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Eileen Luongo

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A nurse at a drug rehabilitation clinic in a suburb of Miami allegedly witnesses several 9/11 hijackers using one of the clinic’s computers.

Eileen Luongo, the director of nursing at the Seawinds Healthcare Services in Miami Shores, sees Mohamed Atta at the center in May. She says, “His features were so striking I stared at him for like two minutes and he stared back at me.” In August, she claims, she sees three other alleged 9/11 hijackers there: Marwan Alshehhi, Satam Al Suqami, and Waleed Alshehri. She spends 45 minutes with them after they come into her office to write a letter on a computer. She says, “They just came in like they knew where they were going and they had been there before.”

Luongo later says she wondered if the men were acquaintances of the center’s Egyptian owner, Mohammed Ibrahim, or his relatives. Ibrahim, according to the Miami New Times, is a “convicted felon and charming con man,” who, despite a dubious past, “remains remarkably unhindered by legal considerations and is constantly acquiring properties and embarking on new business ventures.” Since autumn 2000, unknown armed men have occasionally been witnessed showing up at Seawinds, such as a Cuban man who drove up and said to a member of staff, “Tell your boss I’m gonna kill him if he doesn’t pay me.” Furthermore, according to its former medical director Dr. Evan Zimmer, the clinic does not have the necessary licenses for the treatments it administers.

Ibrahim is deported from the US in June 2001 and Seawinds will close three months later. After seeing photos of the suspected hijackers in a newspaper in late September 2001,

Eileen Luongo will contact the FBI and report her encounters with four of them. Agents will meet her at Fort Lauderdale Hospital, where she works part-time. FBI spokeswoman Judy Orihuela says Luongo’s information provides “credible leads we needed to follow up on.” Yet immediately after she meets the agents, Luongo will be fired for doing so. At the time, the hospital will be under investigation by the FBI itself for possible health care fraud.

In the lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Broward County Circuit Court, Eileen Luongo of Davie seeks backpay and unspecified damages in excess of $15,000, the minimum amount required to file in state court. Luongo, 49, also wants the court to get her job back.


THURSDAY, AUGUST 19, 1999 AT 4 A.M. BY CHUCK STROUSE

Mohamed Ibrahim wants to start a string of schools across Miami-Dade. Full-page ads of smiling kids have been running in the Herald's "Neighbors" for months. Problem is, creditors say, Ibrahim won't pay his bills.

The tangle of bankruptcies and bad checks that helped the Egyptian-born entrepreneur open My Dream Coin Laundry on Biscayne Boulevard was detailed in New Times two years ago. His first educational venture, the Children's Village Montessori, next door to his launderette on NE 88th Terrace, was closed down by Miami Shores inspectors this past month, reports building and zoning director Frank LuBien.


Ibrahim says he's from a wealthy Alexandrian family; he moved to California as a boy, became a U.S. citizen in 1972, graduated from high school in Pasadena in 1978, and earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Southern California in 1981. It's impossible to confirm the existence of the degree because Ibrahim's social security number couldn't be found by USC's transcripts and verification office. But by the late Eighties, Ibrahim was living in South Florida, along with his father and at least two of his brothers. He says he briefly attended law school at Nova University in Davie in 1991, then operated a carpet-cleaning business.

He was a leasing rep for a frozen yogurt machine company when he met Marcel Stein, then the proprietor of the popular Uptown Deli in Miami Beach, about seven years ago; his brother David operated the Latin Market on Collins Avenue across from the Uptown. In the ensuing years, Stein would sell the deli, open a laundromat in North Beach, and emerge from time to time as a player in one of Ibrahim's numerous business transactions.

...Attempting to ease investor Adam Winder's alarm, Stein at one point called Ibrahim's wealthy father, Elghanam, in Vienna at the time, who assured Winder he'd be in the United States in the next few weeks and would make sure he got his money back. "He never came," Winder says.

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