This article was last modified on December 9, 2017.

Bebe Rebozo, Nixon’s Bagman

The youngest of twelve children (hence the nickname “Bebe”, meaning “Baby” in Spanish) of Cuban immigrants to Tampa, Florida, Matias and Carmen, Rebozo owned several businesses in Florida, including a gas station and a group of laundromats, before starting his own bank, the Key Biscayne Bank & Trust, in Key Biscayne during 1964. Rebozo regularly attended Key Biscayne Community Church, sometimes accompanied during later years by Richard Nixon.

Rebozo first met then-U.S. Representative Nixon in 1950 through Florida Representative George Smathers. Smathers had recommended Key Biscayne as a vacation destination to Nixon, who eventually established a residence there which was later nicknamed the “Winter White House” by journalists. While Nixon was vacationing in Key Biscayne, Smathers had Rebozo and David Arvedon take Nixon deep sea fishing. Rebozo, Arvedon and Nixon then started a friendship that endured 44 years.

It was at a party in Miami in 1967 that Seymour Alter (who set up a gift shop on Paradise Island with a loan from Rebozo’s bank) introduced Rebozo to James Crosby, chairman of Resorts International.

Shortly after Rebozo introduced Nixon to Crosby in late 1967, Crosby decided to donate $100,000 for use by Nixon in the following year’s New Hampshire Republican primary campaign. The contribution took the form of $3,000 personal checks to each of 33 committees and a single $1,000 check.

Rebozo quickly became a best friend and financial and real estate advisor to Nixon. In 1968 Rebozo changed his party from Democratic to Republican.

Nixon was Crosby’s guest for two days during the official opening in January 1968 of the Paradise Island Hotel and Villas and the adjoining casino, which form the core of Resorts properties on the island. Nixon stayed at the Ocean Club.

According to Rebozo, the three men were swimming together at Rebozo’s home in June 1972 when Nixon was first informed of the Watergate Hotel break-in. And they were with the president on the night that Nixon resolved to resign from the presidency.

John Dean, Nixon’s lawyer, testified before the House Judiciary Committee he was ordered to covertly direct government agencies to punish a journalist who called Rebozo “Nixon’s bagman.” Rebozo was investigated for accepting covert payments of $100,000 from Arvedon on behalf of Nixon.

Journalist Jack Anderson speculated that Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox had been fired because he had started to investigate Rebozo’s role in Nixon accepting covert payments.

New York Times January 21, 1974: “At least one investigator, Richard E. Gerstein, a Florida state attorney, has been looking into the possibility that (Rebozo’s Key Biscayne) bank may have served as a way‐station for funds “skimmed” from the gambling tables in the Bahamas and, after an appropriate interval, funneled quietly into the 1972 Republican Presidential campaign.”

Rebozo received a letter threatening his life in 1974.

In 1976, Rebozo was the subject of a bank fraud investigation. The loan application Rebozo filed with Hudson Valley National Bank (Yonkers, New York) stated that the loan was for residential real estate when it was actually used for business. Rebozo repaid the loan with interest, and the bank did not file a complaint.

Also try another article under Organized Crime
or another one of the writings of Gavin.

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