June 6

June 2002 through October 2003

August 2002

  • Robert Ney meets with the Tigua tribe to assure them they are well-represented by Abramoff and that Abramoff will continue to work for their legislation. (Scanlon Plea, p. 16)
  • Abramoff takes Ney, David Safavian, and Ralph Reed, among others, on chartered flight to Scotland, with golf on the St. Andrews course. (WaPo)
Safavian will be charged with lying to a GSA ethics officer when he said Abramoff was not seeking business with the agency at the time the lobbyist paid his trip. Abramoff was trying to get GSA approval for leases of the Old Post Office Pavilion in Washington for an Indian tribe to develop and for federal property in Silver Spring, Md., for use by his school.

November 2002

  • Federal prosecutors in Florida begin a criminal inquiry of the SunCruz sale, focusing on the missing $23 million. (WaPo)

November 18

  • A federal grand jury in Guam subpoenas the Guam Superior Court for records involving a lobbying contract with Jack Abramoff.

November 19

  • The chief prosecutor in the Guam case, U.S. Atty. Frederick A. Black, is demoted. (LA Times)

December 2002

2003

  • Jack Abramoff uses the National Center for Public Policy Research to convert $1.275 million from an offshore gambling client to Kaygold, an LLC controlled by Abramoff (LA Times).
  • Senator Byron Dorgan pushes Congress to approve legislative language urging government regulators to decide whether the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, an Abramoff client, deserve federal recognition.
  • Ed Miller, Deputy chief of staff for Republican Maryland governor Robert Ehrlich, a recipient of Abramoff campaign donations. Miller formerly ran the firm Grassroots Interactive; in 2003, his firm was the recipient of $2 million from Abramoff in fees improperly diverted from Tyco Inc. and their chief lobbyist, Timothy Flanagan. Flanagan would later be the Bush administration's choice to become deputy Attorney General under Alberto Gonzales; his nomination would fail because of his ties to Abramoff.

April 2003

  • A U.S. Court of Appeals throws out the 2001 bankruptcy settlement between the Boulis estate, Kidan and Abramoff, saying it was full of conflicts of interest. (WaPo)

April 9

  • The Coushatta tribe pays the American International Center $2.3 million for political and grass-roots work. Four days later, Michael Scanlon transfers $1.3 million to his consulting firm and $991,000 to Kaygold. Scanlon spends all but $15,000 of his share for work on his home and other personal needs. (LA Times)

May 2003

  • Jack Abramoff establishes GrassRoots Interactive, the company purportedly to provide grass roots work, public relations services and election campaign support. (Abramoff Information, p. 2)

May 30

  • SunCruz lenders Foothill Capital and Citadel Equity Fund sue to recover $60 million in loans to Kidan and Abramoff, alleging that the buyers never put up the cash they had promised to inject into the deal. (WaPo)

June 2003

  • Rep. Dennis Hastert, House Majority Leader, holds a fundraiser at Abramoff's Signatures restaurant in D.C. in June 2003 that collects at least $21,500 for Hastert's Keep Our Majority PAC from Abramoff's firm and tribal clients. A week later, Hastert writes Interior Secretary Gale Norton to urge her to reject a casino of the Jena band of Choctaw that would have competed with an Abramoff client. Between 1999-2004 received $82,000 from Abramoff.

September 2003

September 21

  • The Daily Town Talk newspaper in Alexandria, La. reports that an internal audit by the Louisiana Coushatta tribe finds that the tribe spent $18 million in one year on lobbyists and lawyers, mostly to Abramoff and Scanlon.

2004

February 2004

  • The Washington Post reports that Abramoff and Scanlon have received at least $45 million from tribes with casinos.


March 2004

March 2

  • Abramoff leaves Greenberg Traurig. In statement, the firm says Abramoff "disclosed to the firm for the first time personal transactions and related conduct which are unacceptable to the firm." (WaPo)

2005

August 2005

  • Jack Abramoff and Adam Kidan are indicted by a Florida grand jury on wire fraud and conspiracy charges in a Florida gambling boat venture, SunCruz Casinos. Prosecutors say the purchase by the two of a fleet of casino gambling ships in 2000 for $147.5 million involved a fake wire transfer of $23 million and the falsification of loan documents. For the purchase, Abramoff listed Tony Rudy, then a DeLay aide, and Californian Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher as personal references.
  • James Fiorillo, according to the St. Augustine Record, finds himself in the St. Johns County (FL) county lock-up on grand theft and cocaine possession charges. (May be entirely unrelated to the Boulis murder indictments forthcoming in the following month, but it's, at minimum, a curiosity. (St. Augustine Record)

September 2005

September 19

  • General Services Administration head David Safavian is arrested for lying and obstruction of justice in conjunction with the investigation into Abramoff's seeking of favors from Safavian while he attempted to buy land from the federal government. (WaPo)

September 27

  • Anthony Moscatiello, Anthony Ferrari, and James Fiorillo are indicted for the Feb. 6, 2001 murder of Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis. (WaPo)

October 2005

  • David H. Safavian, head of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy and the White House Office of Management and Budget, is indicted on charges of lying to federal investigators in the corruption investigation.


November 2005

November 21

  • Michael Scanlon enters a plea agreement with prosecutors, to a count of conspiracy to commit bribery and mail and wire fraud. (Scanlon Plea)

December 2005

December 15

  • Adam Kidan pleads guilty to fraud and conspiracy charges in the purchase of SunCruz. (DOJ, AP)

2006

January 2006

January 3

  • Jack Abramoff pleads guilty to three counts of criminal wrongdoing and agrees to cooperate with a Justice Department probe. The plea is to one count each of conspiracy, honest services mail fraud, and tax evasion. (Abramoff Information, Bloomberg, NYT)

Bibliography

Abramoff: The House That Jack Built, Think Progress. Guide to players.

Audit Says Guam Court Secretly Hired Lobbyist, LA Times, (December 20, 2005).

Plea Deal Near With 2nd Abramoff Associate, Washington Post (December 9, 2005).

To Russia, Love Tom DeLay, Russ Baker, TomPaine (January 4, 2006).

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