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Ah, those lazy days of summer, the kind that make you want to get out of the office and leave it all behind... and forget about those nasty feds poring over your business records, those bulldog cops sniffing into allegations of lawbreaking, and those yammering reporters filling your voice mail with cheeky questions.

The dog days of summer came around just in time for SunCruz Casinos, where the offices seem to have emptied in the wake of a New Times report detailing the company's practice of launching semiweekly poker tournaments well within Florida state waters ("Still Cruisin' For a Bruisin'," Paul Belden, August 20).

Last week, after hearing that several long-time SunCruz tournament players had confided to a mutual acquaintance that the games are now being delayed until the boat was outside state waters, Undercurrents tried to get an answer to the questions, "Is this true? And, if so, does it signal a retreat from your earlier claim that the practice is legal under federal law?"

Unfortunately SunCruz attorney Ace Blackburn, whose defense of the tournament in the article was blistered by an assistant attorney general as "bullshit," left for vacation last week. Meanwhile Blackburn's boss, Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis, was "out of the office at meetings" every time we called, and Peter Nasca, the company's designated PR flack, seemed to have perpetually "just stepped out of the office."

Ah, well. Enjoy the doldrums while they last, gents. As Michael Sheehan, spokesman for the U.S. Customs Service, says of the ongoing look into Boulis' operations, "The investigation is continuing."

There were only two types of people in South Florida last week -- those with surfboards and those without. The latter species stayed home and watched Hurricane Bonnie wiggle its way toward North Carolina, even as Hurricane Danielle collected herself in the Caribbean. The former group stoked the crippie bud, cranked some Blink 182, and drove north in search of tasty waves.

By Tuesday night surf was running as high as ten feet in various Palm Beach County locales, from Delray to Jupiter. After three months of flat water, everyone wanted a piece of the action. And, like coup rumors in a Third World country, tall tales of turf wars spread up and down the Gold Coast: Cuban surfers out of Miami getting bitch-slapped in hot parking lots; Lauderdale longboarders getting their cars keyed, care of territorial locals.

Surf doggie Jason Alfred, notable for the Fuck The World tattoo on his inside lower lip (and another of a cockroach behind his right ear), describes the south side of the Lake Worth fishing pier and its tribal inhabitants: "You go to a party with 'em, they're cool. But get in their water, it's like you walked in their house without knocking. You drop in; they drop in. Pretty soon you're fighting on the beach. Everybody knows this is a locals-only spot."

Says a lifeguard at Lantana: "We even had one of our guys who was off duty get chased out of there."

On Thursday, when the waves dropped to three feet, the Nomad Surf Shop in Boynton Beach was still selling out of surfboard wax and leashes and doing booming business in daily board rentals ($25 each). Employee Mike Callaway said the hurricane surfing has been great but has also scratched at an old wound. "There's always been a conflict, since way before I was born," he notes. "The guys from Broward have an attitude."

Undercurrents wants to know about any and all political deals, media screwups, and particularly dumb memos from bureaucrats. Let us know. Call 954-233-1572, fax 954-233-1571, or e-mail [email protected].

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