Nixon s relationship with the mafia and Bebe Rebozo Charles Gregory Bebe Rebozo was a principal secret Mob/CIA go-between in assassination plots hatched byMessage 1 of 1 , Sep 29, 2009View Source
Nixon's relationship with the mafia and Bebe Rebozo
Charles Gregory "Bebe" Rebozo was a principal secret Mob/CIA go-between in assassination plots hatched by Vice President Richard Nixon against Cuban leader Fidel Castro. He was a big deal in the Cuban exile community in Miami.
The FBI said he was cozy with Mafia biggiesespecially Tampa Godfather Santos Trafficante and Alfred ("Big Al") Polizzi of Cleveland. Investigative journalist Anthony Summers notes that, by the 1960s, there was no doubt among G-men that Bebe was pals with a who's who of the country's major gangsters.
Big Al was a drug trafficker associated with the Syndicate's financial genius, Meyer Lansky. In 1964, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics branded Polizzi "one of the most influential members of the underworld in the United States." Rebozo and Polizzi were partners in developing a Cuban shopping center in Miami.
Rebozo was an American-born Cuban land speculator and banker. Rabozo purchased land in Florida with a reputed front man for Lansky, Robert Fincher. Telephone records show Fincher was in regular contact with Trafficante and New Orleans mafia boss, Carlos Marcello. Rabozo opened a bank near his home on upscale Key Biscayne, a small island just South of Miami in 1964. The bank reputedly laundered Mob moneymostly the "skim" from gambling casinos in the Bahamas.
So how could he afford to open a bank? He was a high school grad whose first big job was as a steward with Pan-American Airways. Later he owned a gas station; got into re-treading old tires for a time; and then purchased a coin laundryfrom which he allegedly ran a numbers racket.
Rabozo did business in Florida with at least two of the Watergate burglars, Bernard Barker and Eugenio Martinez. Rebozo arranged for Nixon's chief spy and Watergate supervisor E. Howard Hunt to investigate Hoke Maroon, a former partner of Rebozo, who had inside information on Nixon's early business investments in Cuba. Maroon also claimed Nixon was once the part owner of Rebozo's Coral Gables Motel.
Nixon was also a good friend of Richard Danner, an ex-FBI agent who had fallen under Mob control. Danner who lived in Miami, had very close ties to Rebozo and Santos Trafficante. During Nixon's presidency, Danner was the payoff man for bribes from Hughes through Rebozo to Nixon. Rebozo came under investigation during Watergate for accepting a $100,000 bribe from Hughes for Nixon. The Watergate Special Prosecution Force went out of business before completing its Rebozo probe.
Known as "Uncle Bebe" to Nixon's two children, Trisha and Julie, Rebozo frequently bought the girlsand Nixon's wife Patexpensive gifts. "Beeb" as Nixon referred to Rebozo (who always called Nixon "Mr. President") purchased a $100,000 house in the suburbs for Julie after she married David Eisenhower. Rebozo paid for bowling alleys to be put in the White House and Camp David.
In pre-presidential times Nixon and Rebozo went their favourite restaurant, the Jamaica Inn on Key Biscayne, owned by their old friend Donald Berg. The Secret Service eventually asked the President Nixon to find a more suitable restaurant after uncovering Berg's ties to the Mafia.
Like Rebozo, Donald Berg had been indicted in stolen stock deals but never prosecuted.
The Secret Service never issued a similar warning about socializing with Rebozo.
Donald Berg gave Nixon a cut-rate deal on the land for his Key Biscayne vacation home as a favour.
Bebe Rebozo came in and out of the White House as he pleased, without being logged in by the Secret Service. Though, as noted, he had no official government position, Rebozo had his own private office with a telephone and a designated bedroom always at his disposal at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. In Florida, his home was right next door to Nixon's. It was equipped with free worldwide telephone service through the White House Office of Communications. The same was true at Rebozo's private villa on the grounds of the San Clemente White House.
Rebozo was there in Key Biscayne in 1952 when Nixon celebrated his election to the vice presidency; He was in Los Angeles in 1960 when Nixon learned that Senator John Kennedy had edged him out for the presidency; he comforted Nixon after his crushing 1962 loss to incumbent Edmund "Pat" Brown for California governor. Richard Nixon led 1964 dedication ceremonies for Robozo's bank and held Savings Account No. 1.
Rebozo and Nixon drank and sunbathed together in Key Biscayne after Nixon narrowly defeated Vice President Hubert Humphrey in the 1968 presidential election. During Nixon's White House years, rough estimates show Rebozo was at Nixon's side one out of every 10 days. The president made 50 trips to Key Biscaynemost of them without family membersto be with Rabozo.
Rebozo was at Nixon's bedside when the former president died in 1994. When Rebozo died in 1998, he left $19 million to the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, Calif.
Nixon biographer Fawn Brodie has observed that, "Nixon seems to have been willing to risk the kind of gossip that frequently accompanies close friendship with a perennial bachelor, this despite his known public aversion to homosexuals, and his acute sensitivity to the damage that the label of homosexual on a friend could bring to a public man."
Nixon's final White House chief of staff, Al Haig ordered an old military buddy to conduct a super-secret probe of the President's darkest, most secretive side. Most specifically, Haig wanted to know whether Nixon's spies and bagmen Jack Caufield and Tony Ulasewicz had traveled to the Far East and brought back huge stacks of cash to Nixon.
Second, Haig wanted to know if the President was beholden to organized crime. Haig's secret sleuth on the Army's Criminal Investigations Command, Russell Bintliff, reported back that Caufield and Ulasewicz "probably had gone to Vietnam, and I (Bintliff) considered there were strong indications of a history of Nixon connections with money from organized crime."
This bizarre and overlooked tale of the President's top aide mounting a secret criminal investigation against his boss didn't surface until 1976, when it was disclosed by Jerry O'Leary, a Washington Star reporter with tight ties to U.S. intelligence.
During the height of the Watergate scandal, Atty. Gen. John Mitchell's wife, Martha, sounded one of the first alarms, telling a reporter, ''Nixon is involved with the Mafia. The Mafia was involved in his election.''
In his successful 1946 race for Congress from southern California Nixon received a $5,000 contribution from Los Angeles gangster Mickey Cohen. Cohen also gave him free office space for a ''Nixon for Congress'' headquarters in one of his buildings.
In 1950, at Murray Chotiner's request, Mickey Cohen set up a fund-raising dinner for that took in $75,000 to help Nixon. Chotiner was Nixon's earliest campaign manager and political advisor and he was a lawyer who specialized in defending members of the Mafia. Chotiner also had contacts with Mafia-connected labor leader Jimmy Hoffa and New Orleans Mafia boss Carlos Marcello.
Meyer Lansky developed Cuba for the Mob during the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, when Havana was ''The Latin Las Vegas.'' Under its tall, swaying palms, gambling, prostitution and drug trafficking netted the U.S. Syndicate more than $100-million-a-year even after handsome payoffs to Batista.
A mafia gamblers from Cleveland Morris ''Moe'' Dalitz, was a friend Bebe Rebozo and was part owners of Lansky's glittering Hotel Nacional in Havana.
The relationship between Nixon and Rebozo tightened in Cuba in the early '50s, according to historian Anthony Summers, when Nixon was gambling very heavily, and Bebe covered Nixon's losses possibly as much as $50,000. Most of Nixon's gambling took place at Lansky's Hotel Nacional. Lansky rolled out the royal treatment for Nixon, who stayed in the Presidential Suite on the owner's tab. The Miami police said Rebozo was an entrepreneur, a gambler and that he was very close to Meyer.''
Richard Danner was the city manager of Miami Beach when it was controlled by the Mob. Danner eventually became a top aide to Nixon's financial supporter, Howard Hughes. Years later, during the final act of the Watergate scandal, Danner delivered a $100,000 under-thetable donation from Hughes to President Nixon.
Former Mafia consigliere Bill Bonanno, the son of legendary New York godfather Joe Bonanno, asserts that Nixon ''would never have gotten anywhere'' without his old Mob allegiances. And he reports that through Rebozo Nixon ''did business for years with people in (Florida Mafia boss Santos) Trafficante's Family, profiting from real estate deals, arranging for casino licensing, covert funding for anti-Castro activities, and so forth.''
Robert Kennedy had been trying to put Hoffa in jail since 1956, when RFK was staff counsel for a Senate probe into the Mob's influence on the labor movement. In a 1960 book, Robert Kennedy said, ''No group better fits the prototype of the old Al Capone syndicate than Jimmy Hoffa and some of his lieutenants.''
Jimmy Hoffa and his two million-member union backed Vice President Nixon against Sen. John Kennedy in the 1960 election, and did so with more than just a get-out-the-vote campaign. Edward Partin, a Louisiana Teamster official and later government informant, revealed that Hoffa met with New Orleans godfather Carlos Marcello to secretly fund the Nixon campaign. Partin told Mob expert Dan Moldea: ''I was right there, listening to the conversation. Marcello had a suitcase filled with $500,000 cash which was going to Nixon ... (Another $500,000 contribution) was coming from Mob boys in New Jersey and Florida.'' Hoffa himself served as Nixon's bagman. The Hoffa-Marcello meeting took place in New Orleans on Sept. 26, 1960, and has been verified by William Sullivan, a former top FBI official.
On Dec. 23, 1971, president, Nixon gave Hoffa an executive grant of clemency and sprung him from prison. The action allowed Hoffa to serve just five years of a 13-year sentence. Breaking from clemency custom, Nixon did not consult the judge who had sentenced Hoffa. Nor did he pay any mind to the U.S. Parole Board, which had unanimously voted three times in two years to reject Hoffa's appeals for release. The board had been warned by the Justice Department that Hoffa was Mob-connected.
Teamsters expert William Bastone disclosed that James P. (''Junior'') Hoffa and racketeer Allen Dorfman ''delivered $300,000 to a Washington hotel to help secure the release of Hoffa's father'' from the pen. The name of the bagman on the receiving end of the transaction is redacted from legal documents filed in a court case. Bastone said the claim is based on ''FBI reports reflecting contacts with former Teamster boss Jackie Presser in 1971. An FBI memo confirmed one of their confidential informants described a $300,000 Mob payoff to the Nixon White House ''to guarantee the release of Jimmy Hoffa from the Federal penitentiary.''
President Nixon did put one restriction on Hoffa's freedom: Hoffa could never again, directly or indirectly, manage any union. This restriction was reputedly bought by a $500,000 contribution to the Nixon campaign by New Jersey Teamster leader Anthony Provenzano ''Tony Pro'' the head of the notorious Provenzano family, which, a House panel found in 1999, had for years dominated Teamsters New Jersey Local 560. The Provenzanos, who were linked to the Genovese crime family, used Local 560 to carry out a full range of criminal activities, including murder, extortion, loan sharking, kickbacks, hijacking, and gambling.
Johnny Roselli was also apparently acquainted with longtime Nixon associate CIA agent E. Howard Hunt. Nixon and Hunt were secretly top planners of the assassination plots on Castro when Nixon was vice president. And later, Roselli and Hunt are reported to have been co-conspirators in the 1961 assassination-by-ambush of Rafael Trujillo, dictator of the Dominican Republic. Roselli was a "henchman " (a supporter or associate of somebody in a dubious cause, e.g. a member of a criminal's entourage) for Sam Giancana.
The Nixon administration intervened on the side of Mafia figures in at least 20 trials, mostly for the ostensible purpose of protecting CIA ''sources and methods.''
Nixon even went so far as to order the Justice Department to halt using the words ''Mafia'' and ''Cosa Nostra'' to describe organized crime.
Sinatra had been ousted from JFK's social circle when the Kennedy Justice Department reported to the President that the singer had wide-ranging dealings and friendships with major mobsters. But the Nixon White House disregarded similar reports, and Sinatra went on to become fast friends with both Nixon and vice president, Spiro Agnew.
As president, Nixon also pardoned Angelo ''Gyp'' DeCarlo, described by the FBI as a ''methodical gangland executioner.'' Supposedly terminally ill, DeCarlo was freed after serving less than two years of a 12-year sentence for extortion. Soon afterward, Newsweek reported the mobster was not too ill to be ''back at his old rackets, boasting that his connections with singer Frank Sinatra freed him.''
In the summer of 1973, The New York Times reported that Nixon pardoned DeCarlo as a result of Sinatra's intervention with Agnew. The newspaper said the details were worked out by Agnew aide Peter Malatesta and Nixon counsel John Dean. The release reportedly followed an ''unrecorded contribution'' of $100,000 in cash and another contribution of $50,000 forwarded by Sinatra by to an unnamed Nixon campaign official.
The Nixon administration's generosity toward top Mob and Teamsters officials was truly remarkable: To cite just a few other examples:
· A few months after trouncing Sen. George McGovern in 1972, Nixon secretly entertained Teamsters chief Frank Fitzsimmons in a private room at the White House. Atty. Gen. Richard Kleindienst was summoned to the session ''and ordered by Nixon to review all the Teamsters investigations at the Justice Department and to make certain that Fitzsimmons and his cronies weren't hurt by the probes.''
· In April 1973, The New York Times disclosed that FBI wiretaps had uncovered a massive scheme to establish a national health plan for the Teamsters with pension fund members and top mobsters playing crucial roles and getting lucrative kickbacks. Yet Kleindienst rejected the FBI's plan to continue taps related to the scheme. The chief schemers behind the proposed rip-off had included Fitzsimmons and Teamsters pension fund consultant Allen Dorfman.
· From 1969 through 1973, more than one-half of the Justice Department's 1,600 indictments in organized crime cases were tossed out because of ''improper procedures'' followed by Atty. Gen. John Mitchell in obtaining court-approved authorization for wiretaps.
· During Nixon's administration, the Treasury Department declared a moratorium on $1.3-million in back taxes owed by former Teamsters president Dave Beck.
· In May 1973, the Oakland Tribune reported that Nixon aide Murray Chotiner had interceded in a federal probe of Teamsters involvement in a major Beverly Hills real estate scandal. As a result, the investigation ended with the indictment of only three men. One of the three Leonard Bursten a former director of the shady Miami National Bank, and a close friend of Jimmy Hoffa, had his 15-year prison sentence reduced to probation.
· In June 1973, ex-Nixon aide John Dean revealed to the Senate Watergate Committee that Cal Kovens, a leading Florida Teamsters official, had won an early release from federal prison in 1972 through the efforts of Nixon aide Charles Colson, Bebe Rebozo, and former Florida Sen. George Smathers. Shortly after his release, Kovens contributed $50,000 to Nixon's re-election effort.
An ex-con, Alessio, the gambling king of San Diego, was one of the few guests at Nixon's New York hotel suite on election night, 1968. Alessio was rubbing elbows with Nixon and his family at a very special occasion despite a mid-'60s conviction for skimming millions of dollars from San Diego's racetrack revenues.
On June 20, 1972 anxious after the Watergate burglary, one of the first people Nixon called on the Oval Office phone was Joseph Trerotola. He was the top henchman for Anthony Provenzano and a key Teamsters union power broker in his own right. A short time before phoning the mobster, Nixon had an Oval Office conversation about Watergate with his chief of staff, Bob Haldeman. This is the famous tape that contains an 18 and one-half minute erasure.
Nixon resigned the Presidency in August 1974. The very first post-resignation invitation the disgraced ex-president accepted was from his Teamsters buddies. On Oct. 9, 1975, he played golf at La Costa, a Mob-owned California resort with Teamsters chief Frank Fitzsimmons and other top union officials. Among those who attended a post-golf game party for Nixon were Provenzano, Dorfman, and the union's executive secretary, Murray (''Dusty'') Miller.
Murray ''Dusty'' Miller was the man Jack Ruby had telephoned several days before Ruby murdered Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas in November 1963.
In 1978, federal investigators wanted to call former President Nixon and Teamster boss Fitzsimmons to testify before a grand jury regarding the July 1975 disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa from a Detroit suburb. These investigators accused top Justice Department officials of derailing their efforts to call the two men before a Detroit grand jury. The Detroit FBI office sent a number of memos to Washington stressing that Nixon and Fitzsimmons could hold the answers to the Hoffa case.
In January 1972 A New York hoodlum named Daniel Gagliardi was about to be indicted for extortion. Gagliardi phoned theNixon White House asking to speak to Chuck Colson. He actually spoke with Colson's aide George Bell, who later told his boss in a memo: ''I talked to Gagliardi, who maintained complete ignorance and innocence regarding the Teamsters. (He) asked that he be gotten off the hook.''
Colson wrote back to Bell: ''Watch for this. Do all possible.'' Gagliardi was never indicted.
Fitzsimmons paid off big-time at a July 17, 1972 meeting of Teamster leaders at the Mob-owned La Costa Country Club near San Diego. The union's 17-member executive board enthusiastically endorsed Nixon for re-election.
By contrast, the Kennedy administration's war on organized crime was highly effective: indictments against mobsters rose from zero to 683; and the number of defendants convicted went from zero to 619.
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