Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis (Greek: Κωνσταντίνος Μπούλης; 1949 - February 6, 2001) was a land developer, casino operator, and restaurant owner of Greek descent, who was murdered in 2001. The murder has been alleged to be in connection with the sale of his company, SunCruz Casinos.
Boulis was born in a fishing village of Kavala in Macedonia. He stayed in school only until the sixth grade and then trained as a mechanic. He joined the merchant marines in 1968, but jumped ship in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, before moving off to Toronto, Ontario. Boulis started off as a fisherman before taking a job as a dishwasher at a Mr. Submarine sandwich chain. The original owners of Mr. Submarine, now known as Mr. Sub, were Jack Levinson and Earl Linzon. It was Gus Boulis who showed Levinson and Linzon how to franchise. He soon was offered control of one of the stores, and shares in the corporation. In his five years with the company Boulis developed a chain of over 200 stores. The sale of the Boulis's shares in the company in the mid 1970s made Boulis a multimillionaire at 25.
In 1979, Boulis moved to Florida with the intent to retire, however he soon began building the popular Miami Subs Grill. He continued his success in food business, expanding the Miami Subs chain throughout Florida and beyond. In May 1994, he bought a legendary mafia restaurant in Hollywood Florida, the Joe Sonken's Gold Coast Restaurant and Lounge, and flipped it into a Miami Subs Grill. He sold the Miami Subs Grill chain to Nathan's Famous hot dog chain in 1999 for $4.2 million.
Boulis started the SunCruz Casinos boat company in 1994 in Key Largo. It was a cruise line with "cruises to nowhere" as the passengers would gamble on the voyage as the ships would travel out onto international water, where Florida gambling laws were not applicable. Boulis' largest and most profitable gambling boat was docked on the Intracoastal Waterway in Hollywood, Florida, where he had the support of mayor Mara Giulianti. However, Hollywood community beach activists, led by City Commissioner John F. Coleman, strongly opposed the gambling boat operation. Giulianti lobbied to have Boulis finance and build the "Diamond on the Beach" beach hotel, a deal that ultimately fell through. His business drew opposition from other Florida government officials regarding questions on when Boulis attained his American citizenship. The government alleged he purchased some of his SunCruz gambling boats before he became a U.S. citizen. In February 2000, Boulis settled with Federal authorities by agreeing to sell his interest in the SunCruz business within three years and pay a $500,000 fine. According to the Broward Palm Beach New Times, Gus Boulis had also registered his casino boats under his former girlfriend's name, Margaret Hren, to hide his ownership.
In September 2000, Boulis sold SunCruz to Jack Abramoff and Adam Kidan for $147.5 million. In the deal Boulis kept a silent 10 percent interest, accepting a $20 million promissory note in lieu of the $23 million cash down payment. This transaction later went on to be the focus of a grand jury inquiry. Boulis' relationship with Abramoff and Kidan began to go down hill after the deal. Boulis alleged that Kidan falsified the wire transfer. In December 2000, continued tension between Boulis and Kidan led to a fistfight between the two.
Murder and subsequent investigation
Two months later, on February 6, 2001, Boulis was found shot to death in his car on a Fort Lauderdale street. Immediately, his family put up a $100,000 reward for any info leading to the murderer. Anthony Moscatiello and James Fiorillo, both Florida residents, were arrested in late September 2005 in connection with the murder. Anthony Ferrari, who resided in New York City, was also detained in connection with the killing.
On August 11, 2005, Abramoff and Kidan were indicted by a federal grand jury in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on fraud charges relating to the disputed $23 million bank transfer used as down payment for the purchase of SunCruz Casinos. Kidan pleaded guilty on December 15, 2005, Abramoff pleaded guilty on January 3, 2006.
Three men were charged with the 2001 murder of Boulis:
- Anthony "Little Tony" Ferrari was arrested at his North Miami Beach home on September 25, 2005.
- James "Pudgy" Fiorillo, was arrested on September 26, 2005, in Palm Coast.
- Anthony "Big Tony" Moscatiello was arrested at his Howard Beach home in New York on September 26, 2005.
Moscatiello and Ferrari were charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and solicitation to commit murder. Fiorillo was charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
It was alleged that Kidan hired Anthony Moscatiello as a business advisor (despite a previous indictment as former bookkeeper for the Gambino crime family), paying him $145,000 through SunCruz for services that were allegedly never rendered. Ferrari also received $95,000 from SunCruz as payment for security services, in addition to further sums in casino chips.
In May 2006, Adam Kidan told authorities that Moscatiello and Ferrari confided in him that another Gotti associate, John Gurino, killed Boulis. Gurino himself was killed in October 2003. At the time, Gurino was not a part of the Boulis investigation.
Ferrari, Fiorillo, and Moscatiello were held at the Broward County Jail. After numerous trial delays, Fiorillo pleaded guilty to conspiracy in 2012, and Ferrari was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. On July 1, 2015, Moscatiello was convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. He was sentenced to life in prison following the sentencing recommendation of the jury that convicted him.
Gus Boulis married Efrosini "Frances" Boulis in 1971. She stayed in Greece raising their two sons while Gus Boulis developed his businesses in North America. In Florida, Gus Boulis was in a relationship with Margaret Hren and they had two sons. His wife in Greece ended up asking for a divorce and half of his assets.
- Schmidt, Susan; James V. Grimaldi (September 28, 2005). "3 Charged in Killing Of Fla. Businessman". Washington Post. Retrieved 28 June 2007.
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- Christensen, Dan (6 June 2010). "Kevin Spacey, Kelly Preston star in film based on Gus Boulis slaying". Miami Herald. Retrieved 14 December 2010.
- Brown, Julie K. (25 October 2013). "'Little Tony' guilty in murder of Gus Boulis". Miami Herald. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
- Pesantes, Erika (19 December 2013). "Life in prison for 'Little Tony' in Boulis murder". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
- Olmeda, Raphael (September 18, 2015). "Moscatiello sentenced to life in prison for Miami Subs founder's murder". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved September 6, 2017.