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Charles (Bebe) Rebozo

Charles (Bebe) Rebozo


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Charles (Bebe) Rebozo, the son of Cuban immigrants, was born on November 17, 1912, in Tampa, Florida. After leaving school Rebozo worked as a steward with Pan American Airways.

In 1931 Rebozo married Claire Gunn. The couple were divorced four years later. According to Claire Rebozo, the marriage was never consummated.

Rebozo eventually saved enough money to start his first business and in 1935 he opened Rebozo's Service Station and Auto Supplies. During the Second World War Rebozo became involved in the lucrative retread tire business. Rebozo invested these profits into a self-service laundry chain. He also began buying and selling land in Miami.

In December, 1951, George Smathers arranged for Rebozo to meet Richard Nixon. Rebozo took Nixon on a boat trip but the relationship got off to a bad start. Rebozo told Smathers that Nixon's "a guy who doesn't know how to talk, doesn't drink, doesn't smoke, doesn't chase women, doesn't know how to play golf, doesn't know how to play tennis... he can't even fish." However, the two men eventually became close friends.

The men spent so much time together that rumours circulated that the men were having a homosexual relationship. Bobby Baker claimed that Rebozo and Nixon were "close like lovers". According to one interview carried out by Anthony Summers in his book The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon, Rebozo was a member of Miami's homosexual community.

In 1952 Dwight Eisenhower selected Richard Nixon to be his vice president. As George Smathers later admitted that "Bebe's level of liking Nixon increased as Nixon's position increased". One of the ways that Rebozo helped Nixon was to obtain large campaign contributions from Howard Hughes.

Rebozo briefly remarried Claire Gunn. The marriage only lasted two years. Later he married Jane Lucke, his lawyer's secretary. In one interview, his wife said "Bebe's favourites are Richard Nixon, his cat - and then me." One of Rebozo's friends, Jake Jernigan, claimed that: "He (Rebozo) loved Nixon more than he loved anybody." Another friend said that "Bebe worshipped Nixon and hated Nixon's enemies".

Rebozo advised Richard Nixon about possible business investments. According to a FBI informant, the two men invested in Cuba when it was governed by the military dictator, Fulgencio Batista. Rebozo's business partner, Hoke Maroon, claimed that Nixon was also part-owner of the Coral Gables Motel.

In 1960 Nixon attempted to become president of the United States. Rebozo helped raise funds and paid for an investigation into the private life of Nixon's opponent, John F. Kennedy. Rebozo sent Nixon documents claiming that Kennedy had previously been married to Durie Malcolm. However, this story was untrue and despite this smear campaign against Kennedy, Nixon was defeated.

Rebozo became one of Nixon's closest political advisers. Rebozo also took a keen interest in Caribbean politics and had considerable business investments in the region. He therefore became one of the leading opponents of Fidel Castro after he gained power in Cuba. In 1961 Rebozo accompanied William Pawley on a secret mission to see Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Trujillo.

In 1964 Rebozo started his own financial institution, the Key Biscayne Bank. Nixon, who took part in the opening ceremony, held Savings Account No.1. The bank was used to fund a shopping centre for Cuban refugee merchants. The man brought in to manage this shopping centre, was Edgardo Buttari, Director for Social Assistance for the First Officers of Brigade 2506 (Bernardo de Torres was the Vice Director). Later, Richard Nixon appointed Buttari to a highly paid job in the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

Rebozo also purchased land in Florida with a man called Richard Fincher. It was believed that Fincher worked as a front for Meyer Lansky. An examination of Fincher's telephone calls revealed that he was in regular contact with Carlos Marcello and Santo Trafficante. Vincent Teresa, a high-ranking mafioso, later admitted that he had used Rebozo's bank to launder stolen money.

After Richard Nixon became president in 1968, Rebozo was a regular visitor to the White House. However, he often used a false name and was not logged in by the Secret Service. Rebozo also negotiated deals on behalf of his business friends. One of the released White House tapes reveals Rebozo explaining that he could get "a quarter of a million at least" from a friend in return for an ambassadorship. Rebozo is also heard providing information that could be used to smear Nixon's political opponents.

Soon after he took office Nixon established Operation Sandwedge. Organized by H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, the two main field officers were Jack Caulfield and Anthony Ulasewicz. Operation Sandwedge involved a secret investigation of Edward Kennedy. Caulfield later admitted that Ulasewicz’s reports on Kennedy went to three people: Nixon, Rebozo and Murray Chotiner.

In January, 1973, Frank Sturgis, E. Howard Hunt, Virgilio Gonzalez, Eugenio Martinez, Bernard L. Barker, Gordon Liddy and James W. McCord were convicted of conspiracy, burglary and wiretapping. Several of these men had links to the White House.

Rebozo was eventually dragged into the Watergate Scandal. During the investigation, a $100,000 donation from Howard Hughes that was meant for the Republican Party, was found in a safe-deposit box owned by Rebozo. The IRS now began a detailed look into Rebozo's financial affairs, with a focus on "misappropriation of campaign contributions, acceptance of money in exchange for favors by the Justice Department, distribution of Watergate hush money, and alleged diversion of campaign funds to Nixon's brothers and personal secretary."

The IRS investigation discovered that when Nixon took office his net worth was $307,000. During his first five years in the White House this sum had tripled to nearly $1 million. During the same period Rebozo's net worth went from $673,000 to $4.5 million. According to Jack Anderson, Nixon and Rebozo had both hidden money in Switzerland.

Rebozo escaped prosecution. One of the IRS investigators, Andy Baruffi, later claimed that "I was assigned to review the entire case file. We had Rebozo primarily on a straight up-and-down provable false statement charge. It was a dead-bang case. I believe a deal was made with the White House to kill the investigation."

In 1974 the staff of the Senate Watergate committee discovered that Charles Rebozo gave or lent part of a $100,000 campaign contribution to President Nixon's personal secretary Rose Mary Woods.

It was also discovered during the Watergate investigation that Rebozo had a business relationship with two of the burglars, Bernard L. Barker and Eugenio Martinez. Rebozo had also arranged for E. Howard Hunt to investigate Hoke Maroon, who had information about Nixon's early business investments in Cuba.

Charles Rebozo died on 8th May, 1998.

Rebozo, the inscrutable man who is closest of all to Nixon the latest example of his intimacy being the donation of his hundred-thousand-dollar Bethesda home to Julie Nixon Eisenhower - deserves a somewhat closer examination here, for in some ways he personifies the Cowboy type. Rebozo, Cuban born of American parents, grew up in relative poverty, and at the start of World War II he was a gas-station operator in Florida. With the wartime tire shortage Rebozo got it into his head to expand his properties and start a recapping business, so he got a loan from a friend who happened to be on the local OPA tire board (a clear conflict of interest) and before long was the largest recapper in Florida. In 1951, he met Richard Nixon on one of the latter's trips to Miami and the two seem to have hit it off: both the same age, both quiet, withdrawn, and humorless, both aggressive success-hunters, both part of the new Southern-rim milieu.

Rebozo later expanded into land deals and in the early 1960s established the Key Biscayne Bank, of which he is president and whose first savings-account customer was Nixon. This bank in 1968 was the repository of stolen stocks, originally taken and channeled to the bank by organized crime sources. Rebozo clearly suspected there was something dubious about these stocks (he even told an FBI agent that he had called up Nixon's brother Donald to check on their validity), but he subsequently sold them for cash, even after an insurance company circular was mailed out to every bank listing them as stolen. Small wonder that the bank was thereupon sued by the company which had insured those stocks. (The case was eventually tried before a Nixon-appointed federal judge, James Lawrence King, who himself had some interesting banking experience as a director in 1964 of the Miami National Bank, cited by the New York Times [December 1, 1969] as a conduit for the Meyer Lansky syndicate's "shady money" from 1963 to 1967. King decided against the insurance company, but the case is now being appealed to a higher court.)

At about the same time as the stolen stocks episode came the shopping-center deal. Rebozo, by now a very rich man, still managed to get a loan out of the federal Small Business Administration-one of five which he somehow was lucky enough to secure in the 1960s, perhaps because of his friendship with ex-Senator George Smathers (who had been on the Senate Small Business Committee and who wrote the SBA to help Rebozo get another loan), or perhaps because the chief Miami officer of the SBA also happened to be a close friend of Rebozo's and a stockholder in his bank. This, coupled with the fact that Rebozo never fully disclosed his business dealings in making applications to the SBA, led Newsday in a prominent editorial, to denounce the SBA for "wheeling and dealing ... on Rebozo's behalf," and it led Representative Wright Patman to accuse the SBA publicly of wrongdoing in making Rebozo a "preferred customer."

With one of the SBA grants Rebozo proceeded to build an elaborate shopping center, to be leased to members of the rightwing Cuban exile community, and he let out the contracting bid for that to one "Big Al" Polizzi, a convicted black marketeer and a man named by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics as "one of the most influential members of the underworld in the United States."

Rather unsavory, all that, if not precisely criminal, and a rather odd career for an intimate of our moralistic president. But Nixon seems not to mind. In fact he has even gone in with Rebozo on at least one of his deals, a Florida real-estate venture called Fisher's Island, Inc., in which Nixon invested some $185,891 around 1962, and which he sold for exactly twice the value, $371,782, in 1969. It seems to have been a peculiarly shrewd deal, since the going rate for Fisher's Island stock had not in fact increased by a penny during those years and certainly hadn't doubled for anyone else-but happily for the stockholders, Nixon shortly thereafter signed a bill paving the way for $7 million worth of federal funds for the improvement of the Port of Miami, in which Fisher's island just happens to be located. In any case, that's small enough potatoes for a man in Nixon's position, and seems to reflect the fact that, no matter how many rich wheeler-dealers he has around him, Nixon himself is not out to make a vast personal fortune as his predecessor did.

But the unsavoriness surrounding Bebe Rebozo does not stop there. For in the mid-1960s Rebozo was also a partner in a Florida real-estate company with one Donald Berg, an acquaintance of Nixon's and the man from whom Nixon bought property in Key Biscayne less than a mile from the Florida White House. This same Donald Berg, who has been linked with at least one associate of mobster Meyer Lansky, has a background so questionable that after Nixon became president the Secret Service asked him to stop eating at Berg's Key Biscayne restaurant. Finally, according to Jack Anderson, Rebozo was "involved" in some of the real-estate deals of Bernard Barker, the former CIA operative who was the convicted payoff man for the Watergate operation in 1972.

Rebozo was there to support Nixon at all the milestones on his political trail: in Florida after the 1952 election that made him vice president, after the major Republican setback in 1958, and at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles in 1960, when news came in that he had lost to John E Kennedy. In 1962, when Nixon ran for the governorship of California, Rebozo was there to comfort him in defeat. He traveled around the world with Nixon during the wilderness years of the mid-sixties and celebrated with him after he reached the White House in 1968. Nixon wrote his inaugural address while with Rebozo in Florida, and a rough calculation indicates that Rebozo was at his side one day in ten for the duration of the presidency.

The friendship had grown so close that Rebozo effectively had the run of the White House and his own phone number there. He flew on Air Force One, donning the coveted flying jacket bearing the presidential seal, cruised on the presidential yacht with Nixon and Kissinger, and picked movies for Nixon to watch at Camp David.

Despite his intimacy with the president, Rebozo long managed to keep a relatively low profile. Then came Watergate, and he was suddenly at the center of allegations about misuse of campaign contributions, gifts of jewelry for Pat Nixon, and secret presidential slush funds. Still he stayed close to Nixon, whenever possible under deep cover. He slipped into the White House without being logged in by the Secret Service and, using a false name, into Nixon's hotel suite during a trip to Europe.

Rebozo was one of the first to advise Nixon it was probably best that he resign. Afterward he frequently joined him in his exile in California, remaining a close companion through Nixon's years of rehabilitation until, by one account, he sat at Nixon's bedside during his final illness in 1994.

It was after five o'clock. Bebe Rebozo had come up from Florida that morning, and he was waiting for me outside my office when I emerged. We decided to go for a sail on the Sequoia. It was a warm spring evening, and as we sat out on the deck I gave him an outline of the Justice Department's case against Haldeman and Ehrlichman.

I asked him how much money I had in my account in his bank. I said that whatever happened, they had served me loyally and selflessly and I wanted to help with their legal expenses. Rebozo absolutely rejected the idea that I use my own savings. He said that he and Bob Abplanalp could raise two or three hundred thousand dollars. He added that he would have to give it to Haldeman and Ehrlichman in cash and privately, because he wouldn't be able to do the same thing for the others who also needed and deserved help.


Charles (Bebe) Rebozo, 85 Longtime Nixon Confidant

Charles (Bebe) Rebozo, a self-made Florida millionaire who met Richard M. Nixon in 1950 and became his lifelong friend, died last night in Miami. He was 85 years old, born just three months before Mr. Nixon, the man who became the 37th President of the United States.

The Rebozo-Nixon relationship flourished on a shared history of hard-scrabble beginnings in the Depression -- one in Florida, the other in California -- and innate reserve. Over more than 40 years, Mr. Rebozo remained a quiet, loyal friend.

He later paid a price for his friendship: years of intrusive examinations of his private and professional life by Senate and Federal investigators of the Watergate affair that prematurely ended Mr. Nixon's Presidency in disgrace.

Had Mr. Rebozo's not entered the halls of the mighty, his life and death probably would have gone largely unnoticed outside his community of Key Biscayne, a small island with less than 9,000 residents.

Mr. Rebozo was a real estate developer and later a banker. He met Mr. Nixon by chance. George Smathers, a classmate from Miami High School who had just won election to the Senate as a Democrat campaigning as an anti-communist in the McCarthy era, asked Mr. Rebozo to entertain a newly elected Senator from California -- Mr. Nixon, who also was elected on an anti-communist platform.

Mr. Rebozo offered to take Mr. Nixon fishing but Senator Nixon, never a sport fisherman, had a pile of papers with him, which he continued to work on. ''I doubt if I exchanged half a dozen words with the guy,'' Mr. Rebozo recalled 20 years later. But that was enough to cement a friendship. They both liked Broadway show tunes, spectator sports and charcoal-broiled steaks. Mr. Rebozo even paid for a bowling alley in the White House.

Early on, Mr. Rebozo became something of an investment adviser to Mr. Nixon, as well as his real estate broker. Before the 1968 election, Mr. Nixon estimated his assets at $800,000, half of it in Florida real estate.

Mr. Rebozo was extremely discreet, usually refusing press interviews. ''He's my friend and my friend happens to be President,'' he said in 1970.

Mr. Rebozo's wealth was estimated to have increased from $673,000 in 1968, when he was still a registered Democrat (he switched that year to the Republicans), to $4 million a few years later.

In 1971, Newsday published a lengthy series that focused on the financial relationships of Senator Smathers, President Nixon and Mr. Rebozo, particularly on Florida land deals. Mr. Nixon withdrew from one project in 1970 and Newsday said he had realized a huge profit from his Fisher's Island dealings.

As the scandal surrounding the break-in at Democratic campaign headquarters in the Watergate office complex evolved into the discovery of a White House coverup, Mr. Rebozo became a target of Watergate investigators, first by the Senate and later by Federal prosecutors. In 1975 the Justice Department concluded there was ''no basis for indictment'' on charges that Mr. Rebozo had converted Nixon campaign contributions to personal use.

But the Internal Revenue Service disputed his reporting of taxable income for 1970 and 1971. In January 1977 he agreed to pay $52,474 in back taxes plus interest.

Mr. Rebozo was the chief executive of the Key Biscayne Bank, whose motto was ''where other banks have branches, we have roots,'' from 1964 to 1990 and president of Key Land Co, his real estate company.

Fittingly, the man who had taken Nixon on that first cruise in 1950, was a guest on board the yacht Sequoia when President Nixon took his last presidential cruise, before his resignation, on the Potomac on Aug. 2, 1974.

Mr. Rebozo continued to help Mr. Nixon in his business affairs long after he had left the White House. In 1979 he purchased an estate for $650,000 in San Clemente for the Nixons.

A few years before Mr. Nixon's death he broke silence to describe his friend as '' a strange animal, just not like anyone you'll ever know -- a very sensitive man, very thoughtful and of course very brilliant, with a memory like an elephant.''

Charles Gregory Rebozo was born Nov. 17, 1912, in Tampa, the last of nine children of Francisco and Carmen Rebozo. Francisco Rebozo was a cigar maker who had emigrated to Florida from Cuba. The family moved to Miami when he was 8. '�'' (pronounced BEE bee) was a nickname given him by an elder brother who couldn't pronounce '𧮫y.'' It stuck.

He married Claire Gunn when they both were 18. The union was annulled three years later.

He worked briefly for Pan American Airways as a steward, then bought a gas station, and began buying undeveloped parcels of land, the beginning of his career in real estate.

At the outset of World War II, Mr. Rebozo bought a Piper Cub and learned to fly. In 1943 he rejoined Pan American and, after training as a navigator. helped ferry about 100 warplanes to North Africa for the Army's Air Transport Command.

He remarried his high school sweetheart, Claire, in 1946, but they divorced four years later.


Bebe Rebozo, Loyal Friend in Nixon's Darkest Days, Dies at 85

Bebe Rebozo, a self-made Florida millionaire who met Richard M. Nixon in 1950 and became his longtime friend, died on Friday night at Baptist Hospital in Miami. He was 85 years old, born two months before Nixon, the man who became the 37th President of the United States.

The Rebozo-Nixon relationship flourished on a shared history of hard-scrabble beginnings in the Depression -- one man's in Florida, the other's in California -- and innate reserve. Over more than four decades, through Nixon's triumphs and disasters -- Mr. Rebozo remained the quiet, loyal friend, never questioning and never judging Nixon's actions.

In 1960, Mr. Rebozo was the only outsider in Nixon's suite at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles where Nixon learned he had lost the Presidential election to John F. Kennedy.

Mr. Rebozo later paid a price for his friendship: years of intrusive examinations of his private and professional life by Senate and Federal investigators of the Watergate affair that led to Nixon's resignation in disgrace, a microscopic study of his finances by the news media and notoriety. Through it all, he kept his own counsel.

Had Mr. Rebozo not entered the halls of the mighty, his life and death probably would have gone largely unnoticed outside his community of Key Biscayne, Fla., a small island off Miami with fewer than 9,000 residents. His entry in Who's Who covers only seven lines, including his ZIP code and his former post as commodore of the Key Biscayne Yacht Club.

Mr. Rebozo was a real estate developer, then a banker. His initial meeting with Nixon occurred by chance. George Smathers, a classmate from Miami High School who had just won election to the Senate as a Democrat campaigning as a vehement anti-communist in the red-hunting era of Joe McCarthy, asked Mr. Rebozo to entertain a newly elected Senator from California. That was Nixon, who had also won election largely as an anti-communist candidate.

Mr. Rebozo offered to take Nixon fishing aboard the Cocolobo, his 33-foot ChrisCraft. But Senator Nixon, never a sport fisherman, took a pile of papers, which he worked on while on the boat. ''I doubt if I exchanged half a dozen words with the guy,'' Mr. Rebozo recalled 20 years later. But that was enough to cement a friendship, beginning with a warm thank-you note Nixon sent from Washington.

In future visits they swam, sunbathed and worked, too. 'ɽick takes his briefcase, and I take mine,'' he said.

Over the years the friendship flourished in an atmosphere of shared leisure activities. They both liked Broadway show tunes, spectator sports and charcoal broiled steaks. At the White House and at Camp David, the Presidential retreat in northern Maryland, Mr. Rebozo usually picked the movies the Nixon family watched. His favors extended to Nixon's children. In 1973, he bought a house in Bethesda, Md., and rented it at a modest rate to Julie Nixon and her husband, David Eisenhower, for a year. He even paid for a bowling alley in the White House.

The friends often dined at Key Biscayne's English Pub, mostly ordering chopped steak, medium rare. They both enjoyed an occasional scotch or a martini. Mr. Rebozo invariably picked up the tab and tipped generously. But there was more to their relationship than food and drink.

Early on, Mr. Rebozo became something of an investment adviser to Nixon, as well as his real estate broker. Before the 1968 election, Nixon estimated his assets at $800,000, half of it in Florida real estate, which Mr. Rebozo had recommended.

Concerning all of this Mr. Rebozo was extremely discreet, usually refusing interviews. ''I'm not interested in politics myself,'' he said in 1970. ''He's my friend and my friend happens to be President. I know that people think because I see him a lot and I'm up there a lot we're talking about affairs of state, and that's not true.''

Mr. Rebozo's wealth was estimated to have increased from $673,000 in 1968, when he was still a registered Democrat (he switched that year to the Republicans), to $4 million a few years later. This and his closeness to the President drew the attention of the news media.

In 1971, Newsday published a long series that focused on the financial relationships of Senator Smathers, Nixon and Mr. Rebozo, particularly on such Florida land deals as Fisher's Island, which the three believed would become a real estate gold mine if connected with Miami Beach by a causeway. Nixon withdrew from the project in 1970, and Newsday said he had realized a huge profit from his Fisher's Island dealings. Nixon reacted fiercely, ordering that Newsday be denied any White House press privileges, including permission to accompany the President on foreign trips.

Two years later as the Watergate scandal was gathering momentum, The Washington Post carried a story asserting that Mr. Rebozo, through his Key Biscayne Bank, had '⟊shed $91,500 in stolen stock in 1968.'' He vigorously denied this and sued The Post for libel, demanding $10 million. That case was settled out of court in 1983, with The Post agreeing to print his denial in full.

As the scandal surrounding the break-in at Democratic campaign headquarters in the Watergate office complex evolved into the discovery of a White House cover-up, Mr. Rebozo became a target of Senate officials and Federal prosecutors investigating Watergate. In 1975 the Justice Department concluded there was ''no basis for indictment'' on accusations that Mr. Rebozo had converted Nixon campaign contributions to personal use.

But the Internal Revenue Service disputed his reporting of taxable income for 1970 and 1971. In January 1977 he agreed to pay $52,474 in back taxes plus interest, a settlement that became the subject of major news reports.

Mr. Rebozo was the chief executive of Key Biscayne Bank, which had the motto ''where other banks have branches, we have roots,'' from 1964 to 1990, and president and owner of the Key Land Company, a real estate concern.

Fittingly, the man who had taken Nixon on that first cruise in 1950, was a guest on board the yacht Sequoia when Nixon took his last cruise on the Potomac as President on Aug. 2, 1974.

Mr. Rebozo continued to help Nixon long after he had left the White House. In 1979, Mr. Rebozo bought an estate for $650,000 in San Clemente, Calif., for the Nixons.

A few years before Nixon's death in 1994, Mr. Rebozo described his friend as '' a strange animal, just not like anyone you'll ever know -- a very sensitive man, very thoughtful and of course very brilliant, with a memory like an elephant.''

Charles Gregory Rebozo was born Nov. 17, 1912, in Tampa, the last of nine children of Francisco and Carmen Rebozo. Francisco Rebozo was a cigar maker who had immigrated to Florida from Cuba. The family moved to Miami when he was 8. Bebe (pronounced BEE bee) was a nickname given to him by an elder brother who could not pronounce baby. It stuck.

His working life began in fifth grade, with a job killing and plucking chickens, ''the most distasteful'' of all his boyhood jobs, he recalled. Later he delivered newspapers and pumped gas. Darkly handsome, he was voted '➾st-looking'' in the class of 1930 at Miami High School.

Freshly graduated, he pursued a high school junior, Claire Gunn, and persuaded her to marry him. Both were 18. The union was annulled three years later.

He worked briefly for Pan American Airways as a steward and then bought a gas station, later adding a tire recapping service. He had also begun to buy undeveloped land, the beginning of his career in real estate.

At the outset of World War II, Mr. Rebozo bought a Piper Cub and learned to fly. In 1943 he returned to Pan American and, after training as a navigator. helped ferry about 100 warplanes to North Africa for the Army's Air Transport Command.

He remarried his high school sweetheart, Claire, in 1946, but they divorced four years later. ''It just didn't work,'' he said.

Mr. Rebozo's mother died in 1978. He is survived by his wife, Jane Lucke Rebozo and a sister, Mary Bouterse of Miami.


Nixon's daughters urged to settle fight

An Orange County probate judge on Friday urged former President Richard Nixon's two daughters and the library that bears his name to work out their differences and end a legal fight over how to spend a $20 million bequest.

The judge said it would be a mistake for the parties to battle over the bequest and offered to mediate personally. All sides welcomed the offer.

Nixon's daughters are feuding over how to spend a bequest to the library made by the former president's longtime friend, Charles "Bebe" Rebozo, who died in 1998. Julie Nixon Eisenhower and the library board are demanding that the money be spent exclusively on the library. Tricia Nixon Cox favors a plan that would give the sisters and a Nixon friend, Robert Abplanalp, control over the money.

Because of the disagreement, the money remains tied up by a Florida probate court, which is sorting out Rebozo's estate. The Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace Foundation filed lawsuits earlier this year in Miami, where Rebozo died, and in Orange County, site of the library. The suits demand that the money be handed over to the foundation immediately.

Earlier this month, a Miami probate judge said it was the sisters' duty to settle the matter out of court and suggested she might throw out the lawsuit. On Friday, Orange County Superior Court Judge Richard Frazee Sr. put off a decision on whether California courts can weigh in on the matter and urged the parties to settle.

Frazee said he will wait to hear from attorneys for the sisters and the library before arranging mediation. No formal negotiations were scheduled, but lawyers on all sides said they appreciated the judge's intervention.

"This court could be a great help," said Eisenhower's lawyer, John Deily.

"I have unlimited confidence in Mr. Frazee's ability," added Cox's attorney, Thomas Malcolm. "If he's willing to serve in that capacity [as mediator], I think it would be wonderful."

But in a sign that the dispute may not be easily resolved, Cox's lawyer issued a news release demanding that the library foundation immediately drop its efforts to "rewrite the clear terms of Mr. Rebozo's trust." The release said Rebozo wanted the former president's daughters to control the money, not the library foundation.


Mickey Cohen

The most widely published missive tying Nixon to the Mob originated from an oral statement that former L.A. syndicate boss Mickey Cohen made, while in prison at Alcatraz, in 1962. But under scrutiny, the statement loses credibility based on factual errors.

In the statement, given to Richard R. Rogan, former deputy attorney general and a Democratic Party leader in California, Cohen claimed he first met a younger Richard Nixon at the “Goodfellow’s Fisherman’s Grotto” [actual name: Good Fellows Grotto] restaurant in downtown Los Angeles in 1946. Cohen claimed Nixon campaign manager Murray Chotiner set it up, and both men asked him “to raise some money for Nixon’s campaign.” But Cohen, bookmaking chief of Los Angeles, who co-ran the city’s vice rackets with Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel until Siegel’s death in 1947 and feuded with rival boss Jack Dragna, did not say if he donated any money to Nixon in 1946.

Los Angeles mobster Mickey Cohen said he raised money for Richard Nixon’s political campaigns in the late 1940s and early 1950s, but little evidence supports his claims.

Cohen then stated that in “either” 1948 or 1950, “I was again asked by Murray Chotiner to raise funds for Nixon’s campaign. During that time, I was running the gambling and bookmaking in Los Angeles County. I reserved the banquet room in the Hollywood Knickerbocker Hotel on Ivar Street in Hollywood for a dinner meeting to which I invited approximately 250 persons who were working with me in the gambling fraternity.”

Cohen said that among the guests were Dragna, L.A. mobsters Joe and Fred Sica, George Capri (part owner of the Flamingo hotel in Las Vegas) and Hy Goldbaum (a Cohen bookie and Las Vegas casino operative).

Chotiner, Cohen went on, “told me I should have a quota of $25,000 for the campaign,” then Nixon spoke to the group for about 10 minutes and Chotiner about half an hour. But Cohen’s allies could only muster from $17,000 to $19,000, under the quota “set by Nixon and Chotiner and the group was informed they would have to stay until the quota was met.”

So hardened mobsters were intimidated by Nixon and Chotiner?

After raising the “quota,” Cohen claimed he later “made arrangements to rent a headquarters for Nixon in the Pacific Finance Building at Eighth and Olive Streets in Los Angeles … occupied by [Cohen’s] attorney Sam Rummel.”

But this assertion, quoted in many books and websites, does not pan out. The Pacific Finance Building was on Hope and Sixth streets then. Nixon’s main headquarters was in Whittier and his Los Angeles election office in the Garland Building on West Ninth Street. Rummel’s office location was likely the Commercial Exchange Building, not listed among Nixon campaign offices by the Los Angeles Times on October 30, 1950.

Cohen further states that in “the period that I ran Nixon headquarters, I contacted most of the gambling fraternity in Los Angeles County to tell them what their share of the Nixon campaign would be.”

Cohen related that he made the statement in light of Nixon’s remarks during the Republican’s 1962 California gubernatorial campaign “that organized crime is active in California and that Eastern hoodlums were seeking a foothold in California to organized bookmaking.” Cohen wanted people to know of “Nixon’s entry into politics being based upon money raised by me and my associates in the gambling fraternity who started him off with $25,000.”

Syndicated columnists Drew Pearson and Jack Anderson, in a column published October 31, 1968, five days before the presidential election, claimed that based on Cohen’s alleged campaign cash, “[w]hat the gamblers got in return is spelled out” in Los Angeles County court records: between 1949 and 1952, Chotiner and Chotiner’s brother “acted as attorney in 221 bookmaking and underworld cases” and nearly always the “clients got off with light fines or suspended sentences.”

No doubt Chotiner, as a lawyer, made an income representing a lot of underworld associates arrested for alleged bookmaking. However, there are reasons to question Cohen’s statement itself. In an interview years later with the author Larry Summers, Cohen changed the $25,000 he said he raised for Nixon to $75,000, “a considerable piece of money in those days,” the ex-mobster said. But even Summers, clearly no fan of Nixon, cast doubt on Cohen’s story.

“However damning, is this account by a criminal really credible?” Summers wrote in his 2000 book, The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon. “Did Nixon and Chotiner ask one of the leading mobsters in Los Angeles, a man notorious for his crimes even then, for cash contributions—and not in one but two election campaigns?”

Some Mob writers also state that Cohen gave himself credit for providing money to a “slush fund” that got Nixon in deep trouble and nearly kicked off the GOP presidential ticket led by Dwight Eisenhower in 1952. However, that is doubtful, as the Nixon campaign released the names of 76 people who were the sources of that $18,000 fund, used to pay his political expenses. News stories carried the names of the contributors. Federal authorities started a criminal investigation into the fund. Eisenhower wanted reassurances that Nixon was “clean as a hound’s tooth” and considered replacing him on the ticket. Nixon made an emotional speech explaining himself on national TV, called “the Checkers speech,” that so moved Republicans that Eisenhower kept him on the ticket.


Gangster in the White House

Bebe Rebozo came in and out of the Nixon White House as he pleased, without being logged in by the Secret Service. At 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, he had his own private office with a telephone and a designated bedroom always at his disposal. He was both Nixon’s best friend and his bag man to the Mafia and Howard Hughes.

W hen Richard Nixon was president, a disreputable character named Charles Gregory “Bebe” Rebozo (a.k.a. Charles Gregory) all but lived in the White House. Not known beyond the executive mansion at that time—or to most people even now—Rebozo had working and sleeping quarters there. And he was plugged into the White House switchboard, which knew how to reach him anywhere at any time.

Rebozo was not a high-ranking government employee who deserved or required such free space or services. In fact, the only government entity that knew much about Bebe was the FBI, which said he was cozy with Mafia biggies—especially Tampa Godfather Santos Trafficante and Alfred (“Big Al”) Polizzi of Cleveland. Big Al was a drug trafficker associated with the Syndicate’s financial genius, Meyer Lansky. In 1964, the 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.

Bebe purchased land in Florida with a reputed front man for Lansky , Robert Fincher.Telephone records, according to the Spartacus Education web site, show Fincher was in regular contact with Trafficante and New Orleans Godfather Carlos Marcello.

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:

· A former FBI agent who specialized in organized crime in the Miami area, Charles Stanley, identified Rebozo as a “non-member associate of organized crime figures.” This designation applied to individuals determined to have significant, witting association with “made members” of La Cosa Nostra.

· Vincent (“Jimmy Blue Eyes”) Alo—a close cohort of Meyer Lansky—told Summers in 1997: “Everyone knew Rebozo would take a hot stove…He was the one who picked up the money for Nixon.”

Indeed, Rebozo was Nixon’s No. 1 bagman for payoffs from not only the Mafia—but from mobbed-up loopy billionaire Howard Hughes, a longtime “Daddy Warbucks” to Nixon. Rebozo came under investigation during Watergate for accepting a $100,000 bribe from Hughes for Nixon.

That bribe—delivered in two installments—was turned over to the President’s best buddy under the most secure of circumstances—behind the walls of the Secret Service-guarded Florida and California White Houses. The Watergate Special Prosecution Force went out of business before completing its Rebozo probe.

Bebe Rebozo was profoundly more important to the President than one of Nixon’s ex-aides recently professed, “He was just the guy who mixed the martinis.”

The real Bebe, an American-born Cuban land speculator and banker, was not only Nixon’s chief ambassador to the Mafia and Hughes. He’d also been 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.

Bebe did business in Florida with at least two of the Watergate burglars, Bernard Barker and Eugenio Martinez. And 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.

High school grad Rebozo’s first big job was as a steward with Pan-American Airways. He served patrons on flying boats that shuttled between Miami, the Caribbean and Panama.

Later he owned a gas station got into re-treading old tires for a time and then purchased a coin laundry—from which he allegedly ran a numbers racket. Eventually Bebe opened a bank near his home on upscale Key Biscayne, a small island just South of Miami.

Richard Nixon led 1964 dedication ceremonies for the bank and held Savings Account No. 1. The bank reputedly laundered Mob money—mostly the “skim” from gambling casinos in the Bahamas. Vincent Teresa, a high-ranking Mafioso, admitted using Rebozo’s bank to launder stolen money.

After three very brief marriages (twice to the same woman), Rebozo became active in Miami’s homosexual community. Small, dark, handsome and unctuous, he is said to have had a longtime affair with an airline steward. He often threw male-only barbecues at his Key Biscayne home.

Newsday investigative reporter Robert Greene has said, “My own particular thought was that (Rebozo) was one of those guys who has an extremely low sex drive. He had a tendency to keep the company of whiskey-drinking, fishing, rather masculine-type men, with the exception of Nixon. Nixon studied the part, but he really wasn’t.”

Bobby Baker—a top aide to Senator Lyndon Johnson—said Nixon and Rebozo were “close like lovers.” Rebozo friend Jake Jernigan is quoted as saying that Bebe “loved Nixon more than he loved anybody. He worshipped Nixon. Nixon was his God … his Little Jesus.”

Nixon and Rebozo first met, by one credible account, in Florida in 1947. Richard Danner—a Miamian with very close ties to Rebozo and Mafia boss Santos Trafficante—made the introductions.

Nixon was also a good friend of Danner, an ex-FBI agent who had fallen under Mob control. In 1952, Nixon and Danner secretly visited Havana and gambled at a Syndicate-run casino. Danner later credited Nixon for using his clout with the Mafia to ultimately land him a cushy job at a Las Vegas casino. During Nixon’s presidency, Danner was the payoff man for bribes from Hughes to Nixon, through Rebozo.

Rebozo and Congressman Nixon didn’t hit it off immediately when they met in Florida, but as Rebozo friend Sen. George Smathers put it: ‘I don’t want to say that Bebe’s level of liking Nixon increased as Nixon’s (political) position increased, but it had a lot to do with it.”

Within months of their first Florida cruise aboard Bebe’s $18,000 houseboat, the Cocolobo, the two men became almost inseparable. And quite playful, especially when loaded. One White House aide recalls seeing the two grown men playing a child’s game called “King of the Pool” at Key Biscayne. “It was late at night,” according to Watergate authority J. Anthony Lukas. “The two men had been drinking. Nixon mounted a rubber raft in the pool while Rebozo tried to turn it over. Then, laughing and shouting, they’d change places and Nixon tried to upset Rebozo.”

Rebozo lent moral as well as financial support to his idol through Nixon’s many political highs and lows.

He was there in Key Biscayne in 1952 when Nixon celebrated his election to the vice presidency Rebozo 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 and 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 Biscayne—most of them without family members—to be with Bebe.

Known as “Uncle Bebe” to Nixon’s two children, Trisha and Julie, Rebozo frequently bought the girls—and Nixon’s wife Pat—expensive 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 on Key Biscayne, Nixon and Rebozo were always given their special spot at their favorite restaurant, the Jamaica Inn. They were seated at a cosy, dark out-of-the way booth near a waterfall. A martini or two usually preceded chopped steaks, medium rare. Bebe always picked up the tab and left a big tip. After all, the fancy eatery with the British décor was owned by their old friend Donald Berg—who gave Nixon a cut-rate deal on the land for his Key Biscayne vacation home as a favor for posing for a promotional picture with Berg in 1967.

Like Rebozo, Berg had been indicted in stolen stock deals but never prosecuted. The Secret Service eventually asked the President to find a more suitable restaurant after uncovering Berg’s ties to the Mafia. But, for some reason, the President’s protectors issued no similar warning about socializing with Rebozo.

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.

Behind the scenes, Rebozo was “deeply involved” with expensive government-funded remodeling plans at both of the President’s vacation homes, according to White House aide John Ehrlichman in Witness to Power:

He flew to Los Angeles for meetings with the General Services Administration official in charge of the (San Clemente) project. Over the months, he so successfully co-opted the GSA project manager, that the GSA began carrying out Rebozo’s instructions without question. If there was undue government expenditure, at either the San Clemente or the Key Biscayne house, Mr. Rebozo should be given full credit for his persuasive involvement.

Bebe was secretly put in charge of a reconstruction project at the presidential retreat at Camp David, where he also had his own cabin. He purchased most of the President’s suits and sports clothes, and even picked the movies Nixon would watch.

Bebe was frequently sneaked in and out of Nixon’s suite when the President was travelling abroad. On one such occasion, Nixon’s chief foreign policy adviser Henry Kissinger cursed a blue streak and nearly threw a fit. Rebozo’s presence was always a major distraction to the foreign policy issues Kissinger hoped to discuss with the President.

Kissinger was sometimes the target of late night drunken crank phone calls from the President offering Bebe’s foreign policy suggestions. In one of these calls, Nixon warned Kissinger that if he didn’t take Bebe’s advice, “It’ll be your ass, Henry.”

Kissinger got particularly perturbed when Rebozo flew on Air Force One, which was frequently. On such flights, Bebe—one of the most privileged gangsters in the land—like Kissinger, donned a blue Navy flight jacket bearing the Presidential Seal with his name stitched onto it. And Bebe was far more likely to be granted an airborne audience with the President than Henry.

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.”

Brodie points out that after President Johnson’s right-hand man Walter Jenkins was arrested while administering sexual favors to a retired sailor in a staked-out YMCA restroom in Washington, Nixon publicly pounced on the scandal—saying that Jenkins “was ill. But people with this kind of illness cannot be in places of high trust.”

In another comment on the Jenkins scandal, Nixon said: “A cloud hangs over the White House this morning because of Lyndon Johnson and his selection of men.” In Nixonland, Rick Perlstein observed the construction of that particular Nixon statement suggested Johnson “might as well have been right there in that men’s room with Jenkins.”

The 37 th president’s intimate relationship with a mobster like Rebozo raises serious questions about just how deeply the country’s biggest and most profitable illegal business—the blood-soaked Mob—had gotten its sinister hooks into Nixon.

In the 1960s, crooked gambling operations alone brought in an estimated $50 billion a year. There were many additional billions the Mafia made through prostitution, narcotics trafficking, extortion, labor racketeering and political corruption. As Attorney General Robert Kennedy liked to say, “The racketeer is at his most dangerous not with a machine gun in his hands but with public officials in his pocket.”

In April 1969, Nixon put out a printed message describing the Mafia’s influence as “more secure than ever before” and warning that it “had deeply penetrated broad segments of American life.” Nixon stated, “The organized criminal relies on physical terror and psychological intimidation, on economic retaliation, on political bribery, on citizen indifference and governmental acquiescence. He corrupts our governing institutions and subverts our democratic processes.”

Unfortunately, that printed presidential condemnation of the Mafia was a one-time call to arms by President Nixon. It was a leftover boilerplate pronouncement from the Johnson administration. Nixon never again issued a report on the dangers of the Mob. And in July 1970, he actually ordered that the government halt using the words “Mafia” and “Cosa Nostra” because they were demeaning to Italian-Americans.

Al Haig was a close match for Richard Nixon in deviousness. In an apparent effort to assemble his own anti-Nixon file, Nixon’s final White House chief of staff 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 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. Bintliff also disclosed that, in the early 1960’s that PepsiCo (Nixon’s legal client at the time) had set up a bottling plant in Laos that did not make Pepsi, but rather converted opium into heroin. Could the first president to declare a war on drugs have been secretly profiting from the drug-of-choice among many of America’s troops in Vietnam?

And just what role did Nixon’s constant companion and chief link to the Syndicate, Bebe Rebozo, play in the President’s “history of connections with money from organized crime?” From all the circumstantial evidence, a major one it seems.

The ever-faithful Bebe 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.


Does anyone remember Nixon’s pal Bebe Rebozo?

OmG - I was in 9th grade I believe when this all went down. Carol Leonnig has a new book out ‘Zero Fail’ - All coming back to me now and makes me wonder:

Is Trump even more corrupt than Nixon? I’ve got even money on Donald but history will write the final chapter.

Anyway, they have the same, amazing Florida sleaze factor!

Nixon's Vacation Home

Attachments

Ringtone

Gold Member

OmG - I was in 9th grade I believe when this all went down. Carol Leonnig has a new book out ‘Zero Fail’ - All coming back to me now and makes me wonder:

Is Trump even more corrupt than Nixon? I’ve got even money on Donald but history will write the final chapter.

Anyway, they have the same, amazing Florida sleaze factor!

Nixon's Vacation Home

DrLove

Diamond Member

Dicky Trick wiretapped his own brother?
Simply AMAZEBALLS!

Loading…

DrLove

Diamond Member

OmG - I was in 9th grade I believe when this all went down. Carol Leonnig has a new book out ‘Zero Fail’ - All coming back to me now and makes me wonder:

Is Trump even more corrupt than Nixon? I’ve got even money on Donald but history will write the final chapter.

Anyway, they have the same, amazing Florida sleaze factor!

Nixon's Vacation Home

AzogtheDefiler

The Pale Orc

OmG - I was in 9th grade I believe when this all went down. Carol Leonnig has a new book out ‘Zero Fail’ - All coming back to me now and makes me wonder:

Is Trump even more corrupt than Nixon? I’ve got even money on Donald but history will write the final chapter.

Anyway, they have the same, amazing Florida sleaze factor!

Nixon's Vacation Home

DrLove

Diamond Member

OmG - I was in 9th grade I believe when this all went down. Carol Leonnig has a new book out ‘Zero Fail’ - All coming back to me now and makes me wonder:

Is Trump even more corrupt than Nixon? I’ve got even money on Donald but history will write the final chapter.

Anyway, they have the same, amazing Florida sleaze factor!

Nixon's Vacation Home

Toffeenut Baconsmuggler

Platinum Member

MarathonMike

Diamond Member

Decus

Gold Member

Nixon was a Californian that was born in the state and served as a politician there up until becoming vice-president. It was in California that he was first called "tricky Dicky". The sleazy California effect cannot be understated. In 1969 Nixon appointed Charles Keating head of a sleazy commission ( President's Commission on Obscenity and Pornography ).

As we all know Charles Keating was a crook defrauding and destroying the lives of thousands of investors through Lincoln Savings and Loan in CALIFORNIA. It was also discovered that another sleazy politician, John McCain received free trips and money from Keating and helped Keating in his criminal endeavor.

And there you have but one small example of the California sleaze factor.

You can do this with most states and make Democrats or Republicans guilty by association with a particular state.


The Vanderbilts
with family and friends

VANDERBILT INCREASES HIS LAND HOLDINGS

Vanderbilt increased his land holdings on the island to a total of 13 acres. He began conceptual drawings with renowned architect Maurice Fatio and obtained the Miami Dade building permit in 1929. Vanderbilt finalized construction on his $1.5 million private island retreat where he and his second wife, Rosamond Lancaster Warburton Vanderbilt, entertained luminaries of their time.

VANDERBILT ESTATE SOLD

One year after Vanderbilt’s death, his wife sold the estate to Edward S. Moore, of U.S. Steel.

MOORE’S WIDOW SELLS THE ESTATE TO GARFIELD A.WOOD

Edward Moore passed away and his widow sold the estate to Garfield Arthur Wood. Gar Wood was known as a championship motorboat builder and a world-renowned speedboat champion who invented the hydraulic hoist.

GARFIELD WOOD EXTENDS THE MANSION

Garfield Wood extended the mansion by adding on what is known today as the Garwood Lounge. He sold his 13.2-acre estate to an investment group headed by Charles G. Rebozo (Bebe) including Richard Nixon, George Smathers and five others, but continued living in the mansion until his death in 1971.

Eventually, Bebe Rebozo’s nephew, William, joined with Mutual Benefit Life of New Jersey to develop the island into a residential community.


Rebozo, confidant of Nixon, dies at 85 Men shared activities of leisure, business

Charles "Bebe" Rebozo, a self-made Florida millionaire who met Richard M. Nixon in 1950 and became his close friend, died Friday night at Baptist Hospital in Miami. He was 85 years old, born two months before Mr. Nixon, the man who became the 37th president of the United States.

The Rebozo-Nixon relationship flourished on a shared history of hardscrabble beginnings in the Depression -- one man's in Florida, the other's in California -- and innate reserve.

Over more than four decades, through Mr. Nixon's triumphs and disasters, Mr. Rebozo remained the quiet, loyal friend, never questioning and never judging Mr. Nixon's actions.

In 1960, Mr. Rebozo was the only outsider in Mr. Nixon's suite at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles when Mr. Nixon learned he had lost the presidential election to John F. Kennedy.

Mr. Rebozo later paid a price for his friendship: years of intrusive examinations of his private and professional life by Senate and federal investigators of the Watergate affair that led to Mr. Nixon's resignation in disgrace, a microscopic study of his finances by the news media and notoriety.

Through it all, he kept his own counsel.

Mr. Rebozo, the son of a Cuban immigrant, was a real estate developer, then a banker. His initial meeting with Mr. Nixon occurred by chance. George Smathers, a classmate from Miami High School who had just won election to the Senate as a Democrat campaigning as a vehement anti-Communist in the red-hunting era of Joe McCarthy, asked Mr. Rebozo to entertain a newly elected senator from California. That was Mr. Nixon, who had also won largely as an anti-Communist candidate.

Mr. Rebozo offered to take Mr. Nixon fishing aboard the Cocolobo, his 33-foot Chris Craft. Mr. Nixon, never a sport fisherman, took along a pile of papers to work on.

"I doubt if I exchanged half a dozen words with the guy," Mr. Rebozo recalled 20 years later. But that was enough to cement a friendship, beginning with a warm thank-you note from Mr. Nixon.

In future visits they swam, sunbathed and worked, too. "Dick takes his briefcase, and I take mine," Mr. Rebozo said.

Over the years the friendship flourished in an atmosphere of shared leisure activities. They both liked Broadway show tunes, spectator sports and charcoal-broiled steaks.

Early on, Mr. Rebozo became something of an investment adviser to Mr. Nixon, as well as his real estate broker. Before the 1968 election, Mr. Nixon estimated his assets at $800,000, half of it in Florida real estate that Mr. Rebozo had recommended.

Concerning all of this, Mr. Rebozo was extremely discreet, usually refusing interviews.

"I'm not interested in politics myself," he said in 1970. "He's my friend, and my friend happens to be president. I know that people think because I see him a lot and I'm up there a lot we're talking about affairs of state, and that's not true."

Mr. Rebozo's wealth was estimated to have increased from $673,000 in 1968, when he was still a registered Democrat (he switched that year to the Republicans), to $4 million a few years later. This and his closeness to the president drew the attention of the news media.

As the scandal surrounding the break-in at Democratic campaign headquarters in the Watergate office complex evolved into the discovery of a White House cover-up, Mr. Rebozo became a target of Senate officials and investigating federal prosecutors.

In 1975, the Justice Department concluded that there was "no basis for indictment" on accusations that Mr. Rebozo had converted Nixon campaign contributions to personal use.

Mr. Rebozo continued to help Mr. Nixon after he had left the White House.

In 1979, he bought an estate for $650,000 in San Clemente, Calif., for the Nixons.


NIXON DAUGHTERS DIG IN OVER MONEY FOR FATHER'S LIBRARY

MIAMI -- When he died, Bebe Rebozo -- one-time chicken plucker and limo driver who became Richard Nixon's best friend -- wanted his casket closed, his burial simple and most of his fortune devoted to honoring the only U.S. president to resign from office.

But nearly four years after the self-made millionaire was laid to rest, his wish has succeeded only in further dividing two people he counted on most to oversee his bequest to the Nixon presidential library: Nixon's daughters, Tricia Nixon Cox and Julie Nixon Eisenhower.

The prim-and-proper sisters, whom the nation watched grow up, marry and stand by their father through triumph and disgrace, have battled quietly for the past five years over governance of the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace in Yorba Linda, Calif.

But their private discord is now a matter of public record, contained in two lawsuits filed in California and Miami-Dade County that are keeping a cadre of lawyers busy coast-to-coast. The suits demand the $20 million Rebozo bequeathed to the library, but the feud revolves around the man who runs it, Executive Director John H. Taylor.

Eisenhower's husband, David, grandson of another president, has described Taylor's leadership as "phenomenal." But Cox, who married New York lawyer Edward Cox in a celebrated White House ceremony, calls him "manipulative." She insists Rebozo didn't trust Taylor to spend his money wisely, so neither can she.

One can only wonder what their father would think. He chose Taylor, an author and candidate for the Episcopalian priesthood, as his chief aide in his post-presidential years, and used him as a researcher and editorial assistant on six books.

And for the past 12 years, Taylor has run the quirkiest of the nation's 11 presidential repositories, which needs Rebozo's gift. As the only presidential shrine without any White House papers -- Congress ordered them confiscated in the wake of the Watergate scandal -- it does not receive any of the $55 million taxpayers spend annually on presidential archives.

Instead, the library rents its lobby and gardens to high-school proms, bar mitzvahs and other events to cover a chunk of its $4.4 million annual expenses. Happy couples can say their vows under the Rose Garden gazebo where the Coxes exchanged theirs in 1971.

And when a planned $10 million expansion is completed, they'll be able to retreat into a replica of the White House East Room, where the Coxes held their wedding reception. Producers for the popular TV show West Wing already are hankering to plot episodes there.

Rebozo, son of a Cuban cigar maker who met Nixon when the freshly minted U.S. senator visited Florida in 1950, wanted most of the wealth he amassed in banking and real estate to go to the library. Before dying at age 85 on May 8, 1998, he appointed a trust to liquidate his holdings after his death and transfer 65 percent of the proceeds to the library board.

His trust agreement, however, contained one important caveat. The library must use his money according to the "specific directions" of Nixon's daughters and another close family friend, Robert Abplanalp.

The trio seemed logical. After all, Abplanalp, inventor of the aerosol valve, was another close Nixon pal and knew the Nixon girls well. He and Rebozo owned two of the five waterfront houses on sleepy Key Biscayne that Nixon used as a presidential retreat. The sisters had spent many idyllic days there, reading on Rebozo's lawn and enjoying his black beans and Key lime pies.

But now, Abplanalp finds himself in a role Rebozo never contemplated: peacemaker between the daughters. Last year, the founder of Precision Valve signed two different agreements -- one with each sister -- outlining how the Rebozo funds should be distributed.

Lawyers for the library and the Rebozo trust say the agreements really aren't that far apart, but because neither sister will sign the other one, the funds remain locked in limbo, out of the library's reach.

"Bebe would be absolutely distraught," said Kenneth Khachigian, a former Nixon speechwriter, and member of the library board. "I don't think in his wildest dream he thought that the three of them would make a bad decision."

Neither sister is speaking publicly about the rupture, but several sources say it can be traced to differing views over how to govern the library.

As soon as her father died of a stroke in 1994, Cox, now 53, and her husband began pressing for a family majority to control the library board. Sources say she pictured her husband in charge. Eisenhower, 51, aligned herself with Taylor, who insisted that, as a nonprofit foundation, the library needed a broader, more professional and independent board.

It wasn't always so. In late 1996, the sisters both sought Taylor's ouster. Unhappy with his lack of responsiveness to their calls, they dispatched Khachigian to ask for his resignation. But for reasons that still baffle Khachigian, Eisenhower soon changed her mind.

"It's a great mystery as to why she reversed position," Khachigian said. "Both sisters were adamant that John resign. But John got his back up and resisted, and at some point convinced Julie to take a 100 percent turn on this. I couldn't give a sampling of a clue as to why."

Five months later, in May 1997, Taylor's view prevailed, and, the board was expanded to 24 people. Today, in addition to Eisenhower, Cox and Abplanalp, it includes such notables as philanthropist Walter Annenberg, former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Schultz and former California Gov. Pete Wilson.

Far-flung and busy, board members rarely meet, relying on a smaller executive committee to make many decisions. Earlier this year, the executive committee voted 7-1 -- with Abplanalp dissenting -- to ask the courts to break the deadlock regarding the Rebozo funds. Court papers indicate that Eisenhower knew about and approved both legal actions.

Robert Landon, an attorney for the library, said the board had no choice. He said he tried repeatedly to negotiate a new agreement acceptable to both sisters, but Cox has refused to discuss the issue.

"Mrs. Cox doesn't have to talk to us, but she darn well has to talk to a judge," Landon said. ". . . A judge can bang the gavel and get it done."

LIBRARY EAGER TO GET MONEY

In California, the library is asking a probate judge to order Cox to sign the agreement Eisenhower and the rest of the board support, or be relieved of her obligation to the Rebozo trust for failing to carry out her duties. In Florida, the library is demanding that the Rebozo trust give the library its due without further delay.

So far, judges on both coasts have urged the sisters to settle their differences, with Orange County [Calif.] Superior Court Judge Richard Frazee offering to mediate at a recent hearing. His suggestion was seen as a sign of progress until Cox's attorney issued a statement condemning Taylor for initiating "frivolous" litigation solely to create a public spectacle and divide the Nixon family.

Library attorneys shot back with a few barbs of their own, saying it was "absurd" to think Taylor acted alone or could push around the intellectuals and luminaries who sit on the library board. They noted that the late president obviously trusted Taylor, having made him executor of his will.

For his part, Taylor prefers not to comment, except to say that he expects a rapprochement soon -- one that will enable the library to become the pre-eminent center for the study of the Cold War, as envisioned, and one that finally will join Nixon's White House papers with those from his pre- and post-presidential years.

The Coxes are said to have scuttled the last negotiations to transfer the papers from the National Archives to Yorba Linda, where Nixon was born in 1913 to parents Hannah and Frank in a farmhouse his father assembled from a kit. A "cozy re-creation of Richard Nixon's boyhood home," as the library puts it, can be purchased at the museum as a birdhouse.

"President Nixon had two profound influences on him. One was his mother, who was a Quaker and the source of her son's passion for reconciliation. The other was his father, who was always game for political discussion and didn't shy away from debate," Taylor said.

"We feel both of those influences, too, and are confident that, ultimately, Hannah Nixon's voice will be the loudest."

For now, one certainty is that Rebozo would cringe at the knowledge that his loyalty to one of the most polarizing figures in U.S. history is dividing the women he doted on almost as much as the president.

Rebozo, the founder of Key Biscayne Bank whose first job was killing chickens in grade school, never quite figured out why he hit it off so well with the complex man who would become the 37th president.

Once, after telling Nixon he would be better off resigning in the wake of Watergate, Rebozo said he asked himself, "What is a punk kid like you, Bebe, without a college education, doing talking to the president of the United States that way?"

The pair met in 1950, when Nixon came to Florida to relax after his grueling U.S. Senate race in California. George Smathers, Florida's own newly elected senator, was friendly with Nixon and asked a high-school chum, Charles "Bebe" Rebozo, to entertain him.

Rebozo took Nixon out on his boat, the Cocolobo, in Biscayne Bay, forging an uncommon friendship that revolved more around golfing, swimming and enjoying a martini and steak than politics.

Today, all that's left from the idyllic days the Nixons spent on Bay Lane is the helicopter pad where the president used to land for his weekend retreats -- and the $20 million waiting for his daughters to agree how to preserve their father's checkered legacy.


Watch the video: NIXON TAPES: Chat with Old Friends Bebe Rebozo u0026 the Rackleys (December 2022).

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