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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tony Demasi and the Chicago Way

It was a beautiful summer evening in 2005 and Chicago's social scene was gathered at Japonais, the posh sushi restaurant along the Chicago River, for a fundraiser for Tsunami Foundation. The party was organized by promoter to the charities Jennifer Schwab, who became legendary in the scene by convincing macho men to don high heels and race around the United Center all in the name of charity. Tsunami Foundation offered youth mentoring programs in some of Chicago's roughest neighborhoods as well as college scholarships to deserving high school seniors. The guest of honor Rudy Fratto Jr, the recipient of Tsunami's latest scholarship, was a relatively impressive young man. He maintained a B average, starred on his high school's hockey team and kept up an impressive list of other extracurricular activities. Nevertheless, the choice of Fratto for a scholarship was peculiar for a couple reasons. First, his father is Rudy Fratto Sr., a reputed lieutenant in the Chicago Outfit, who would plead guilty to tax evasion in 2009 and subsequently also be charged with mail fraud in the spring of 2010. Second, at 14 years old, Rudy was still several years away from needing a scholarship. The crowd was also a curious mix. Celebrities like Jerry Azumah and Ozzie Guillen Jr. were at the shindig. Sarah Preston and Ted Widen covered the event for Chicago Magazine and Chicago Scene respectively. The socialite community was represented with guests like Austin Manzure, Anderson Bell, and Amanda Puck. Also in attendance was John "No Nose" DiFronzo, reputed boss of The Outfit. Even the advisory board of Tsunami Foundation was an eclectic mix of Chicago’s movers and shakers. It included the proprietor of Tsunami Foundation, Tony Demasi. Also on the board was AT&T executive and future Alderman Brendan Reilly. Another member of the board was “restaurateur” Joe Farina. It’s alleged that the restaurateur Farina is also connected to the Outfit. For Tony Demasi, the then-30-year-old Tsunami Foundation founder, it was a day in a life equal parts Entourage, Sopranos and Wall Street. Fundraisers like this put Demasi in direct proximity to his natural market for his new nightclub, Reserve, which he owns along with Tsunami Capital, an investment firm

In the spring of 2010,Tsunami is out of business, Reserve is under new ownership, and Demasi keeps a low profile, waiting for his sentence on a number of fraud related charges on July 2nd, 2010. Whereas he was once received VIP treatment at everything from the ESPY’s, the MTV Movie Awards, and the Grammys, he now enjoys Cubs games, concerts and dinner at Chicago restaurants as one of the crowd. His unlikely rise and catastrophic fall is part gothic novel and part Greek tragedy, all filtered through the wholly real mesh of modern-day Chicago's political and cultural stew.



Anthony A. Demasi came to Chicago in 2001, fresh out of Georgetown Law School, and took a job working on the legal end of collateralized debt obligations at Bear Stearns, the financial instrument that, ironically, would later bring the legendary Wall Street firm crashing down at about the same time Demasi was facing his own reckoning. Through a mutual friend he met the daughter of Marty Gutilla and through her, he met Gutilla himself. Gutilla is the main proprietor of Tavern on Rush, a cornerstone of Chicago’s infamous Viagra Triangle, where wealthy older men go to find attractive young women. Everyone from politicians, to business folks, to members of the Outfit frequent Tavern on Rush. Before long, Demasi counted himself among the regulars.
By 2002, Demasi started the Tsunami Foundation and over the next five years, the foundation would send nearly sixty kids to college while widening his circle of in-the-know event promoters and well-heeled partygoers. By 2003, Demasi started thinking about opening a nightclub. In doing so, he would be an unconventional entrant into a world where nightclub owners usually fall into one of three categories: those who worked their way up in the business, from bartender or bouncers to manager and then struck out on their own; those who were independently wealthy and then started clubs as playpens for them and their wealthy friends, like RiNo, owned by Jim Kaulentis, who'd made his millions trading in the pits of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Also, there was the more recent phenomenon, the multi-venue corporate operators, like Ala Carte Entertainment.
Demasi was a lawyer working for an investment bank. He was from the Detroit area and had only been in Chicago about two years. To the outside world at least, he had no connection to the club world, a world especially inhospitable to outsiders, given its culture cloaked in a certain manufactured mystique, as well as myriad and notoriously difficult licensing requirements. In fact, he’d already made all the necessary connections into the hospitality business thanks to his Tavern on Rush "apprenticeship" with Gutilla. Gutilla’s other friends included Joe King, part-owner of the posh nightclub Le Passage, commodities trader Jim Kaulentis, Lakeside Bank owner Joe Cacciatore, Assistant Majority leader in the State Senate Jim Deleo, insurance magnet Dickie Parrillo, and restaurateur Phil Stefani.. And, through Tsunami Foundation, he had an avenue to many of the future club’s patrons.
But as helpful as a seasoned group of nightlife operators can be to a boot-strapping young entrepreneur, Tavern on Rush had another set of regular clientele even more important to the entrepreneur interested in opening a nightclub. For owning a club introduces the proprietor to the seedy world of Chicago politics unlike any other business. In order to own a club one would need as many as six different licenses: a liquor license, a tobacco license (smoking was still legal in bars at the time), a valet license, sidewalk license, and the Public Place of Amusement license, which allows a venue the ability to charge a cover for live music or a DJ. In order to get these licenses successfully, building inspectors, plumbing inspectors and electrical inspectors from various city zoning and buildings departments, along with the local Alderman and Police commander would all have to approve parts of any and all of these licenses. With his connection to Gutilla’s circle of friends, Demasi had just the right influence to navigate this process.
From befriending Gutilla to ingratiating himself in the socialite community, Demasi had done everything necessary to have a successful night club, and so it was no surprise that Reserve became an instant staple in Chicago’s nightclub scene when it opened in 2003. Stars like Justin Timberlake, Lenny Kravitz, and Michael Jordan all made frequent appearances there, and these appearances were documented in gossip magazines like US Weekly. Reserve became known for the white tigers that greeted guests as they waited to be allowed entrance, but the most lasting impression of Reserve was its introduction of bottle service. Reserve was filled with long tables that were perfect for large groups to mingle. This would clash with a waiter or waitress constantly coming around asking for drinks. Instead, at Reserve patrons were allowed to buy entire bottles of liquor at a time. These same bottles would cost someone $20-$50 at a liquor store but at Reserve high rollers had no problem dishing out up to $800 for each bottle. This made the ownership, especially Demasi, quite wealthy. A good weekend would profit the club as much as $40,000. While Reserve’s success was undeniable, it was missing one thing coveted in Chicago’s nightclub scene. That was the 4AM license, which allows clubs to stay open until 4AM. So, it was an unwritten rule at Reserve that when it closed they would suggest to their guests that still didn’t have their fill of alcohol to continue on to RiNo, owned by Jim Kaulentis.

Meanwhile, Demasi’s empire had only just begun to grow. At the same time he was laying the foundation of success at Reserve, he was also beginning another venture, Tsunami Lake Shore. This was billed as a hedge fund that initially would focus on futures trading. By doing so, Demasi was now expanding his reach even past the man most responsible for introducing him to this world, Marty Gutilla. While Gutilla was wealthy and powerful, his empire began and ended with Tavern on Rush. Demasi was growing a conglomerate empire that looked more like other members of Gutilla’s crew, Joe Cacciatore and Dickie Parrillo. Cacciatore owned Lakeside Bank. Through a series of business and real estate ventures Cacciatore developed a business empire that stretched into every corner of the city. Meanwhile, Parrillo is an insurance magnate that’s also a silent partner in all sorts of other ventures including Tavern on Rush itself. Demasi was headed down the same financial path. Only at 30, Demasi was doing what most of the rest of his crew were doing at twice his age. He was well on his way to developing an empire that would rival any in the city.

Then, in the summer of 2006, that empire was threatened. On August 13th 2006, the Illinois Liquor Control Commission executed raids on thirteen Chicago nightclubs and ticketed all of them because they were each involved in bottle service. The raided clubs included Demasi’s Reserve, RiNo, Le Passage, Zentra and Enclave. The raid and tickets were peculiar. That’s because the establishments were operating openly with bottle service for years. Reserve had served bottles since its inception in 2003 and many of the other clubs followed once they saw its success. Also, they used an obscure portion of a 1986 happy hour law that forbade serving more than one drink at a time to a patron as the basis of their ticket.

Peculiar or not, this threatened the very existence of Reserve which made bottle service an integral part of its business plan. Furthermore, Demasi was months away from opening up Crescendo, which would also make bottle service a staple. So, Demasi and everyone else ticketed were none too happy when ILCC Executive Director said this,



It (happy hour law) is designed to eliminate the over-consumption of alcoholic liquor and to eliminate promotions that encourage over-consumption. We take this law seriously; those found guilty will face the consequences




Despite the gravity with which the ILCC took this matter, about four months later the Illinois legislature would change the law, Governor Blagojevich would sign it, and bottle service would continue in nightclubs. That remarkable turnaround has lead to all sorts of speculation and accusations of corruption. As recently as March, John Kass quoted two “anonymous sources” who claimed that Demasi approached a “restaurateur” and a “saloon keeper” with $50,000 and this set wheels in motion to change the law.

The only real evidence of wrongdoing is the peculiar set of events that lead to its passage. First, the law was passed out of both chambers during veto session. While laws can be passed anytime the state’s legislature is in session, veto session is generally reserved for legislators to act on any changes the governor has made to bills they passed in the regular spring session. For instance, in 2004, the agenda for the veto session included the CTA bailout, the approval of more casinos (which could have paid for the CTA bailout), and the legislature was going to look again at a bill by Democratic Sen. William Haine that would have applied tort reform on the state level. The seriousness of these matters far outweigh that of bottle service, and they were all issues already discussed during the regular session in 2004.
By doing it in veto session, the law passed very quietly. The transcripts from the Illinois Senate show that the entire process took less than fifteen minutes.(pages 15-17) It was introduced by State Senator Jim DeLeo. The bill was briefly explained by State Senator John Cullerton and then the Senate voted and passed it overwhelmingly.
Second, the sponsors of the bill in both chambers were a collection of legislative power brokers. In the Senate, the bill was sponsored by Senate President Emil Jones, Assistant Majority Leader Jim DeLeo and Cullerton. In the House, the Second Republican Angelo “Skip” Saviano sponsored the bill. Normally, such heavyweights save their sponsorship for budget matters and other bills that land on the front pages of newspapers. So, it’s curious that all wound up sponsoring a bill on such a trivial matter.
While all of this was going on, the Mayor held his annual holiday fundraiser right before Christmas. The fundraiser was held at the premier Chicago steakhouse Gibson’s. In attendance were Jim Kaulentis, Demasi, and Joe King, Kaulentis’ RiNo, Demasi’s Reserve, and King’s Le Passage all just happened to get ticketed by the ILCC in August. Meanwhile, DeLeo, Cullerton, and Saviano also attended the fundraiser. It was a crowd of insiders as John Kass notoriously enjoyed dinner downstairs at Gibson’s with then Cook County Clerk Dorothy Brown, both uninvited to the event.
So, was there something going on beyond the surface? Only those that passed the law know for sure but in Chicago, “if you don’t like the law, you change it”.
One thing was certain. Demasi had reached the zenith of his power and influence. The passage of the new law paved the way to his club, Crescendo, in the spring of 2007. Meanwhile, his inclusion in Daley’s annual fundraiser put him in eyesight of the entire power elite in the city. Little did he know that in less than four months, his whole world would crash on top of him.
Demasi convinced at least one prospective pool participant to invest by providing him with a false track record showing that Tsunami was profitable in all but two months in 2003-2004 and had its highest rate of return of 26.85% in April 2003. In reality, Tsunami did not have an active account in April 2003 lost money every month it traded in 2003, and did not trade at all in 2004.
Demasi didn't deny most of the charges against him and eventually was found guilty in a civil proceeding many of these charges. (the CFTC is a civil not criminal entity) Still, the timing and nature of the charges lead many insiders to speculate that Jim Kaulentis was partially responsible for Demasi’s legal troubles. First, Kaulentis’ roots as an old school trader deep in the pits of Chicago’s Board of Trade made him connected to most in that world. If there was wrongdoing going on anywhere, it’s hard to believe he didn’t know about it. Second, the charges were filed and released less than a month before Crescendo would open. Unlike Reserve, Crescendo would have the coveted 4AM license and put it in direct competition with Kaulentis’ RiNo. This lead Kass to speculate at the time,
one was that his (Demasi’s) 4AM license put him in direct competition with RiNo,a popular club run by Michael Kaulentis, the son of influential commodities trader James Kaulentis. A feud began



This and other circumstantial evidence make it hard to believe that Demasi’s downfall was entirely organic and rather had help from a rival. Demasi would open Crescendo and Crescendo is still a staple in Chicago’s nightclub scene, but he would eventually lose ownership in both Reserve and Crescendo and all his fortune from pleadings to charges related to this civil suit. The CFTC suit was only the first shoe to drop.

It was February 17th, 2009; the same Tony Demasi was now in Cook County criminal court on 5600 Old Orchard Road in front of Judge William T. O’Brien facing what was supposed to be a routine hearing related to charges from a domestic incident with his then girlfriend Stephanie Abraham. Demasi had been dating Abraham for about two years at the time of the incident, and it probably never occurred to him throughout that her older sister Trina was married to Michael Heffley. Heffley is a Chicago area trader who’d spent time working for Cadent Financial Services, the firm owned by Jim Kaulentis. He was also a good friend of Michael Kaulentis, Jim’s son. As events would begin to unfold over the next hour, Demasi must have felt a little like Truman Burbank, the man whose life is being orchestrated by others. In fact, Demasi must have been shocked that things had even gotten that far. First, while the initial incident happened on June 5th, his girlfriend didn’t file charges for two weeks. While she claimed that Demasi had bitten her, there was no visual evidence (on her face that is) that it ever happened. Furthermore, Abraham herself had a history of alcohol abuse including a DUI when she was fifteen. Finally, Stephanie’s mom, then estranged from her and her dad, sided with Demasi in the matter and even wrote a letter on his behalf to the court. Still, Demasi was facing these charges six months later, and what he didn’t know was that a judge was about to force him to spend the next forty five days in prison including a five day stint in the Isaac Ray Center for the criminally disturbed. A complicated and confusing set of events would culminate in Demasi’s jail stint on this day.

The whole affair started the previous June 5th when Demasi and his then girlfriend were involved in a domestic dispute. Two weeks following this dispute, Abraham would file charges with
Chicago police alleging that Demasi had bitten her during the course of an argument and then broke the air conditioner on her father’s car. On September 9th, 2008, Demasi surrendered himself to police where he faced battery and criminal destruction of property charges. Because the automobile was actually owned by Stephanie Abraham’s father, the charges were split into two and Demasi would face Judge William T. O’Brien on criminal destruction of property charges. He would be in a different court on Harrison in front of a different judge on different dates to face battery charges.

Both judges ordered all parties, Demasi and both Abraham’s, to stay at least 500 feet away from each other and avoid all contact through restraining orders for the duration of the court proceedings. Then, on October 22nd, Demasi was in his old club, Crescendo, when Stephanie Abraham also entered the club. He immediately sent her a text message demanding that she leave. By doing so, he violated the restraining order. For this, Demasi was reprimanded in his previous court appearance in front of Judge O’Brien and had his bail raised from $10,000 to $100,000 in his previous hearing on January 5th, 2009.
To complicate matters even further, while Demasi was the defendant in Cook County, he was simultaneously the complainant in another case in Miami, Florida. Both Demasi and the Abraham maintained second residences in Miami and on January 7th, an alleged confrontation occurred between Tony Demasi and Gene Abraham, Stephanie’s dad. According to a police report from Miami-Dade police, here’s how Demasi described the incident that allegedly occurred on January 7th, 2009,



I was walking down to the cigar shop and as I was walking I had a feeling that someone was behind me. When turned around I saw him coming after me (Albert) flailing his arms. He hit me in the face I fell to the ground and hit the back of my head. I then got up and ran away from him as fast as I can



When police went to arrest the older Abraham, Stephanie Abraham allegedly attacked one of them and was also arrested on site. In fact, Demasi was scheduled to fly back to Miami right after this hearing to testify against the elder Abraham.

That never happened. Instead, when the prosecution heard about the incident on the 7th they complained that Demasi hadn’t received permission to travel to Miami on that date. The prosecution argued that because Demasi had already violated an order of Judge O’Brien this second violation took on an added importance.

In fact, Demasi was making frequent trips to Miami all throughout the process. For each trip, he would need permission from both judges. He had in fact received permission to take trips from Judge O’Brien. According to court testimony, Demasi had even received permission to take the trip that would put him in Miami on the 7th, however there was now confusion about whether or not that permission was still valid. Judge O’Brien was now claiming that because the text message violated the restraining order it also inherently revoked his earlier permission to travel. O’Brien even once said, “he blew that” referring to his own earlier permission to allow Demasi to travel on the 7th.While Demasi’s attorney called the confusion a “technical violation”, Judge O’Brien considered it much more serious,
It’s not a technical violation it’s a blatant violation. I remember having a conversation with him asking him whether or not he understood certain things and his position is he’s an attorney, he knows better.
Judge O’Brien must have believed that Demasi’s skills as an attorney come along with powers of ESP since the judge never actually revoked Demasi’s permission to travel in writing. Instead, he revoked them after the fact in the courtroom right there on February 9th.

Despite this curious logic, Judge O’Brien then raised Demasi’s bail from $100k bond to $1 million cash. So, unless Demasi could come up with one million dollars cash, he would immediately go to jail and remain there during the duration of the trial or until it was lowered to a level he could pay. At this point, Demasi attempted to set a 402 hearing so that he could plead guilty to the class IV felony of criminal destruction of property. Since Demasi had no criminal record, jail time for a guilty plea would be blatantly corrupt. The sentence guidelines would require probation and court supervision. By pleading guilty, Demasi would subsequently avoid the indefinite jail stint Judge O’Brien had just handed down to him. Judge O’Brien was having none of it. He denied his guilty plea and said this,




At this time the Court is going to refuse that request. Based upon my experience
with Mr. Demasi and observing him on prior occasions here and knowing somewhat a little bit about the facts of the case as a result of various violations of bail bond requests for permission to travel. I think it behooves us that the Court has a doubt as to whether or not Mr. Demasi is fit to stand trial.


Now, Judge O’Brien, who only minutes earlier expected Demasi to have ESP powers, believed that Demasi wasn’t even competent enough to enter plea, even a guilty one. An incompetent person isn’t allowed by law to plea anything. This action also meant that Demasi had to go through a mandatory 45 day jail stint that would start in the looney bin annex of the jail system, the Isaac Ray Center. Because the standard for fitness to stand trial is so low he was asked the standard battery of questions like (with a straight face) “are you human”. Once he answered those brain teasers effectively, he then spent the next five days in a holding cell with criminals with serious mental disorders. He was then transferred to Cook County jail where his million dollar CASH bail put him in a population filled with accused and convicted murderers, rapists, and bank robbers. The next time Demasi would even be eligible to be released would be at his next court hearing March 19th.



Some are worried. And I don't want Demasi getting accidentally hit by a bolt of lightning or choking himself to death with plastic bags in the jail shower. That might ruin Chicago's reputation.



Kass recently confirmed that he wrote this column out of genuine fear for Demasi’s life while in prison.

On March 19th, Demasi’s parents flew in from Michigan in hopes of swaying Judge O’Brien to reduce Demasi’s bail. Judge O’Brien was having none of it and responded this way to the request,



Bond is going to stand. It is a reasonable bond seeing that the Court clearly recalls admonishing Mr. Demasi to avoid contact with the victim in this case, and not two days after telling him that, him also having training as a lawyer, outright disobeyed a court order and went and left the jurisdiction. He is not above the law. He violated the terms of bond. Therefore, the Court has appropriately increased the bond to a million dollars cash. The bond is to stand.


Facing an indefinite prison stint, Demasi and his attorney again moved for a 402 conference so that he could plead guilty. With competence no longer an issue, Judge O’Brien had no choice but to accept his guilty plea. Demasi was given probation and court supervision and slept at home that night.


On August 19, 2009, with twenty five supporters and two supporting witnesses ready to testify, the charges that he bit his girlfriend were dismissed in a Cook County Courthouse on Harrison Street in Chicago.

Because Demasi was jailed on February 9th, he never was able to testify against Gene Abraham and those charges were dropped. Stephanie Abraham was subsequently convicted of charges against her since Demasi’s testimony wasn’t necessary in that matter and is still on probation in Miami. (Judge O’Brien didn’t respond to a phone call for this story)

Finally, on March 17th, 2010, Tony Demasi’s downfall was complete. That’s when he faced Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer in a US District Court in the Dirksen Federal Building. Shortly after 1PM Central Time, Tony Demasi plead guilty to five counts ranging from wire fraud, misuse of funds, and making false financial statements. On more than one occasion, he even took responsibility for the actions of unnamed employee who also made false statements. The only victim in the court room that day was a commodities trader named Rocky Nendza. Nendza was eager to share his experience. He said he invested $104,000 with Tsunami Lake Shore. Upon receiving a statement that Nendza described as “unreal”, Nendza asked for his money back. For the next seven months, Nendza tried unsuccessfully to get his money from Demasi. On one occasion, Demasi’s check bounced. Finally, according to Nendza, seven months later $100,000, what Nendza asked for, was wired into the account. Nendza considered the affair closed and had “mixed emotions” about the issue.

One thing that Anthony Demasi didn’t plead to was perjury and forgery, and it’s what Demasi didn’t plea to that is at the heart of the untold story of the fraud that surrounds Tsunami Lake Shore. While most media have described this as nothing more than a Ponzi scheme, Demasi has vehemently denied this characterization. He points to his partnership with Stuart Simonsen, a professional trader from Billings, Montana, as proof of a successful business venture. While Demasi admits to mismanagement leading to acts of criminality at Tsunami Lake Shore , he also maintains that this partnership lead to a successful sale of Simonsen’s blackbox technology. A blackbox is a computer program for entering trading orders with the computer algorithm deciding on aspects of the order such as the timing, price, or quantity of the order, or in many cases initiating the order without human intervention. In fact, according to a contract signed on December 26th, 2006, Demasi and Simonsen entered into an agreement with Tradelink, a Chicago area private equity firm. This agreement would have Tradelink provide capital to trade the black box system developed by Simonsen and co owned by Simonsen and Demasi’s Tsunami Lake Shore.

Simonsen wouldn’t make any statements on the record but his contention is that he and Demasi were never partners. Instead, he has claimed that Demasi leased his blackbox for trading. He doesn’t know what Demasi did with the technology and so Demasi’s crimes are his alone. While he wouldn’t make a statement on the record, he instead pointed to a summary judgment from Billings, Montana on May 20th, 2009 that would speak for him. In that judgment, Judge Richard Fagg of Billings, Montana ruled said contract null and void and thus agreed with Simonsen’s contention that he was never partners with Demasi but instead leased the technology to him.

The story would be over however Anthony Demasi would subsequently testify under oath in US District Court in the Dirksen Federal Building on July 7th, 2009 in front of CFTC attorneys. During that testimony, Demasi admitted to all of the same crimes to which he plead guilty to the following March 17th, however, Demasi stated under oath that he and Stuart Simonsen were business partners, Tsunami Lake Shore was involved in the sale of Simonsen’s blackbox technology, and as a result he and all his investors are owed their legal share of profits. In that testimony, Demasi even produced a tape recording of Stuart Simonsen admitting to Demasi in a phone call everything that Demasi just testified to. Finally, a source that wished to remain anonymous has since backed up Demasi’s version. This source said he was recruited by Demasi to help sell this system for 5% of total profits. He said that he participated in dozens of meetings with Demasi and Simonsen in which they were identified as “partners”. Furthermore, this source says that he too has been deposed in U.S. District Court and everything he told me he also said under oath to federal prosecutors. Finally, he says he provided federal prosecutors with dozens of business cards of CEO’s that met with all three that could verify all these meetings.

Because Demasi made his statements under oath on the 7th of July 2009, he would have perjured himself if there were any lies. On March 17th, 2010, he wasn’t charged with perjury or forgery, but then again, Simonsen hasn’t been charged with any crimes either. If the prosecutors believe Demasi then the same federal prosecutors must then charge Simonsen criminally and/or civilly. Federal prosecutors have done nothing and the CFTC refused to comment when asked about this dichotomy.

One thing the truth, whatever it is, won’t do is change the fact that over a four year period Tony Demasi committed a series of serious criminal acts. Still, this dispute is no small point. Tony Demasi is facing up to 80 years for a fraud that federal prosecutors estimate is $4.7 million. The initial investment of Tradelink, according to the contract, was $10 million and it would be raised to $100 million if they were happy with the performance. So, if Demasi is telling the truth that would make Simonsen’s fraud, with the help of Tradelink, exponentially larger. Furthermore, if Demasi was truthful in his July 7th testimony, then this means that his criminal behavior would also have no victims financially. If Simonsen is being untruthful and the government did its job, it’s almost certain that all investors in Tsunami Lake Shore would receive their initial investment, their promised returns, and a hefty premium on top of it. In fact, Tony Demasi himself would walk away with at least eight figures, despite committing these crimes. It’s no small point that the anonymous source would walk away with millions as well. Yet, while Demasi was never charged with perjury or forgery, so too, Stuart Simonsen has not been charged with anything either. The dichotomy has never been explained.

The story of Tony Demasi is fascinating on the level of Greek tragedy. His meteoric rise was only eclipsed by his even larger fall. Yet, there is something there that’s more sinister. Outside Demasi’s hearing on the 17th of March, John Kass asked rhetorically,


“how did HE (Demasi) get a 4AM license?”.



The same John Kass also suggested that Demasi initiated $50,000 worth of payments to change the bottle service law. What all those that suggest that Demasi is a criminal mastermind fail to mention is that Demasi couldn’t have done any of this alone. He attached himself to Chicago insiders who get things done. If there were payments made to change the bottle service law, what does that say about the power brokers that sponsored that law? How did he secure the 4AM license, and better yet, why is it so hard to get this license? Why did Demasi receive a $1 million cash bond for a class D felony? Why is Demasi facing 80 years for a $4.7 million fraud while the fraud that’s exponentially larger goes unexplained? Why is the media fixated on Demasi’s wrongdoing and totally ignoring all these other questions? I suspect the answer to that is wrapped up in something we all cynically call the Chicago Way.


UPDATE:

Starting on Sunday July 14, 2012, I received a series of cryptic emails asking me to remove this blog post. The emails claim that an unidentified male has tried to commit suicide as a result of this post. The male is not identified. 

Furthermore, hours after I responded to one of those emails, my email account was spoofed (slightly different than hacked), and a vile and inappropriate email was sent to hundreds of random emails claiming that this blog post is about them, and not the people actually involved. 

Please note, if you are here as a result of this email, I apologize but know that I didn't send it. It was done without my permission, and again, I apologize for its content. 

Because I believe that these emails are being used to illicit a response to perpetuate this spoofing, I will not respond. I'm not sure what "male" would be driven to suicide as a result of this article.

If this is a serious call, please contact me formally and provide real evidence of such. If not, please stop sending me emails as I will not respond. 

UPDATE 2:

Check out a photo gallery related to the article here. 

91 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have known Tony for a long time. While he is not perfect, he was definitely taken advantage of in a serious way. For one thing, I know he got that trading deal done because it was all he could talk about before it happened and after it was done. He made big life changing plans in anticipation of getting his first payments. He was going to donate a ton of money to various charities and take care of everyone that invested in him very big. Even with other witnesses and employee statements he did not get his rightful compensation for all the work. In the nightclub scene Tony never acted pretentious; instead he was very kind to everyone. He was not the typical night club owner, he was a business man and when he was in the club he only wanted everyone to have a great time and enjoy their time in his venues…He took great pride in that fact. I am sure he had to do many shady political things in order to get in the business and was forced to do a lot to stay in business. In Chicago that is the only way to stay in business in that industry. I have heard several different versions of what actually happened, but the bottom line is that the powers that be did not want him in business any longer. As far as that whore girlfriend of his Stephanie Abraham, everyone knew she was trash, but Demasi would defend her like she was a princess. I am from the Chicago area and that girl has always had the worst reputation. (I was at a high school party where 4 guys slept w her during the same night) She has gone to rehab like 4 times and was in jail for alcohol and drugs before she could even drive..she had to complete high school w a GED in a rehab program and despite never holding down any job and failing out of even community college her family tries to continually cover her problems. (She was always striping in bars and night clubs for no reason but attention) We all tried to tell him, but Tony really loved her and wanted the best for her…however it is absolutely no surprise that when he was in trouble and I am sure he was not spending as much money on her that she went on to the next guy victim. It was much easier for her entire family to blame him and try to salvage what was left of her image and the hooker she is probably has guys paying for everything again…Yea…Tony is no saint but Chicago politics ate him alive as soon as he wasn’t doing exactly as he was told.

Anonymous said...

If I am following the story right it sounds like selective prosecution. Why wouldn’t the government press charges again the guy Simonsen in order to get the money back? It seems like some type of deal was made and now they are not prosecuting the proper party. And another question, as slimy as Chicago politics are is it really that easy to change a law? If a nightclub owner has the power to completely change legislation then imagine what happens on crucial issues. I have lived in Chicago for my whole life, but the past few years have shown how bad it really is…this is CROOK COUNTY!!!! And as far as his girlfriend there again is a much larger issue at play. When it is that easy for money and influences to change the outcome of a criminal case we are all in danger. The system can not work. I know this sounds basic, but read between the lines of this story. Again the judge is taking cues from someone and not being impartial. That is problematic at its core.

Anonymous said...

Small World! I know that girl Stephanie Abraham! I met her one day on a Sunday at Stanley’s bar and still have her number. She was sitting with another girl then her friend left and she was sitting alone watching the game. I approached her, we started talking and one thing led to another and she went home with me. I remember a few things she said that struck me as very odd, besides the fact she was good looking yet so easy to pick up. First, when I asked what she did for a living she said “nothing.” She said that because her dad was rich and connected she did not need to work or do anything except drink a lot. Next, she talked about how much she drank. She said she drank something like 10 beers in the 2 hours she was there but had a lot more before she got there. I did not believe her but when we got to my house she drank like 3 shots of Jack Daniels right away. Then she bragged about never taking a shower! She said she went days without showering and was very proud of that fact. I started laughing but she was serious. I did not know whether to sleep with her or throw her in the shower. I know it sound bizarre but it’s true! I can not see how this girl could be taken seriously about anything. But I guess whoever her dad is..he must have a lot of clout or know the right people to be able to do that to him.

Anonymous said...

I have had the opportunity to meet and work with Tony while I was in the industry of night life in Chicago. Through that time I got to know him at his prime of success. Tony is a man who you could count on. Tony is a man who would be willing to help others with no questions asked. He is a man that was always ahead of the curve, because this was his passion as a person! He is a very smart, passionate, outgoing, down to earth person. It is sad to see anyone to go through anything of the criteria, rich or poor! I will stand by him 100% in every way. I did then, and I do now. It is difficult this day in age to know someone as genuine as Tony. Almost everyone in the night life business and most people in general talk rumors and talk behind others back. It’s like a big high school. Picture that! Imagine high school, which is sad… but at the end of the day... when this is all over and the truth is out, the world will be a better place with Tony Demasi

Anonymous said...

Please look up "magnet" and "magnate." A distraction in an otherwise very interesting article.

Anonymous said...

What is interesting is that this article has failed to speak about why he is being prosecuted. He stole peoples' money and used to fund his personal expenses like Vegas and trips to Miami. Then when those investors asked how their investments were doing he lied and said that they were doing remarkably well. The article also fails to mention that he never even invested the monies into his so called hedge fund but told investors that he did. He also gave people fake earnings reports. So though he might have been "so kind to everyone" and "not a typical nightclub owner", he was stealing money and lying about it on the side. So regardless of who did not want him in the business anymore, this had nothing to do with his side business of stealing peoples' money. Some of these people were his best friends. He took advantage of countless people and stole their money and now is paying the price.

Anonymous said...

I went to school with Tony and he is a very competitive person. But one thing he is not is greedy or selfish. I can guarantee by knowing his character the way that I do, that any rule he broke was done as a misplaced way to succeed and not steal. When the whole final story comes out everyone will see this guy for what he really is…someone that cares a great deal about people and someone who’s drive to win put him in a bad place. I am not saying everything he did was right. But I know he did not have some big plan to take people’s money and run. By reading this article it makes complete sense that he trusted people too much and they screwed him. If this article is correct and he got what he should have and everyone would have made money, then this entire case would have been better served going after different people that make your city the way it is and clean it up.

Anonymous said...

I went to school with Tony and he is a very competitive and intelligent person. But one thing he is not is greedy or selfish. I can guarantee by knowing his character the way that I do, that any rule he broke was done as a misplaced way to succeed and not steal. When the whole final story comes out everyone will see this guy for what he really is…someone that cares a great deal about people and someone who’s drive to win put him in a bad place. I am not saying everything he did was right. But I know he did not have some big plan to take people’s money and run. By reading this article it makes complete sense that he trusted people too much and they screwed him. If this article is correct and he got what he should have and everyone would have made money, then this entire case would have been better served going after different people that make your city the way it is and clean it up.

Anonymous said...

I can not bite my lip any longer. I worked at Tsunami. We worked crazy long hours and it was definitely not a company set up to steal or line our pockets. The culture was one of hard work and hard play. We were working to do something unique in the entertainment business and were very close to have many venues out of state. This Chicago culture is very corrupt and was hard to deal in much of the time. But, it also allowed us to showcase our talent and the plan was to always have a presence in the city but build a much bigger company. Soon that company would have been very big and many insiders did not like that fact. Tony ran the company well and I can say I learned a whole lot in the business world during my short time there. He is a very intelligent hard working person. I was not involved in the trading side but do know 100% it was not fraudulent. He did have a partner and did have top rate trading platforms. Stuart, the guy he developed the platform with was in the office a lot and I know by the budget that many payments were made to put that deal together. Whatever happened in the end was part of this city corruption and not because of some will to scam people. This story gives a lot of true facts and sheds light on some important points. When Kolentus pulled strings to get Demasi investigated he never had a chance. Also, Demasi became more of a target because of the other people he knew. There were some very shady things done to him right before the Feds came knocking. I know people are going to think what they want, but I can tell it first hand, this company was legit. He is being charged for misuse of funds and misallocation. I do not even think he denies that part, but that is a far cry from a ponzi scheme and company that is a fraud.

jayhawkdez said...
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Anonymous said...
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jayhawkdan said...

I do not know Tony (think I may have met him once), but I definitely know the Abraham Family well. I grew up in Barrington Hills and know all about this family. I was very excited when someone told me a story was out that exposes them. This is the worst family of people you will ever met! I have held in my dislike for them for years and Stephanie is by far the worst of all of them. To say she is a whore is putting it mildly. She is a very aggressive trashy girl. She slept with my boyfriend as soon as we started having problems. She is a walking Lifetime movie. She has absolutely zero morals. She did drugs and drank during high school until she got kicked out and arrested. She wears practically no clothes in public. (Jean shorts that do not even cover her in the cold weather)…SICK!! I can not even say some of the things I know she has done because they are too vulgar for words. She does nothing except leach off of her Dad and what ever guy she is with (that depends on the time of day). Her dad is of course divorced and now lives in Miami and pays to hang out with girls younger than his daughters (like 18 tops). And not in a cool classy older guy way, but in a creepy gross way. My father told me he made his money is some Wall Street scams. The worst part is that they are so superficial and judgmental of everyone. Fix your own family before you talk about others! They are dysfunctional as individuals and a family. Yet they think they are perfect and act like social elitists. This guy is not the first guy they have tried to hurt and basically ruin to uphold their ugly lie of an existence and he will not be the last. I hope more comes to light about how twisted they really are, finally!

Anonymous said...

Look...the world needs girls like this - She is Hot and Very Promiscuous - That is a guys dream! Lets not be so quick to judge. It is DeMassi 's fault. Its not like Tony had trouble meeting girls. He owned the hottest night club in the city and knew tons of them. The best advice my Father ever gave me, "Don't put a ring on the town whore's finger" He had to have known how screwed up mentally she is- and had to know about that girl's past- Everyone Knows! He could have had his fun and moved on - I Blame Him!

Anonymous said...

I can personally say that Tony did steal funds through private equity trying to "sell" Reserve. He manipulated individuals to think they were going to be the next hot shot in Chicago, and took over $500k from personal associates. This is cruel and unfair to prowl on the helpless young up-and-coming faces of the city. He ruined good families lives and set back individuals years on their careers, which is unreal! Tony deserves his spot in the pen and hope he enjoys dropping the soap. This is for all the individuals who were affected by Tony’s reckless doings.

Anonymous said...

Reckless perhaps, but I know this situation very well and even invested a lot of money with him. (saw all the FBI files, talked to investigators, etc) He had everything already, and could get whatever he wanted; he did not need to steal any money especially 500K from some “associates”...Demasi is an innovator and very smart guy. He turned nothing into a big business and didn’t make mistakes until the end not to build his business. He allocated money to a trading system in order to get the deal of a lifetime done, instead of just trading that money..but he never personally benefited from any of it. The reason I can not be upset is that he actually spent a lot of his own money for the benefit of the whole system. If corrupt and jealous people in Chicago did not have put 100’s of thousands of dollars into investigating him and looking to ruin him, he would have made more money than almost anyone in the city. I am talking 100s of millions over a couple years starting within three months from when he was sued..that is fact! And from that much more to come at age 31! If he was a criminal he would have not keep putting money into his business and would have siphoned it. MANY people also made money from their investment, (full disclosure I did not but I have many friends that did.) As far as the “hot shots” in Chicago, if you need social acceptance that bad, then, not to be cruel, but you might as well just give your money away..and as far as that girl Stephanie Abraham, every time I saw her I could not believe she was actually dating anyone..she showed up to a formal event in cut off jean shorts that left nothing to the imagination and a see through tight tee shirt (looked like she was by a pool then just came w out changing)..every time she was at the club she was wasted to the point she could barely stand (first time I met her, no offense, but I thought she was a working girl).

Anonymous said...

I think June 19, 2010 Anonymous is actually Tony or one of his relatives. Pretty funny post! I too invested money, talked to investigators and have read all court filings (as Tony must have...). Based on the foregoing, I can not see any way Tony would have made 100's of millions of dollars. What a joke! He couldn't even pay back his small investors because he was running a ponzi scheme and toward the end, no one would give him new money to pay back prior investors. I find it amusing your claim that you invested money and never got a return (and probably lost it all together). Also amusing is that you don't have a problem with the false performance statements, his personal use of Tsunami funds, and the fact he never actually invested most of the money in his so-called hedge fund and that the fund lost money every single month of its existence despite fraudulent claims of outstanding performance. Bottom line is Tony squandered millions of his investors/friends' money and broke the law in doing so. He has admitted his guilt which should be the definitive interpretation of his actions as the managing partner of Tsunami.

Anonymous said...

Wait...so STEPHANIE ABRAHAM ATTTACKS A POLICE OFFICER AND IS ARRESTED? What kind of logical person does this? Then she simply points a finger and the guy is taken away in cuffs....clearly she is credible?! This is exactly what is wrong with domestic law enforcement. A woman can say anything and the man is arrested and must stand trial without any proof or any evidence. It sounds like Ms. Abraham has drug and alcohol abuse issues and if she is attacking police officers, anger issues, sociopathic behavior issues, yet she can point a finger with no physical proof two weeks after the fact and the guy is arrested and jailed? Great system! Plus add corrupt Chicago politics with it and the father's apparent clout and you have the perfect storm for an ambiguous bullshit law to be nothing more that a hate weapon.

Anonymous said...

Now that we know Tony isn't posting about himself... I too would be very excited if your claims were true. I would also love to get my money back because the CFTC payout was minimal. Are you working with authorities in the context of the CFTC case, the criminal case or through your own litigation?

BTW, even if there is a pot of gold at the end of all of this, I I will still have no sympathy for Tony.

mike volpe said...

Folks, I love all the comments on both sides. Just please try and avoid swearing. That's usually the only reason why a comment wouldn't be allowed.

Anonymous said...

My claims are true. The problem is while Demasi was in court on many different matters his counterparty hired Foley and Lardner and was in small town Montana court getting a judge to verify that the contract w Demasi was invalid, thus posing a major problem for us. However, it is clear from all the evidence that Simonsen perjured himself and that could cause this case to swing back around to the facts. We probably should not be posting all of this on some chat board, but I am working with authorities on the case as much as possible, however it is private litigation. If you are in the case you will be notified at initiation of this action towards the end of July and would love any help I can get. As far as sympathy, I guess I have some as you called out in my last post. But sympathy or not really does not matter, nothing will help him with this matter and most of his punishment already is worse than I could imagine.

Anonymous said...

But you fail to answer why he would take investors' money and not place it in his hedge fund and then tell them they were making a ton of money when their money was gone. How is the other person/case/montana thing even relevant???? As an investor Tony said the money would be placed in a hedge fund. It was not and then he lied about it.

Anonymous said...

I suppose the Montana issue is relevant because if Tony/Tsunami had a legit deal that has made money, it is an asset of the company subject to some sort of liquidation or payout to the Tsunami investors and creditors who lost a ton of money. There was a small payout from some funds the CFTC was able to salvage, but it was around 8 cents on the dollar. Therefore, there are a lot of people that would like to believe that the Montana deal is legit so more money can be paid back to the victims.

Anonymous said...

Ok..last comment…..I have no idea why he did that; guess we need a good psychiatrist to figure that part out. The Montana case is relevant because all of the misallocated money and more was spent on paying for and developing the trading systems; therefore its profits (which it has made a great deal of profit and is very valuable) are property of the corporation. This issue is really a simple contract issue when you get down to it all. The high lifestyle and the jets were not funded from trading investment. In addition to the facts and financial documents reviewed in the case, I have known Tony for a long time and he had a crazy lifestyle before he ever started his company. I admit at first I was very upset and not rational (as most), yet after all of the dust settled if collections would have been made on these trading profits there would be much more money than invested. The other club disaster is Ego of everyone involved. There was really never any reason for them to close except for everyone getting greedy and trying to take them over themselves caused them to close and the courts to order the sale.

Anonymous said...

While, you all go back and forth on the financial legalities of this case, I am fascinated about the other aspects. The corrupt crooked Cook county politics and the Evil Vixen girlfriend part of this case. God this would make a great Movie! First you have Mob influence squeezing money out of the night clubs charging them for basic old school protection money cloaked in a new format of “licensing.” They are paying loads of money and probably grabbing with both hands themselves while all the time running a club with every hot girl in the city, socialites, and celebrities as mainstays. Then they hit a road block (probably set up) to stop the bottle service, which costs even more money and leads to corrupt legislation rigging! Then the Evil Vixen, Stephanie Abraham, gets lured to the dark side, which is not hard because her family is already in bed (literally) with the enemy and there is so much dirt on a girl like that it probably took 2 minutes to find. She screws him over and then again with others involvement actually gets him thrown in jail right in the middle of the entire legal battle, for something were obviously there was never any proof and eventually even had to be dismissed. Then her own mother finds her flesh and bloods actions to be so despicable she actually backs the guy and the girl’s family is torn like the civil war. The evil hooker was probably stealing secrets and working for the other side the entire time…she doesn’t mind sleeping with the guy for a couple of years in the mean time (probably lived like a queen during the time anyway). This movie then could go in a ton of different directions but the end needs to have a twist…guy from out of town, Big Finance hedge funds, Night Clubs, Chicago corruption, Evil Hookers, and then the twist ending. The girl sleeps with all sides and ends up splitting all the money with the trader guy that kept all the money. Or the money is hidden and the evil hooker is the only one that knows all the parties and somehow fools everyone. Or the guy they think is getting jailed is a FBI agent all along and ends up bringing everyone down…or the whole scam was planed all along and getting caught was an exit strategy, the guy does his time or gets off on some technicality, digs up the cash and moves out of the country. So many possibilities…

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I do not understand what all the hype is about this girl, Stephanie Abraham. I too have known her for a long time. Granted she has had her day looking good, but I saw her out a couple of weeks ago and she has gained about 20 to 30 pounds and looked like she just woke up on the curb. Very very rough looking to say the least and ratty dressed. Remember, she still can not be a day over 24! Yet, her best days are way behind her! And when a girl like her loses her looks what does she have left? We need to be careful how much credit we give to a person that is ugly in every way but on the outside…soon the outside looks will catch up with the inside ugliness and seems like this is already happening with her.

Anonymous said...

So interesting how everyone has an opinion and knows Tony so well. Coming from someone who knew him before and during his "rise" to the "top" I can't help but comment here. I believe that Tony was a good person who got caught up in money and power and greed. Cliche as it may sound, he got in too deep and it changed him. He became a different person, and all the good in him vanished. While many people make mistakes, it is how you handle yourself after the fact that truely shows ones character. Besides finally pleading "guilty" Tony has never admitted full guilt. He continues to point fingers, and claim that he himself is a victim too. He is manipulative and selfish and will say whatever it takes to get people to believe him and trust him. He's very convincing, I know. But the fact is - he STOLE MONEY. From MANY people. His family, his friends, and his loved ones. I don't know Stephanie, but I do think it's pathetic that so many people are commenting here on her slutty outfits and drinking problems. So what - maybe she's trash. That doesn't take away from the fact that Tony is a criminal. In fact, knowing Tony - I'm fairly certain he enjoyed the fact that he was dating such a trainwreck so he could control her. His sentencing is soon, so we'll see how this all pans out, and I'm sure people will all continue to voice their opinions - I just hope people don't lose sight of the real issue here...

Anonymous said...

SENTENCE FOR A CONVICTED FELON: Five years and 3 Million in restitution. The judge commented that Tony continued to engage in illegal activity after he was indicted, after he was disbarred as a lawyer and after the CFTC civil judgment. I have known Tony for 17 years and lost significant money in his illegal scheme. The judge's comments reaffirm my opinion of Tony as a morally bankrupt person that has no regard for the law, the truth, or relationships with family or friends. He got what he deserved today. When he gets out of the bighouse, his wages will be garnished for the rest of his life until he pays back the CFTC judgment of 10+ Million and the restitution of 3 Million. Given that he can't practice law or be involved in any trading, this will follow him the rest of his life. The judge even suggested that he would be better off as a day laborer rather than engaging in schemes to make money. I know I will be enjoying life over the next five years while Tony is suffering in prison which is payback enough for me. SEE YA TONY.....

Anonymous said...

I do not care what anyone says, I know Tony and his is not a good guy, he is a GREAT guy. I have known him forever, he has been unfairly prosecutor because he is in the public eye..but i was at his sentencing and he will do 2 years and 9 months real time and is even appealing that sentence. For anyone that was not there they have NO CLUE what they are talking about...And YES that girl Stephanie Abraham IS TRASH! I pray he wins his appeal so he can stick it to and laugh at all the haters who keep writing and will make his royalties for the book and movie soar!

Anonymous said...

What do you idiots think...he is going to San Quentin or Sing-Sing? Give me a break, he is going to a minimum security prison. He will get good time for helping and working in the jail and not be placed with any violent inmates..WHITE COLLAR CRIME! Plus any program he enters will take more time off..I sincerely hope bad things happen to anyone that stomps on another man just to be a hater and a loser! Maybe when he gets out he will use your money to buy a new yacht, and he will invite me on a vacation where I will take your trashy girlfriend with me and sit around and write cheap shot blog comments about you...but the sad truth is most of the idiots writing these nasty comments do not have anything in your lives to comment about bad or good!

Anonymous said...

Definition of a GREAT guy: 1) Steal $10,000,000.00; 2) Gambling addiction; 3) get disbarred as a lawyer; 4) snitch to the feds; 5) continue in illegal activity after being indicted on felony charges. I hope you are happy having friends like that. Comments on where he is going to prison are premature because the Bureau of Prisons has not made that determination and the length of his sentence is five years and his conduct while locked up will determine any reduction. Given Tony's established pattern of conduct in breaking the rules, I do not foresee him doing very well in that category. Plus, no one likes a snitch in prison. Even if he is at a minimum security facility, there are still pecking orders, codes of conduct, intimidation and assaults. If you know Tony, you would know he is dough boy who can't defend himself. He knows it too, that's probably why his voice was trembling when addressing the judge - he knows he will not do well in any prison setting. It's time to stop blaming others for Tony's criminal activity. Lastly, I'm sure the feds will allow Tony to buy that yacht after he pays of the multi-million dollar judgment. If you are really patient, maybe he'll invite you for a sail.

Anonymous said...

A movie about this would be lame. Where's the drama in all of this?

mike volpe said...

Where's the drama? I have to object. Whatever you think of him, one thing that you can't say is that Demasi's life has been boring.

Anonymous said...

Oh one more thing...of all the girls Tony dated and brought in..(what people have been saying in earlier comments is right on)that last one Stephanie Abraham was a absolute train wreck (was a very pretty girl) with about as much class as horse manure and never nice or rude because she was usually too drunk to talk

Anonymous said...

Another aspect of this story the fool posse fails to comment about because they lost their lunch money, is the fact that the "SNITCHING" the government was talking about, was to help recover funds for the same crying losers throwing darts. If you read the government statement even they said they do not dispute the fact there was a trading firm and accomplices that owes money. They just said that Tony's cooperation efforts were not good enough to convict or sue, the tape recording he made was not sanctioned and that he ruined the investigation when he illegally went after people that threatened his family. My opinion are those are very lame excuses for them not to do their job.

Anonymous said...

I worked at the reserve night club Tony owned. He was a good guy to work for and always repectful of me, nice to be around, and treated the employees beyond right. I was just turning 22 when I worked there and work other places since that care nothing about their employees. He kicked out one of the biggest client's in the city that spent a minimum of 5K each time in the door for abusing his servers including me. On the other hand it was the investors in the company, like the ones commenting, that were acting like hot shots, throwing their money around,giving advice of how to run the place when it was clear they knew nothing about it. One wormy looking guy actually told me how to pour a drink, right before his pathetic agressive attempts to hit on me and all the other servers. Two night later he was in with his serious girl friend and looked completely panicked like I was going to say sometihng. Sounds like a similar premise, the same wealthy snobs lost a little money (which they invested in a night club and high risk trading fund btw)are now shooting their mouths off ananomously once again acting like they know everything...if Tony makes a come back and does get a boat...I will go on it with him as well and knowing the way Tony is and his big intelligent thinking he probably will find a way.

Anonymous said...
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mike volpe said...
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Anonymous said...

Money: Demasi had nearly 100 investors so he nickeled and dimed people for $100K investments to get to the ten million mark and that is not the kind of large scale fraud that would make a good movie unlike a Bernie Madoff type of villian. Betrayal: He swindled family and friends which could have a moderate level of drama but most of the victims are young professionals with egos making them unsympathetic as pointed out by other posters. The alleged betrayal in the Black Box deal could have more legs but Demasi has provided no information or evidence to allow the feds to pursue that angle and its Tony's word against the word of that Samuelson guy which would prove to be anticlimactic. Sex: The Stephanie character would probably make a good train wreck type of character like Ginger in Casino. Power: Demasi obviously had no power because he apparently got worked over by everyone he came into contact with. He himself never had any power because he was always beholden to others as pointed out in the main article and could not counteract the forces purportedly set in motion against him. Wall Street was a great movie as was Casino, Good Fellas etc. but Tony's story reads like a children's book compared to those.

mike volpe said...

I think he had 28 investors and the total invested was 4.7 million dollars.

Beyond your lack of knowledge of specifics of the story, you just named four movies of which this movie would have elements and that's your argument this wouldn't make a great movie?

Are you really making that argument?

Anonymous said...

Mike - Read the CFTC case documents which accurately reflects that total number of victims and dollar amounts lost in the Tsunami scheme. The criminal case is only an exemplar of of victims and amounts lost. Please don't accuse people of not knowing what they are talking about when you obviously fall into the same category. The Judge even said at sentencing the restitution overlaps with the CFTC judgment and implied that he should be making payments on the $10M civil debt which would necessarily satisfy the criminal restitution.

The movies are referenced as examples of compelling crime/mob stories which have dramatic elements (that Mike mentioned) of power, sex, money and betrayal. Demasi's story is woefully lacking in these departments. Would anyone go see a movie where Bud Fox opened a couple of New Your clubs and then get shut down because his investor's money. Doesn't sound like a very good movie. Please explain how Demasi's story in a Hollywood production would compare to the storyline of the previously mentioned movies.

mike volpe said...

Not only have I read the CFTC complaint but I was in the courtroom when the numbers were released and I spoke with more than one victim personally. So, you are of course now arguing with the person that wrote the article on facts.

You should take a look at the first scene of the movie the Player where typical potential Hollywood movies are pitched. Movies are pitched as "it's a combination of one movie and a second movie". In this case, it's a combination of four, five, and six movies.

Look, you don't like Demasi. That's clear. You don't want him to ever see any kind of success. That's also clear, but you are embarrassing yourself in the feeble attempt of hoping to sway unknown persons that you think you would read this and consider making it into a movie.

No one loves to argue more than me but about something legitimate. You want to debate the story, his character, what it says about Chicago, our justice system, our society, and the human psyche, that's one thing. The reality is that this story has a powerful message about all those things.

Frankly, what I've written, what everyone has written, only scratches the surface on what actually happened. Are you doubting that passion has been enflamed on both sides right here. People have both defended and attacked Demasi with equal vigor right here and that makes for a compelling character in any book or movie.

That's only the beginning. There's a whole and complete story to how the bottle service law was changed, how licenses were gotten, and how his friends turned into enemies. You have the mafia, the most powerful politicians in the state, the most powerful business people, and the most beautiful women in the city all inhabiting one ten year period in one person's life. That ten year period saw him come from nowhere to being worth eight digits, owner of the two hottest clubs in the city, an investment firm, a charity, and in a circle of friends that included the most powerful folks in Illinois. From there he lost it all until he faced a judge looking at federal prison time.

Like I said, everyone can make their own determination about what you think of this, but it's laughable to the point of eyebrow raising and peculiar, that someone would proclaim that this wouldn't be a compelling book or movie. That Demasi has so many fierce enemies that they'd go so far as to come on this site and try and convince the world that his story isn't interesting says all you need to know about how interesting the story really is. I know you'll come back and say that you aren't an enemy. You may say something like you barely know him. If that's true, you're in no position to argue how interesting, or lack of interesting, this story is. After all, if that were true, you wouldn't really know the story. So, why would you even say anything then? The more likely scenario is that you know the story really well and realize that it's a bestseller if done correctly and in some sort of pathetic attempt to convince the world otherwise, you are making the argument that it isn't because you hope to convince enough people ahead of time. That's pretty pathetic.

People can read. They can see what's happening. The most powerful journalist in Chicago, John Kass, wrote an article in which he told the world that while Tony Demasi was in prison, under mysterious circumstances, NO ONE WAS TO KILL HIM. Now, when someone has reached that point in their lives that their life is in danger, it's hard to argue that it's been boring. That you are still arguing that it is boring is curious, to say the least. All I do know is that I've heard a lot of dumb arguments in my life and yours is on the short list.

mike volpe said...
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Anonymous said...

Tony is scum! I was an investor in his hedge fund and also in his "new" club cresendo that had 2 identical subscription agreements called 2 different things so no one could go back and ask why they weren't getting paid back yet? For all of you that "know" Tony, get real.
The real truth is he is a liar, thief, scumbag, cheat and everything else you can say about a guy that calls you " my friend" and steals from you, anyone ever hear that line from him??? I'm sure you did, we all did. He knew exactly what he was doing it wasn't bad luck it was stupidity and criminal. He got what he deserves for what he did!!!! ADIOS AMIGO

Anonymous said...

Well, I beg to differ. Tony has done more for me personally than nearly anyone. I know the good in him FAR outweighs the bad...and I am with him till we RIP! I am not the type of person like so many that rides a persons coat-tails until trouble hits his life then flips on him like so many. TD is a very intelligent guy with a hell of a lot of skills and caring, funny, cool, imaginative, and insightful guy..to name a few things good. This is a guy I am proud to call a friend and know he has a lot more on his mind than chat board comments, but if he does read this want him to see me on this saying TD, hang in there brother! Real talk from me, I will be there as a friend forever. Was there during the THICK now I am here during the THIN. I have seen this man do so much good for so many and I have witnessed this mistake cost him everything...but I know the facts that this mistake never benefited him and they have never charged him for anything related to his club business...bottome line, let the haters hate..you do have some real good friends TD including me! Stay strong...well get em again.

Anonymous said...

If you back Tony and think he is so great and are proud to call him your friend then why is your post anonymous??? If you really support him then do it all the way and include your name! That would show support. You're embarrassed of your association with him and thus don't really believe he is a legit guy. I know many of his defrauded investors. They thought he was one of their best friends. He dummied up trading results and took their money for Tsunami when it wasn't even licensed to trade anymore! That's fraud and that's fraud of your closest friends. If you think differently and think he is so honorable, then put your name behind him. Its lame to say you support him and that he is a good guy but then not be willing to let the public know who it is that's dumb enough to still think this guy isn't a rat.

mike volpe said...

The only person that's put his name behind comments is me, the author here. What's good for the goose is good for the gander as they say.

You understand that you just came on here and attacked Demasi ANONYMOUSLY and then attacked his supporters for being anonymous. If you don't see the irony, I'd look up the word.

I'd also point out that the only investor to speak at Demasi's sentencing was Marko Ouzounian, and he spoke in defense of Demasi.

I do, however, agree that saying anything anonymously is much easier than putting your name behind it. Still, I will continue to accept anonymous comments here and after other articles.

Anonymous said...

I agree w the comment before. I support Tony as well and I am his friend even though this situation sucks for everyone. The reason I would never put my name on here is so I would not be attacked by people that lost some money irrationally when I never had anything to do with that..Tony knows he still has a group of very good friends (as shown when we were all out the other night). But putting a name on a chat board or even posting on this board does not fit with the class of things I would usually do. Friends do not need to post about it..he knows it..no ones opinion will be changed by a chat board comment (unless the person reading is a complete fool). I am posting (basically bc I am board at work for one) to refute the person who asked why the other guy would not go public with his name. Not because his support is any less of Tony, but because he does not want people irrationally blaming her/him too. I have been friends with Tony for a long while now..I tried to get him to dump that Trash girlfriend Stephanie Abraham (that did lead to a lot of this B.S. as he was not even criminally charged until that stuff happened) but other than that he knows of my (and others) strong support.

Anonymous said...

What will be interesting to me is what happens to him after this little vacation to a new federal run college. Unlike others speaking I have not been friends with him forever, but still more than a few years now. Tony for better or worse is very unique. One thing I can say about him without a doubt is that he is very very very intelligent and has a really creative mind, inventive personality, and seems to have a knack for seeing things and knowing things not obvious to everyone else. This guy loves to have fun and seems to be smiling and happy all the time..something to be said for that too in this day and age, especially given what he is going through. It is clear this challenge will test him, but I just have a feeling he will turn these lemons into a lemonade stand {probably one with a velvet rope}. It would not shock me to find out he pulls off something amazing here or has some subversive plan.

Anonymous said...

How could someone go out with Tony if he is on house arrest?

Anonymous said...

He is not on house arrest...that lasted for two days after trash whore Steph Abraham's charges were all dismissed..released on federal bond w full travel too. I have been out with him a ton in the last year. We have done more and had more fun as a group than most.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm...So how was he paying for all this going out and travel?I guess your group must have been buying!

Anonymous said...

Someone MUST do a story on the mystery of the girl Stephanie Abraham as well. I feel like people like me know her, but do not know who or what she really is? I was sitting at the table across from her after the Cubs game at a Wrigleyville bar and she lived up to all these comments. I have not seen her in a long time (besides for a quick minute at bull and bear) but Wow! Granted a good looking girl, but she had the smallest shorts ever made on and tightest see-through tank top type shirt. To say her clothes did not fit right is an understatement. Someone needs to correct her from going out like that..she could get a ticket for indecent exposure. To make more of a spectacle she was with a group of other girls. She had guys circling her like sharks (coming over one and two at a time buying her drinks) and she was talking in the foulest mouth I have ever heard from a girl. She was loud and obnoxious, cursing and bouncing all around to get as much attention possible. It seemed like she was competing against all the other girls in the bar like on one of those spring break type girls gone wild contest. She kissed the girl sitting next to her and everyone cheered. It was like she was on stage. I have not known her really well, but she must was pounding shots and slamming beers with like four in front of her at a time. I think she could have drunk most of the biggest guys in the place under the table. It really appeared as if she was working the bar. Does anyone know if she really is a prostitute or just how she is? I just really want to know more about her background and what she really is and how she came into the scene like this so young? The story says she was getting DUI’s at age 15 and in the scene that young…there is a good background story on her someplace. Plus if we can start to connect the dots on her involvement and family’s involvement maybe more questions can get answered?

Anonymous said...

I worked at the reserve night club Tony owned. He was a good guy to work for and always repectful of me, nice to be around, and treated the employees beyond right. I was just 22 when I worked there and work other places since that care nothing about their employees. He kicked out one of the biggest client's in the city that spent a minimum of 5K each time in the door for abusing his servers including me. On the other hand it was the investors in the company, like the ones commenting, that were acting like hot shots, throwing their money around,giving advice of how to run the place when it was clear they knew nothing about it. One wormy looking guy actually told me how to pour a drink, right before his pathetic agressive attempts to hit on me and all the other servers. Two night later he was in with his serious girl friend and looked completely panicked like I was going to say sometihng. Sounds like a similar premise, the same wealthy snobs lost a little money (which they invested in a night club and high risk trading fund btw)are now shooting their mouths off ananomously once again acting like they know everything...if Tony makes a come back and does get a boat...I will go on it with him as well and knowing the way Tony is and his big intelligent thinking he probably will find a way.

Anonymous said...

I posted another comment (this as my second.) That girl Stephanie Abraham has upset me for a very long time. I hate the way she treats people. She walks around so arrogant like hot shit when sober..although she is generally on so many drugs and so drunk when out it is hard to really tell. I saw her out at a benefit party (of all places) whacked out the other night..could not even hold her head up..she was leaning all over some tall blonde kid to hold her up. I NOW HAVE AN UPDATE..SHE HAS HAD SEX FOR MONEY....recently with several different guys on different nights CONFIRMED..she puts herself in a position where they hit on her..takes them home and asks them for money and to buy her stuff after..she does the whole girl friend experience type thing..not sure if she was doing it before when she was with Tony but definitely now. The guy I spoke with directly was very surprised..thought she was just a random drunk girl in a bar, but after the fact wanted a lot. He was surprised how she was out by herself and how she appeared so wasted and easy.. That is part of the reason she dresses like such a tramp and get so drunk to draw attention so guys know she is an easy girl and she can get picked up....... She MOST DEFINITELY CAN NOT BE TAKEN SERIOUS AT ALL...Stephanie Abraham is COMPLETE TRASH!! I also hear a rumor that she has HEPATITIS C and gets tested for other STDs regularly..I actually got the information from a real reliable source (w no reason to lie) but obviously have not confirmed it..I will try to get real data but at this time it is merely a rumor...

Anonymous said...

(PART II)
(I know it might be considered mean to print this, but what about what she did and is doing to others..another person commenting said she might look good on the outside but inside she is very ugly..THIS IS THE TRUTH in a actually way telling you about the inside of her) Bottom line is that it is time to really focus on all these people casting stones and claiming to be so upstanding...I would like nothing more than to read about all their lives viewed under a microscope starting with this Abraham Family, this Simonsen Guy, and all the others. Tony seems to be paying the price for this media circus...there is no way the punishment fits the crime..I want to help take all these people apart at the seems and show their true colors. I personally know how this feels to have your life picked apart and although nothing to this magnitude has ever happened to me, it upset me so much that when I see something like this I want to jump in and help. The Fact is most of them are FAR worse than Tony starting with Stephanie Abraham...(and how many different school can her father buy her into until she can get her own degree? This time it is FLORIDA ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY(looks like that Dean should get a phone call) When will he stop paying for her way out of her sleazy desperate ugly mean spirited life?).. what happens is that we as a society love to blame and kick people when they are down..so now lets look at them!! I do not claim to be perfect myself, I am not, but I am not trying to arrest people for no reason or ruin their lives because they made me look bad. Read the real police reports from this Abraham family..she what really happened how she called it in weeks after something supposedly happened...how he was picked up at his own house weeks after when he was by himself....how her sister is hired to Demasi enemy..how Abraham hired a clout attorney to "help" the state prosecute Demasi...Judge O'Brien should be forced to answer some questions! A MILLION DOLLAR CASH BOND for alleged petty criminal damage to property? That is shameful abuse of power in the most corrupt sense....Read the Miami Police reports about how Stephanie kicked, hit with a rock, and spit on police officers..how she was charged with a felony in Florida and how the father but Demasi in jail so he could not testify against him after HE WAS ARRESTED in Florida for ATTACKING Demasi...So when all these comments talk about how Stephanie Abraham is Trash...I agree..but its far worse..because of her fast fading good looks and semi rich scamer political father and her contempt to want to hurt a man who dated her and treated her but now was not "cool" to be with any longer..wanted to give the final farewell spitting on him, just like she did to the Cop that made her a felon in Florida..Lets hold everyone accountable. I will be back with more.

Anonymous said...

Suit filed against auto dealership
Story

JAN FALSTAD Of The Gazette Staff | Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2002

Two Crow Agency men who loaned $400,000 to a Billings auto dealership have filed suit in District Court to collect the balance of their loan.
Pius Crooked Arm and Vincent Crooked Arm of Crow Agency say that in January of 2001 they loaned $400,000 to High Country Hyundai-Subaru of Billings and its current owner and president, Stuart Simonsen of Billings.
The Crooked Arms claim Simonsen and the Subaru dealership made monthly payments of $8,898 until February 2002. Then the payments stopped. They sued Simonsen and the Subaru dealership after learning the business is being sold to Rimrock Auto Group in early June.
The plaintiffs argued that a court injunction should be issued to stop the sale because the loan is secured by $500,000 worth of cars and trucks at the dealership.
Billings attorney Elizabeth Honaker, who represents the Crooked Arms, said the brothers inherited the money they loaned the dealership.
The suit alleges Simonsen and a saleswomen, Terri Lyn Braun, repeatedly approached the Crooked Arms for a loan beginning in the fall of 2000. Braun also goes by the name Terri Lyn Humphrey.
Braun and Simonsen "wined and dined" the men, promising lucrative profits, the suit states. The loan was for five years at 12 percent interest, and Simonsen also promised to give each brother a new vehicle each year and pay for maintenance.
The complaint alleges Simonsen and his wife, Marie, signed a misleading financial disclosure statement claiming they had assets to cover the loan. In addition to his dealership, Simonsen is a managing partner of Wilborsen Capital LLC, a limited liability company based in Nevada.
Under the loan agreement, Simonsen and Subaru agreed not to sell the dealership, the suit alleges. The complaint claims the defendants failed to notify the Crooked Arms of a dealership name change from Homestead Subaru Hyundai to High Country Subaru-Hyundai.
Simonsen, Braun and former Subaru owner Wayne Kimmet are named as defendants in the lawsuit.
Steve Zabawa, one of the co-owners of Rimrock Auto, which is buying the Subaru dealership, said Simonsen fully disclosed the loan. He called the lawsuit premature.
When the sale is closed June 3, "they will be taken care of by Stuart Simonsen," Zabawa said. "I don't blame them for trying to protect their interests, but this will never go to court."
Honaker said after negotiating Wednesday with the defendants, she is confident her clients will collect the loan balance of $360,869, plus damages and attorney's fees.
In a separate legal action, Braun and Kimmet of the Subaru dealership and Crow Tribe Chairman Clifford Birdinground were named in a federal lawsuit April 19 in U.S. District Court in Billings.
A federal grand jury indictment accuses Birdinground of conspiracy, bribery and theft for allegedly swapping vehicles owned by the tribe to get cars and trucks for his friends and family.
Jan Falstad can be contacted at (406) 657-1306 or at jfalstad@billingsgazette.com
Copyright 2010 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Posted in Local on Wednesday, May 15, 2002 11:00 pm

Anonymous said...

http://billingsgazette.com/news/local/article_3cafc9be-5895-52a4-9e58-1a89023c2c59.html

Anonymous said...

Why does everyone want to hate on everyone so badly?..people come onto a web site and say "oh...he should have got a lot more" or "he is definitely in transit"...who are all of you to judge and who are all of you to know the justice system? I am a lawyer and I am his friend. That guy did not deserve any of this BS. He paid for his crimes long ago. He dated, Stephanie Abraham, the biggest whore piece of shit on the planet, that is punishment enough. He got so much taken from him including his law license and a ton of money and force to pay over a million in defense funds. Now everyone seems to know what is going on and where he is, but I know him and you guys are dead wrong! Let me tell you another thing about Demasi, he will come back and will win..and I bet all of you haters and know it alls anything you want, you will see him WAY before 5 years! Obviously, none of you even understand the federal system or how it works..there are other programs, time off, and witsec cooperation programs (but I also know he did not even tell them half the stuff they wanted from him) He provided info on the scum that stole money from him and his company and people he knew committed a massive securities fraud out of state. Everyone thinks he turned on all the politicians and OC people, but he did not (maybe he should have)..that is how he remained in Chicago with his head up. Yes, he is gone for a while and will be missed but do not talk about what you do not know. Everyone that takes shots at the guy behind anonymous emails and hidden letters should grow a set and put their name to the disparaging remarks. I guarantee if any of you had the government tear your lives or businesses apart you would not deal with it half as well as he did.

Anonymous said...

Demasi should be the new spokes person for Dos Equis Beer...he definitely is "the most interesting man in the world"...my only regret is I did not get to know him even better. It is also obvious the guy was too good for that club scene and others got jealous. It is almost impossible that he did not bury a good chunk of money someplace. I hope the comment above is not true and they did not find it all. I want this guy to make a comeback....that might be the best story ever!

Anonymous said...

I went to law school with Anthony Demasi at Georgetown. This makes very little sense to me. I was in some classes with him and studied with him quit a bit. The guy was a mental machine! I met a lot of bright people in school, but he was very intelligent as well as extremely savvy. Another odd point is he studied securities and tax law, white collar crime, and worked at the SEC through school. I know he had a lot of great job offers out of school and ended up on Wall Street for a while. I kept in touch with him some (probably not as much as I should have), but he was a great guy in school and the entire time I was close to him. He had comfortable money during school too. Furthermore, there is no doubt he could have accomplished anything he wanted. Therefore there has to be a much larger story to this dark commentary. If anyone hears please post where he ends up so I can touch base. I will try to phone his family as well and figure it out.

Anonymous said...

Lets get something strait. Money was stolen by Demasi from his investors. I asked for my money back pursuant to our contract and he gave me the run around until it was too late and he was shut down by the feds. His ponzi scheme ran out of money to pay me back. This guy is a thief. To say that he is the victim in all of this and to blame some girl is pathetic. I could care less where Demasi spends his next few years, no matter where it is his life will be miserable. When he gets out, I hope he makes a ton of money so he can pay back the CFTC judgment and criminal restitution. Unfortunately, I don't see how that will happen with him being disbarred, banned by CFTC and a convicted felon. Who in their right mind would go into business with a guy like that?

Anonymous said...

Everyone has a story. People state things like they are law.."lets get one things straight"...I do not like posting but posts like this make me chime in. The guy is my friend. He has always been great to me. Even in his mistakes dealing with me, I know they were unintentional...(many people do not know what he went through or how bad he got screwed himself)..I am not blaming any girl..Stephanie Abraham is a whore..when his money got short she flew south for the winter and is a tramp loser, but she has no idea about any business so definitely was not responsible for his business mistakes... and to answer the question...I will do business with him when he gets out. Tony is intelligent, hard working, and very creative.

Anonymous said...

Demasi will someday come back strong. People have no idea what makes this guy tick and how smart he really is. I do agree that the Steph Abraham girl was not the whole issue. Demasi did not need to latch on to a floozy like her...he had tons of options. Demasi believed everything would work out and the ends justify the means..obviously they do not and he probably learned some big lessons...but if he can keep his sanity, he will be back some day strong, watch!

Anonymous said...

I know a secret about Demasi. He is really a math nerd. He was studying Philosophy in school, then I saw him in my hardest math class, Linear Algebra. He told me he was auditing the class to learn it and was also taking some vector calculus class for fun! Who the hell does this for FUN? He also wanted to study quantum math in his "spare time?" This guy has some serious issues....I was miserable in that course but looking over at him made it worse to know he was there by choice!

Anonymous said...

Those of you who continue to be friends with Demasi and defend his actions are more than welcome to your opinion, however, I was also his friend, knew him for almost 2 decades and went to college with him. The defenders do not have a monopoly on the "real" insight into Tony Demasi. I knew him well and and have always been aware how smart he is which were main reasons myself and many of his friends invested money. However, intelligence and math prowess do not excuse his actions. Please don't lose sight of what he did to his investors. He stole their money, lied about how and where it was invested, lied about performance of the funds, used investor money for personal expenses, gambled some of it away, and then solicited new investors to pay back old investors or just flat out refused to pay us back. He ran a ponzi scheme for which he admitted guilt and was sentenced to 5 years. Like most con-men, Tony is smart, driven, engaging, charming and extremely likable. Unfortunately, he used his good qualities to defraud his friends and investors. I don't understand why posters keep saying Tony lost so much and then use that statement as an excuse for his actions. Yes, Tony lost some of his own money in the Tsunami debacle, but that provides no mitigation for his criminal actions. If a thief steals your wallet but drops his own in the commission of the crime, he is not absolved of guilt and you are still without your wallet. No one in their right mind should feel sorry for the thief.

Based on information from the sentencing hearing provided by the prosecution and the Court, Tony was engaged in some shady and possibly criminal schemes after he was indicted (one of which the Judge said involved illegal drugs). I believe that Tony's criminal conduct during the Tsunami scheme and his actions after indictment demonstrate a pattern of conduct whereby Tony will always take the path of least resistance to wealth. More times than not, the easy path is criminal. Rather than turning a blind eye to to the facts, do us all a favor and stop making Tony out to be some kind of scapegoat - it makes you sound ridiculous. Good luck to you all on your future investments with Tony. Just remember - buyer beware.

Anonymous said...

The comment that Demasi's actions were unintentional just made me laugh hysterically. Wow! That comments shows why you were an easy mark and will probably be one later when he gets out.

Anonymous said...

Some of these comments are ridiculous. I am still friends with Tony..and though he would not like to hear this, it has not always been easy sticking by him, but I go back to what really happened and the real truth. First, Tony did not plead guilty to a "ponzi scheme." I was the only "victim" in court, I heard it first hand. Tony was at such a high point with so much heightened publicity that what was a mistake got multiplied 10x. Second, Tony does not make excuses for his actions. I took time to hear him out, listen and talk to him after it happened. He admits to wrong, but the real story (even as the government stipulates) is much different than what is out there in the press. The government lawyer made a point (when refuting Demasi's attorney) "this case certainly is a public interest case" (again showing that Demasi's status made them prosecute harder something that would have gotten lesser treatment if it was a random person) BUT Tony is not the guy wandering around pointing fingers. Others, including myself are the people saying he got a raw deal. Also, people are right to bring the girl Stephanie Abraham into the fray. She is a user and a low life. She is so selfish and did some things not worthy of debate on this board. But worse she brought more public scrutiny to this issue and had to be the big loud mouth whore around town. Next, while this investment did not turn out well, I have made money with Tony in different facets, he has helped me with personal matters, and I can say knowing him has bettered my life. He is a good business man and is a great person that wears his heart on his sleeve, cares about others, and has a tremendous amount of positive qualities. Others that invested were so quick to judge they say they were friends with that guy for so many years, but did not even take the time to see what really happened. He and I have talked about this...even then he just shrugged, smiled and said 'I guess I just lost a lot of pretend friends' and that is what they were..but again I am not writing to "justify" or defend because Tony does not need that help and has not asked for that publicity. I am writing to say SO many used him for their own ends and that is it. Getting to understand the situation and sift through all the B.S., listen to things first hand, see it first hand, judge real reactions, and not be so fast to stone another person was worth it in this case. People could say anything to me, and it still would not change my impression nor my affiliation. It is simply ashame that this man gets no public credit for all the good he has done in his life (and it has been a lot). But honestly knowing Tony the way that I do, I do not think it bothers him. He has never worked for public credit anyway. More people can comment all over the city, news boards, and blogs, bla bla bla..but that is entertainment and people putting others down to make themselves feel better. Because I was directly involved, I took it upon myself to fully understand the matter first hand. The story is much closer to this article than any other + if you add the personal element to it, I have forgiveness, understanding, and will hopefully be friends with Tony for long into the future.

mike volpe said...

Also, I don't believe that there were as many investors as now claim are investors. So, either every investor, and then some, are here, or some people are only claiming to be investors in some sort of an attempt to gain credibility.

Anonymous said...

Mike: As the author of the original article, I am surprised that you don't know how many investors there were. In 2009, the Court appointed Receiver sent a claim application form in the CFTC to be filled out if you were owed/lost money relating to Tsunami Capital, Tsunami Venture Fund, Tsunami Start-Up, Tsunami LDS Fund, Reserve and/or Crescendo. Subsequently, the Receiver sent a list of claimants and amounts claimed which numbered about 100 with total claims approximately $10M. On July 9, 2009, the claimants were paid about 8 cents on the dollar. As with any criminal case, the identified victims were only representative of the whole group. This would be akin to prosecuting a serial killer for 1 or 2 murders rather than 20 or Bernie Madoff for bilking several identified investors instead of the thousands of actual victims. I suggest you check the CFTC court file or do a freedom of information request so you can get all of the facts. Also look up the case of Gilot v. Tsunami Capital, LLC, a case in Texas for a little more insight into how Demasi ruined a family man's life. As a blogger, I guess you are entitled to your opinion, which I believe is pro-Demasi, or you just like stirring up the pot. But if you consider yourself a reporter, then get the facts. The only reason I post here is because a select few people want Demasi to be portrayed as a victim who did nothing wrong which simply is not what happened.

mike volpe said...

THat last comment is slick and vets very deep in the weeds. I don't think that anyone argues that this is the most in depth piece on all this out there. So my reporting on all this shouldn't be questioned.

My point is that I don't believe that most of the people claiming to be investors were investors.

If you invest in a night club and that investment "ruins your life" then you shouldn't have made that investment in the first place. None of the investments involved in any of this should have been made by anyone that didn't have an immense amount of disposable in estment dollars.

That d

Anonymous said...

Mike, I agree that your piece is the best out there, however, I think that it is completely fair to pose questions to you when you do the same to the commentators. I feel bad for those who lost a lot in Tsunami or if their loss affected their security. They should not have invested if they couldn't afford to lose it. The range of losses was in excess of $800K to $50K for individual investors and numerous smaller claims for vendors that were not paid. Tony hurt a lot of people, some close fiends and some not so close. Some were hurt financially and some were not. Regardless, he acted intentionally and criminally. He did not unintentionally gamble, he did not unintentionally write and send out false performance statements, he did not unintentionally use Tsunami funds to pay his personal expenses, and he did not unintentionally use new money to pay back old investors, all the while not informing his investors of any of his true actions. Clearly this story evokes powerful reactions on both sides. Many people I know follow but don't comment. Perhaps a follow up story exploring some of the issues raised in the comments? Better yet, an interview with Demasi, you will know where to find him shortly.

mike volpe said...

A follow up story is coming however it appears all you really know you get from indictments and other government documents. If people, especially "a lot of people", were hurt, I'd love to talk to them, but the only one willing to go on the record so far was Rocky Nendza and his story is relayed. Besides that, all that's been said are allusions to people being hurt.

Anonymous said...

The haters come out and it sounds like the exact same person posting negative after negative comment. It is a joke. NO media talk about all the good this man has done, all the people he has helped, and all the people that have profited from his investments or his help. I know some of those people and I am one myself. Demasi absolutely IS A VICTIM in regard to a lot of the things that happened to him. Most of what happened he did not deserve. He admitted to his wrong, tried to correct it, did not point fingers, stood up for himself stayed in Chicago..did not change his home nor phone number. Demasi acted like a stand up guy. In turn he was used by so many, got more than the punishment he deserved, was not benefiting from any of this "criminal action." Even the government states, "although he did not directly benefit, his actions are fraudulent by law therefore prosecution is appropriate." Ok, sure, but just goes more to the point that Demasi himself believed what he was doing would work out for the best interest of his company, his investors, and himself. In the end he owned up to his wrong, is doing what he needs to in order to correct it and has been humble about it. That is why I will stand behind him in the future and as it sounds so will many others.

Anonymous said...

I still can not believe after reading this story only a few have commented on the fact that there is a man named Stuart Simonsen that OWE TSUNAMI and DEMASI millions of dollars. The judge froze this guys money and the CFTC has finally acknowledged that a contract was made and started pursuing the funds. But because the public interest has not demanded it and Demasi has not been able to keep up with Simonsen's legal expenditures that it is somehow equitable that that money is allowed to be kept by Simonsen and not returned to Tsunami investors or Demasi. This is a prime example of how the media has biased this case and it is selective prosecution in play. He should be accountable for his actions as well and he should be criminally charged and all that money should be returned.

Anonymous said...

I can personally attest to the vulgarity of Stephanie Abraham. I know Steph from both South Beach Miami and Chicago. When I first met her she told me her hobbies were f….king and play the guitar. I thought we had something in common bc I play the guitar too, until she told me..”but I know longer play the guitar.” Basically, the whole embodiment of that girl is sex and animal self serving behavior. She is a drunk, a drug addict and a criminal herself. I “hung out with her” for a while, until I found out she was cheating on some guy who was a steroid freak. (her ex- before this guy). I just knew what we did and figured if she is this nasty with me imagine what must be going on with him. I am a man’s man, but even this grossed me out. She wondered around all day doing nothing, no job, no school, no life. She always wanted the best of everything from me and thought because she slept w me she deserved it. I have never seen a female drink so much and she was always messed up on some drug. I was out with her one night and a friend pulled me aside and told me to be careful, as he knew of Stephanie Abraham’s reputation. Besides I personally witnessed some behavior that was unethical at best. I know first hand how she must have messed with this guys head and how she must have abused him. I can see how the way this story goes and what people have said; that this is a toxic person and it becomes clear; If this was his affiliation then his problems were who he hung out with and called his friends. If this was any man’s serious girlfriend I feel awful for them. If you hang out with a user, cheater, self serving, and egotistical hooker all day it is bound to catch up with you. You can not write this story without coverage of Stephanie Abraham in my opinion.

mike volpe said...

Here's what I found out about Mr. Gilot,

Mr. Gilot was a law suit for poor legal work. The legal work in question was SEC filings done by a manager at Tsunami that was also an attorney. This manager was the one that was responsible for all the legal work and the only one dealing with Gilot’s company. Of course, Demasi being the CEO of Tsunami and having other charges filed against him was the one named personally in the law suit against Tsunami Capital. This had absolutely nothing to do with the trading systems or night clubs. In fact this story illustrates the point perfectly. Demasi was charged and accused of doing everything wrong even when some things that he was accused of doing had absolutely nothing to do with him nor relate in any way to this story.

Anonymous said...

Tony Demasi was attacked by jealous spiteful people. He was investigated under a microscope. His mistake was exposed then multiplied. The initial charges of “running a company that did not have assets” were later changed and admitted wrong by the government. Still he committed wrongdoing. He misused funds. Had people not jealously attacked him to the fullest extent possible, Demasi’s poor choices would not have been exposed and everyone would have profited from his work the same way they did in the past. All this non sense about his gambling and his personal life is just that, nonsense. I have known Tony a long time too and he has always lived and acted the same way through his whole life. This business did not change him. He has always been the same person the others and I invested in. But before we all loved his exocentric behavior and all enjoyed his generosity and all appreciate his ability to think big. But now since he was charge with more than any one person could live through, and he was attacked by all sides, many of those people have now turned into “victims.” It is laughable. Everyone that invested put money into a night club or a high risk hedge fund. None of these people were old people without money. They are well off professionals, many multi-millionaires with dreams of using his connections and insight and business savvy to get their piece of his dream. I know personally I celebrated many good times I never would have experienced and took a chance on a high risk business. Tony had no idea how badly people wanted him to fail and how hard they worked to bring him down. If any of our lives were that exposed (especially at age 28-30), I am certain a lot of things would come out not everyone would want on the front page. Then if you take that information and twist it and build it up to be more dramatic and more “bad” than it really is, you sway public opinion without getting the whole story. People say all this about “how Tony thinks” or “his attitude” but no one has interviewed HIM or got his quotes. (Mike you do tell a story closest to the truth here) I know he has regret, but his regret is not his personal life or ethics. It is that he misused funds. He is not as some have claimed “a thief,” not even the government’s case is that he “stole money” or even kept any ill gotten money. Every single person in his company would have made money, like many have, even if he was just simply paid what is owed to him. He had assets and had a viable business, but it all came crashing down in fast fashion by the force of high priced legal battles, pressure from those that never stopped to listen, and that wrecked wreck of a girlfriend “Stephanie Abraham” (who does deserves part of the blame), and what he says himself, his own mistakes. But it is important the public understand that he has fought the whole way to win back the money, never made and excuse, and always wanted the best for those around him. It makes me sick how many of the others, including people I know, have acted. I know things about most of those people that are FAR worse than the things Tony Demasi ever did. It is easy to point a finger now!

Anonymous said...

I can personally attest to the vulgarity of Stephanie Abraham. I know Steph from both South Beach Miami and Chicago. When I first met her she told me her hobbies were f….king and play the guitar. I thought we had something in common bc I play the guitar too, until she told me..”but I know longer play the guitar.” Basically, the whole embodiment of that girl is sex and animal self serving behavior. She is a drunk, a drug addict and a criminal herself. I “hung out with her” for a while, until I found out she was cheating on some guy who was a steroid freak. (her ex- before this guy). I just knew what we did and figured if she is this nasty with me imagine what must be going on with him. I am a man’s man, but even this grossed me out. She wondered around all day doing nothing, no job, no school, no life. She always wanted the best of everything from me and thought because she slept w me she deserved it. I have never seen a female drink so much and she was always messed up on some drug. I was out with her one night and a friend pulled me aside and told me to be careful, as he knew of Stephanie Abraham’s reputation. Besides I personally witnessed some behavior that was unethical at best. I know first hand how she must have messed with this guys head and how she must have abused him. I can see how the way this story goes and what people have said; that this is a toxic person and it becomes clear; If this was his affiliation then his problems were who he hung out with and called his friends. If this was any man’s serious girlfriend I feel awful for them. If you hang out with a user, cheater, self serving, and egotistical hooker all day it is bound to catch up with you. You can not write this story without coverage of Stephanie Abraham in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Stuart Simonsen owns a number of Montana LLCs under the name Soren Niels-what does that mean?

Anonymous said...

Simonsen's programmer arrested for murder.

http://www.sacbee.com/2010/04/20/2690604/housemate-arrested-in-slaying.html

mike volpe said...

Also, Mr. Gilot is facing an SEC charge.

http://www.sec.gov/litigation/litreleases/lr19145.htm

Anonymous said...

Whether good or bad, positive or negative, Mr. Demasi moves people. I have never met the man, but I believe I have caught a glimpse of his personality through the posts of others.

Would this be a good story? It would have to be via the viewpoint of someone other than Tony. He is an enigmatic man, who has charisma and charm but also great self-doubt. Don't argue the point. Any man who chooses a woman who is of questionable intelligence, character and has obvious self-loathing issues has serious image issues himself.

Is he a bad man? He made bad choices that he was probably making all along. It was those that chose to take more time investigating their choice in dinner than in the hedge fund they dumped money in to that have to answer that question. You guys honestly thought that all of his dealings were legit? It's great to claim ignorance and claim to be the victom when it doesn't pay off, but go to the parties and ride the coat-tails when everything is cherry, that's just poor character.

Yes, some people were hurt. Yes, the man lied and accepted money on false pretenses. He's in jail. If the trading system paid off, you would all be talking about how he swindled you into making lots of money. His biggest mistake was trusting someone as much as everyone trusted him. Would you have been miffed finding out about the "trade off". Yes. All the way to the bank if it worked out.

The man did for others what he thought they couldn't comprehend to do for themselves. So basically, he thought you wouldn't get the big picture and trust him on this way out scheme. Again, this is my assumption. I have never met the man.

Oh, and leave the damaged goods girl alone. Tony is an adult, and if he was whipped by a pretty face, slutty behavior, and the attitude of "who gives a damn", that's on him. After being with her for two years, there is no way that anyone could say he didn't see the signs... Anybody that can make millions of dollars in deals knows when he's being taken for a ride. Again, back to the self-doubt issues, or he just enjoyed the drama. Some people do get off on it...

Anonymous said...

OK...some news...check out the web site "PornPros.com" go to the amateur section and you will find an interesting "home movie" with ms. Stephanie Abraham and Mr. Demasi that will show the true character of that young "lady." As if that was not enough there is a "solo act" from her under Amateur section "SOLO". Looks like Ms. Stephanie Abraham of Chicago and South Beach does in fact have an actual career that shows her true being!

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Anonymous said...

I found this article after doing alittle digging up.It seems that Stuart Simonsen's wife is spilling her guts about the whole ordeal,its all true,it being her husbands master mind idea.She brags about this and that and how much $ they have,but poor thing gets no attention,so she's off f---ing everyone as well,are these 2 women the same person?She comes from drugs/alcohol/and horroring around herself.Now the plan is divorce/extortion of his $ and running.This girl is one piece of work.She will sell him short or so she claims,someone tell him to check her telephone calls she's up to no good and tlling everyone.

Anonymous said...

Rumor is that Simonsen is being sued for big dough in Illinois.....

Anonymous said...

For what, by whom and in what court?

allen James said...

YOu sure its not Judge Daniel R MIranda or Maybrook courts doing this?>??? Cause he hates men more then anyone on earth as well

Anonymous said...

Rumor is that Simonsen has already tried to settle......

mike volpe said...

Folks, if you just came to this article because "I" sent you an email claiming "I" wrote about you using foul language, please not my email account was recently hacked.

Anonymous said...

Rumor is that Simonsen isn't paying his legal bills....the walls are crumbling...