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A Marriage Cruz on the Rocks

Picture this: Greek millionaire Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis sneaking into the home of his estranged girlfriend and mother of two of his children. When he's spotted he dashes away, though not before leaving behind an envelope full of cash for the family from which he'd been court-ordered to stay away.

This account, which comes via court documents filed by the girlfriend, is just one episode in the prime-time soap opera the Miami Subs founder, hotel developer, and SunCruz gaming-ship owner calls his life.

During the past few months, the media has been full of news about the federal and state governments' respective civil cases against Boulis for alleged wrongdoing in his SunCruz gambling business. The attorneys have been arguing in court that Boulis should pay tens of millions of dollars in fines, penalties, and forfeitures.

The government, however, may end up having to fight for the money with Boulis' two estranged companions. If the girlfriend and his Greek wife -- who had been kept a secret from the public until now -- have their way, the cash with which he'll be forced to part won't fit in an envelope; a barrel might be more appropriate.

The former girlfriend here in Florida, Margaret Hren, is fighting in court to increase the $5500 a month Boulis is currently paying her in child support to help raise their two sons, Aristotle and Alexis, ages five and three, respectively. She's also named in the federal suit against Boulis. The feds contend Boulis illegally hid his ownership of the gambling boats in her name. Hren also filed a restraining order against Boulis, alleging that he punched her in the head and threatened to kill the two boys.

Exactly how much more money Hren wants hasn't been determined, but whatever she may get pales in comparison to what the other woman wants from Boulis.

Gus Boulis' wife, Efrosini "Frances" Boulis, continues to live in Greece. She, too, bore Boulis two sons, both of whom are now grown. After 26 years of living quietly in Greece while raising Boulis' other children, Frances Boulis is now in the midst of a raging court battle with her husband, suing for divorce and demanding half his considerable assets.

It was Boulis' second family with Hren that prompted his wife to sue, says attorney Karen Coolman Amlong, who is representing Frances Boulis. Amlong says the wife was kept in the dark about the nature of her husband's relationship with Hren -- which itself lasted some 18 years.

Boulis introduced Hren to his wife as his "secretary," Amlong claims. It wasn't until Hren was pregnant with the first of her two sons with Boulis in 1992 that Frances Boulis knew the truth.

"Frances has been a dutiful, faithful wife," Amlong says. "She stayed home and did what wives did in Greece."

Gus Boulis married Frances when she was just 16 years old, he 22. Though both were raised in Kavala, Greece, they met by chance in Toronto, Canada, and struck up a romance that led to their marriage in 1971.

For the past 20 years or so, they haven't lived together. While Boulis was building his sub-shop business here, Frances was in Greece "tending the family fires," including caring for the aging parents of her husband, Amlong says. Frances Boulis apparently was afforded an extravagant life there: She lists her monthly expenses at $15,100, including nearly $1000 for groceries, $740 for eating out, $2500 in gifts to other people, and nearly $5000 a month for "vacations."

"She lived the life of the wife of a Greek millionaire," Amlong explains.
Glenn Waldman, Boulis' attorney in the divorce case, says she's exaggerating her lifestyle to try and squeeze more money from Boulis -- who is claiming that the wife is only entitled to only a small fraction of what she wants because they didn't live together for all those years.

Although Frances Boulis didn't want to be interviewed, Amlong passed along a statement from her:

"I was in Greece because he wanted me to be there. How dare he say because of his sin of adultery, which he repeatedly denied to me, by the way, that I am not entitled to share in the fortune that he was able to build as I was taking care of his interests and our family in Greece."

That statement is untrue, says Waldman. He says the wife knew that Boulis and Hren were romantically involved from the beginning. Waldman says it has nothing to do with outrage over adultery. The suit's only about money, he says.

"When he fathered two children by another woman, I think [Frances Boulis] became concerned that her sons, who are now adults, would not get their inheritance," Waldman says. "I think that has caused the divorce action, and she has stated that to other family members."

Waldman contends that the marriage was, for all practical purposes, over by 1977, when the couple stopped living together, and therefore Frances Boulis is only entitled to half the assets he acquired from 1971 through 1977.

Says Waldman, "We don't know exactly how much that is, but it is a nominal amount, well under seven figures. There are people trying to calculate it, but you can imagine the difficulty in reconstructing someone's assets from 22 years ago."

Forget about two decades ago, says Amlong -- the real challenge is figuring out what Boulis is worth right now. Boulis, for his part, has kept everyone guessing with a series of contradicting financial statements that vary wildly:

*According to a loan application Boulis signed in the summer of 1997, he's a very rich man, with a net worth of $90 million.

*In March 1998 he listed his net worth at less than $47 million in papers he submitted to a bank, a drop of $43 million in nine months. Amlong says he still owned the same businesses and real estate, but the values he listed for each dropped precipitously. For instance, his gambling business, SunCruz, was valued at $16.6 million in June 1997. In March 1998 Boulis claimed it was worth only $3.5 million.

"What happened to the $13.5 million?" Amlong asks.
*This past May, he filed a financial statement in the Hren case indicating his net income as negative $165,000 a month and his net worth as $1,457,202, a terribly paltry amount for a man who built a national restaurant chain, is currently developing a $50 million hotel, and runs several multimillion-dollar gambling ships throughout Florida.

*In September he filed another affidavit in the Hren case that pumped his net worth back up to about $45 million, which is about the same as what he claimed in the divorce case last month.

Waldman says he can't account for the disparities in the financial statements, but noted that businesses rise and fall quickly.

"I'm sure it was all accurate at the time, but things change," Waldman says.
There are other inconsistencies in these documents -- including taxes paid, the amount of cash he has on hand -- that have led Amlong to question their veracity.

Boulis wouldn't comment on these matters. Waldman says he's in Greece, on matters not relating to his divorce. But Waldman says Boulis is handling his numerous and serious problems with his two families and the government quite well.

"He does not let this affect him in such a way that he works less or that he cares less," Waldman says. "It's unjustified and unfair. He doesn't deserve this."

Amlong believes he does deserve it, and she wishes he'd just 'fess up. And pay up.

"He can afford to pay whatever Margaret wants," she asserts, "and he can afford to pay Frances Boulis. Should Frances be punished because Gus cheated?

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Journalist Bob Norman has been raking the muck of South Florida for the past 25 years. His work has led to criminal cases against corrupt politicians, the ouster of bad judges from the bench, and has garnered dozens of state, regional, and national awards.
Contact: Bob Norman

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