Executive Intelligence Review
This article appears in the March 10, 2006 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

The Abramoff Family
And the Mob Families

by Anton Chaitkin

Jack Abramoff was born in Atlantic City in 1959, the son of Frank and Jane Abramoff. The family moved to California in 1968, and Jack grew up in Beverly Hills. But Frank Abramoff continued to do business in Atlantic City, bringing his increasingly powerful connections into a family partnership with his brother, Bernard S. Abramoff, and later bringing in his son Jack. After gambling casinos were legalized in Atlantic City in the 1970s, the Abramoffs focused on real estate investments pegged to prospects for the growth of casinos.

A 1979 New York Times article named Jack's uncle Bernard Abramoff as manager of most of the $4.75 million of real estate purchases made since June 30, 1978 by "Angelo Pucci, a Toronto real estate developer who [Canadian and United States officials say is linked to organized crime.... Paul Volpe, whom Canadian and United States officials] say is a major figure in organized crime in Toronto, called Mr. Pucci, 'my partner' " (emphasis added, here and below).

The Times reported that "Bernard S. Abramoff, president of Jerome Realty here, served as broker in most of the Pucci purchases. He said in an interview in his office in Ventnor, that Mr. Pucci has introduced him to Mr. Montemarano," [another Toronto channel for an additional $4.86 million]....[1]

"Mr. Volpe, who [New Jersey State Police] Col. [Clinton] Pagano said 'was interested in Atlantic City,' was named as a 'major Canadian Link' to organized crime in 1963 by the McClellan Senate subcommittee investigating organized crime ... convicted of conspiracy in an extortion case ... operated a casino in Haiti...."[2]

Paul Volpe, whose men were pouring Mafia millions into Atlantic City through the Abramoffs, was part of the Buffalo, New York Cosa Nostra mob, operating in Canada under the reign of Montreal-based Joseph Bonanno.

Authors Antonio Nicaso and Lee Lamothe describe, in the book Global Mafia, the changes occurring within the gangster world when the Abramoffs got involved:

"In Toronto, Soviet gangs practiced organized extortion, gambling, loan-sharking, and drug trafficking, much of it in conjunction with the Paul Volpe group of the Buffalo La Cosa Nostra crime family. During the 1970s and 1980s, various police investigations turned up Soviets, many of whom said they were Jews who had immigrated from Israel. The men were treated as run-of-the-mill bandits, and the cases never got beyond the basic investigations. In retrospect, police believe the Russian mob was behind many of the crimes. The same held true in New York City, where Russian gangs conducted ongoing crimes within the ethnic community, and expanded beyond its borders into partnerships with the New York La Cosa Nostra to whom they paid 'an operating tax.' "[3]

The New York Times then reported on May 28, 1979, "Millions of dollars in underworld money is being funneled through Toronto into real-estate investments in Atlantic City, according to an unusual television documentary broadcast tonight by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.... [A woman working for the mob told Canadian reporters that her] 'Toronto connections' have become convinced that the number of casinos in Atlantic City will grow rapidly in coming years. [They] cannot go into casinos [openly] so we buy buildings for them ... we front it."[4]

The Abramoff family benefactor, Paul Volpe, was shot to death, and his body was found in the trunk of a car at Toronto's airport in November 1983.

The Bizarre Alfred Bloomingdale

When President Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, Jack Abramoff became chairman of the College Republicans national organization. Jack had worked in the Reagan campaign in college; more importantly, he had the right family connections.

Out in Beverly Hills, California, his father had been a top executive of the Diners Club credit card company, owned by Ronald Reagan confidant and "kitchen cabinet" member Alfred Bloomingdale.

Paul Volpe's Frank Abramoff and the bizarre Bloomingdale were a good fit. Throughout the 1970s, Bloomingdale paid up to $18,000 a month to his mistress, Vickie Morgan, usually through his corporate accounts, for her "therapy" of his "Marquis de Sade complex."

Time magazine reported that "Bloomingdale had been investigated by the FBI as early as the late 1960s, when his name came up in connection with organized-crime figures in Las Vegas." In the late 1970s, "Bloomingdale shelled out $5,000 in blackmail because of his habit of beating up prostitutes."[5]

Potential blackmail was the Bloomingdale/Diners Club subtext. Time reported, "While working as an aide on the Reagan campaign, [mistress Vickie] Morgan gossiped about dining with Bloomingdale and Reagan cronies and chauffeuring Vice Presidential Candidate George Bush around Los Angeles. Recalls Marvin Mitchelson: 'She said she knew political and sexual secrets about this Administration that would make Watergate look like a play school.' "[6]

Abramoff family patron Bloomingdale was appointed to the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board in 1981, with top-secret global access, while young Jack captured the College Republicans, and leaped into international intrigues with Nazis and gangsters.

Fortunately for some, Bloomingdale died the next year; his mistress was soon beaten to death, and none of the reported orgy videotapes were ever published.

Mob Lawyer Roy Cohn

Jack Abramoff's confessed dirty-money dealings of the past few years took decades of practice to refine, beginning with the financing of his College Republican organization.

On July 8, 1981, Abramoff wrote to Roy Cohn, the legal counsel to the leading Mafia families of New York and Canada, asking for funding, and discussing, with the mob's man, the use of the most secret fundraising lists of the Republican Party.

Jack wrote, "Alfred Bloomingdale, a close personal friend of my family, told me to contact you immediately.... Although we [College Republicans] are an arm of the RNC [Republican National Committee], we must become financially self-sufficient.... Because of his close association with the President, Mr. Bloomingdale was able to free up the RNC contributor list for our use. Within the next couple of weeks, we must raise $50,000 in order to mail and phone bank these lists. I have no doubt that we will pyramid that $50,000, to over $1 million within the first year."[7]

Cohn's response may be known only to Abramoff.

Father Frank, Again

Family connections originating in the Volpe/Bloomingdale years have moved Abramoff's entire career.

Rightist Republican control of the House of Representatives in 1994 gave Abramoff his re-entry to Washington power as an influence-broker. His main lobbying clients were the government of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, a U.S. Territory in the Pacific, and the owners of the concentration camp-like garment factories there, whose virtual slave workers have been shipped in as "immigrants" from east Asia.

It was Jack's father, Frank Abramoff, who had sought to start a casino in the Northern Marianas, who first introduced Jack around the Islands.

Jack took millions from the Marianas racket, which he shared with Tom DeLay. His father's operations thus gave Jack his start as DeLay's financial godfather. His power grew as he became prime architect of DeLay's dictatorship over the House of Representatives. After repeated U.S. government probes and lawsuits failed to stop the criminal treatment of Marianas workers, DeLay blocked legislation that would have set American labor standards.

Abramoff was indicted and confessed to fraud in the 2000-01 takeover of the Florida-based SunCruz casino cruise lines, and to fraudulently obtaining a $60 million purchase loan. To get the loan, Abramoff specified that he holds a $1.4 million investment jointly with his father, in the parking lot of an Atlantic City gambling casino, the legacy of the Volpe-Bonanno days.

Eighteen days after defrauded former SunCruz owner Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis sued to get his money and recover control of the floating casinos, Boulis was gunned down Mafia-style. Reputed Gambino crime family associate Anthony Moscatiello, and two of his cohorts, have been indicted as trigger men. After Abramoff took over, SunCruz paid over $100,000 to Moscatiello.

Sources close to the case have told EIR that prosecutors' attempts to interrogate or even interview Abramoff, five years after the killing, have been blocked under ambiguous and baffling circumstances, despite his obligation under a Federal plea agreement to cooperate with all investigations.

The problem may stem from the potential international political fallout were Abramoff to open up about the sources and destinations of the mammoth cash flows at stake in control of SunCruz.

The murder-case source told EIR that probers are looking closely at the angle of money laundering. "Tens of millions of dollars cash per month" went through the SunCruz casino boats, offshore, away from regulators and law enforcement, which according to the source, might motivate the hiring of Mafia-connected people like Moscatiello to help launder the money.


[1] The $9 million total in 1979 is the equivalent of perhaps $35-45 million in 2006 dollars.

[2] Donald Janson, "Developer With Alleged Mob Ties Investing Millions in Atlantic City," New York Times, May 1, 1979. The Abramoff brothers' partnership is highlighted in this language from a Federal court's 1982 ruling, referring to some of what they bought with the mob money: "688 F.2d 204—17 ERC 2155, 12 Envtl. L. Rep. 21,020—United States of America, Appellant, v. ... Bernard Abramoff ... Frank Abramoff, individually and d/b/a A.G.A. Partnership ... appellees Bernard Abramoff ... Frank Abramoff individually and d/b/a AG.A. Partnership. Upon purchasing the property in 1979, A.G.A. Partnership acknowledged in writing that the site had been used as a landfill."

[3]Antonio Nicaso and Lee Lamothe, Global Mafia: The New World Order of Organized Crime (Toronto: Macmillan Canada, 1995), p. 45.

[4] Andrew H. Malcolm, "TV Film Links Mob in Toronto To Atlantic City," New York Times, May 28, 1979.

[5] Alessandra Stanley, "A Mistress's Life and Death," Time, May. 21, 1984.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Nina J. Easton, "Abramoff's Grand Aims Came Early; Made Powerhouse of GOP Group," Boston Globe, Feb. 6, 2006. Easton told this reporter that the letter to Cohn is in a College Republicans collection in the National Archives.

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