Miami Businessman Killed in Ambush

Wednesday, February 7th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The founder of the Miami Subs restaurant chain and SunCruz gambling cruises was ambushed in his car and shot to death, apparently by a hit man, police said Wednesday.

Police are investigating whether the slaying of Gus Boulis was connected to some bitter business disputes, including one in which he allegedly threatened one of SunCruz's new owners.

Boulis, 51, died Tuesday night after being shot on an isolated road.

A driver stopped suddenly in front of Boulis' BMW and another car stopped next to him, Detective Mike Reed said. The second car's driver fired three or four shots at Boulis, and both cars sped off.

``Whoever committed the homicide had planned to shoot him,'' Reed said. ``They knew the travel routes. They knew what they were doing.''

Boulis managed to drive onto a busy street before crashing into a tree. His car came to rest in front of a Miami Subs restaurant.

``Anyone who's had a past with Mr. Boulis we'll be talking to,'' Reed said. He said the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies are being asked for help in identifying Boulis' enemies.

In recent months, Boulis had been embroiled in a series of lawsuits and countersuits over his $147.5 million sale of SunCruz last September to a group headed by Washington lawyer Adam Kidan.

Kidan received a restraining order against Boulis in December, claiming Boulis jumped from his seat during a meeting and attacked him. A month earlier, Boulis threatened to have Kidan beaten or killed, Kidan said in court papers.

A former girlfriend had gotten a restraining order against Boulis in 1997, saying he punched her and threatened to kill her and her children.

The Greek-born Boulis founded SunCruz in 1994 and made it into Florida's biggest casino ship business. He was forced to sell the company last year and pay a $2 million fine because he owned it without being a U.S. citizen, which is illegal.

In a lawsuit, Boulis claimed Kidan and his partners had bounced checks, failed to repay $2.5 million he left with the company and broke a contract requiring them to return 5 percent of the business if they failed to get financing for $30 million of the purchase price.

In 1989, Boulis began Miami Subs, which gained local fame for selling $99 bottles of Dom Perignon champagne along with its sandwiches. Nathan's Famous, the hot dog chain, bought Miami Subs in 1999, with Boulis receiving $4.2 million. The chain now has 150 restaurants in 12 states and three foreign countries.

``We're all just deeply saddened,'' said Jerry Woda, Miami Subs' senior vice president. ``We knew he was a controversial figure, but a lot of the good things he did did not show up in the media.''