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Bebe Rebozo


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#1 John Simkin

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 07:53 AM

One of the first investigations carried out by Tony Ulasewicz for Operation Sandwedge was into Edward Kennedy. Jack Caulfield later admitted that Ulasewicz’s reports on Kennedy went to three people: Bebe Rebozo, Murray Chotiner and Richard Nixon. I think Rebozo is someone worth investigating. I would be grateful if members could post any information they have on Rebozo.

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 he 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 for 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 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 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 Rebozo paid for an investigation into the private life of JFK. 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. He also helped him raise funds for his various political campaigns. 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. Later, 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 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.


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."

It was also discovered during the Watergate investigation that Rebozo had a business relationship with two of the Watergate 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.

Rebozo died on 8th May, 1998.

#2 James Richards

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 08:36 AM

John,

According to 'Power To Destroy' by John Andrews, Nixon invested heavily in Florida land via a secretive investment syndicate headed by Rebozo. Nixon and Rebozo forged close ties to Keyes Realty which was mainly set up as an investment funnel for all those millions that syndicate figures and Cuban politicians were bringing out of Batista's Cuba.

Eugenio Martinez was Vice President of Keyes Realty. Later, Martinez and Bernard Barker formed another real estate firm called 'Ameritas'. This was to serve as a cover for the principals of the Watergate break-in.

It is interesting to note that the Edgardo Buttari mentioned worked with Bernard Barker in handling Cubans for clandestine activities. Buttari was also the 'Director for Social Assistance for the First Officers of Brigade 2506'. Bernardo de Torres was the Vice Director.

FWIW.

James

#3 John Simkin

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 04:30 PM

John,

According to 'Power To Destroy' by John Andrews, Nixon invested heavily in Florida land via a secretive investment syndicate headed by Rebozo. Nixon and Rebozo forged close ties to Keyes Realty which was mainly set up as an investment funnel for all those millions that syndicate figures and Cuban politicians were bringing out of Batista's Cuba.

Eugenio Martinez was Vice President of Keyes Realty. Later, Martinez and Bernard Barker formed another real estate firm called 'Ameritas'. This was to serve as a cover for the principals of the Watergate break-in.

It is interesting to note that the Edgardo Buttari mentioned worked with Bernard Barker in handling Cubans for clandestine activities. Buttari was also the 'Director for Social Assistance for the First Officers of Brigade 2506'. Bernardo de Torres was the Vice Director.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Interesting posting James. The fact that Rebozo was involved in smear campaigns against JFK as early as 1960, and his connections with the anti-Castro group in Florida, including people such as William Pawley, Bernard Barker and Eugenio Martinez, makes him a candidate as one of those who funded the assassination.

I think it is also relevant that Rebozo was closely associated with George Smathers. It could have been Smathers who was providing Rebozo with information about JFK. Smathers and JFK had been close friends but by the late 1950s the relationship had turned sour. Smathers actually supported LBJ against JFK in 1960. Smathers was on the far right of the party (he had leaked information against Jerry Voorhis and Helen Douglas, Nixon’s liberal opponents in 1948 and 1950). Smathers was very upset with JFK over his policy towards Cuba.

Smathers was also Grant Stockdale’s business partner. Their company, Automatic Vending, was involved in providing vending machines to government institutions. However, in 1961 Automatic Vending was sued for improper actions in getting a contract at Aerodex but the suit was eventually dismissed.

William Torbitt (Nonmenclature of an Assassination Cabal ), claims that Smathers and Stockdale were involved with Bobby Baker, Fred Black and mobsters Ed Levenson and Benny Sigelbaum in a company called Serve-U-Corporation. Established in 1962, the company provided vending machines for companies working on federally granted programs. The machines were manufactured by a company secretly owned by Sam Giancana and other mobsters based in Chicago.

On 26th November, Stockdale flew to Washington and talked with Robert and Edward Kennedy. On his return Stockdale told several of his friends that "the world was closing in." On 1st December, he spoke to his attorney, William Frates who later recalled: "He started talking. It didn't make much sense. He said something about 'those guys' trying to get him. Then about the assassination."

Stockdale died on 2nd December, 1963 when he fell (or was pushed) from his office on the thirteenth story of the Dupont Building in Miami. Stockdale did not leave a suicide note but Smathers insisted that he had become depressed as a result of the death of JFK. We now know from Stockdale’s daughter that the family believed he was murdered.

George Smathers is still alive and is worth interviewing.

Photograph of JFK and Smathers together. Who is the interesting character in the background?

#4 James Richards

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 10:23 PM

Who is the interesting character in the background? (John Simkin)

He looks a bit like John Roselli. Wouldn't that be something?

Anyway, Rebozo sure moved in interesting circles. There are plenty of potential sources for assassination finance and laundering through 'Keyes Realty' might have been one of them.

I think assassination funding most likely came from a variety of places, and all of them not having any real idea on specific details.

Great thread, thanks for the information on Rebozo.

James

Edited by James Richards, 08 August 2005 - 10:24 PM.


#5 Pat Speer

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 11:42 PM

Two more tidbits on Rebozo.

Antoinete Giancana, Sam's daughter, in her book Mafia Princess, recounts that she had a brief fling with Rebozo. She claims she never told him her real name.

According to Robert Maheu, when the 100k taken from the Silver Slipper Casino and given to Rebozo as an illegal contribution from Howard Hughes to Richard Nixon was returned, after having supposedly sat in Rebozo's s safe awaiting the next election, it was returned in different wrappers and was over by one hundred dollars. The clear implication is that the original money was spent and that Rebozo lied about its status to protect Nixon. Something similar happened in the Connally milk fund kickback, where money was placed into a safe deposit box so that they could claim it was never touched, but where they screwed up and used bills with George Schultz as Treasurer, who only became Treasurer after the money was supposedly put into the box.

Edited by Pat Speer, 08 August 2005 - 11:43 PM.


#6 John Simkin

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 04:36 PM

I have been reading Nixon's memoirs in order to discover what he had to say about Bebe Rebozo and Murray Chotiner. Not very much as it happens. However, I did find this passage that tells us a great deal about Nixon. You will need a sick-bag at hand when you read it:

On Christmas Day, I had a long discussion with Pat, Tricia, and Julie. Pat said that she was completely happy with our life in New York, but whatever I decided, she was resigned to helping out. Tricia and Julie were now grown up, and I gave great weight to their opinions. Julie was a sophomore at Smith College. She had never really accepted the loss in 1960. She said, "You have to do it for the country." Tricia, a senior at Finch College, spoke in more personal terms. "If you don't run, Daddy, you really will have nothing to live for."

With the New Hampshire primary less than three months away, I could not prolong the final decision much longer. It was clear that in the busy holiday atmosphere at home, I would not be able to do any concentrated thinking. I decided therefore to go to Florida for a few days to relax and think in solitude.

As I left on December 28, Pat took my arm and kissed me. "Whatever you do, we'll be proud of you," she said. "You know we love you."

Bebe Rebozo met me at the airport, and we went directly to a villa at the Key Biscayne Hotel. I had telephoned Billy Graham and asked if he could come down and join us. For the next three days I walked on the beach and thought about the most important decision of my life. On the first night we sat up late talking about theology and politics and sports. Billy read aloud the first and second chapters of Romans. The next afternoon I invited him to join me for a walk along the beach. He had been very sick with pneumonia and was still recuperating, so we decided not to tax his strength by walking too far. I told him that I was genuinely torn on the question of whether to run. One part of me wanted to more than anything else, but another part of me rebelled at the thought of all it would entail. It was far from certain that I could win the nomination; even if I did, that would be only the prelude to an even more arduous campaign. Ten months of campaigning would mean great stress and strain on me and on my family, especially Pat.

We had become so involved in our conversation that we walked more than a mile-all the way to the old Spanish lighthouse at the tip of Key Biscayne. By the time we got back, Billy was weak and exhausted. He went upstairs to rest while Rebozo and I watched the Green Bay Packers defeat the Dallas Cowboys 21-17 in subfreezing weather in Green Bay. That night, New Year's Eve, we had dinner at the Jamaica Inn, where I had reserved my favorite table beside a small waterfall.

As Billy was getting ready to leave the next day, I went to his room and sat looking out at the ocean while he finished packing. "Well, what is your conclusion?" I asked. "What should I do?" Billy closed his suitcase and turned toward me. "Dick, I think you should run," he said. "If you don't you will always wonder whether you should have run and whether you could have won or not. You are the best prepared man in the United States to be President." He talked about the problems facing America and how much greater and more serious they were now than in 1960. He said that I had been denied the chance to provide leadership in 1960, but now, providentially, I had another chance. "I think it is your destiny to be President," he said.


#7 John Simkin

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 05:06 PM

This is what I have found out about Bebe Rebozo so far:

http://www.spartacus...k/JFKrebozo.htm

#8 John Simkin

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 05:07 PM

This is what I have found out about Bebe Rebozo so far:

http://www.spartacus...k/JFKrebozo.htm

#9 Christopher T. George

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 06:11 PM

Hi John

This material on Nixon's relationship with Rebozo is fascinating and illuminating.

I just wanted to add a small historical footnote to the part in Nixon's memoirs about the walk on the beach at Key Biscayne accompanied by Billy Graham, when Nixon was trying to decide whether to run for the presidency in 1968.

Nixon writes, "We had become so involved in our conversation that we walked more than a mile--all the way to the old Spanish lighthouse at the tip of Key Biscayne."

I don't believe this lighthouse was ever Spanish. It was one of a series of lighthouses built after Florida became a U.S. Territory in 1821. See the following website--

Cape Florida Lighthouse - Key Biscayne, Florida

Best regards

Chris George

Edited by Christopher T. George, 09 August 2005 - 06:16 PM.


#10 Christopher T. George

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 07:44 PM

Hi all

Do we need to revise our ideas that Nixon had anything to do with the Kennedy assassination, when we read about the meeting of Nixon and Rebozo when the businessman took the future president deep sea fishing:

Mr. Rebozo and the future president did not hit it off at first. Mr. Rebozo took Nixon deep-sea fishing on his 33-foot ChrisCraft. But, it turned out, Nixon just did not like to fish. Mr. Rebozo reported to Smathers that Nixon could not bring himself to kill anything and that the trip was a bust. [Italics mine.]

From Washington Post, May 10, 1998, "Charles 'Bebe' Rebozo, 85, Dies"

Hmmm, perhaps humans were a different matter to fish, and if he did not have to do it personally?

All my best

Chris George

#11 Pat Speer

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 09:32 PM

Hi all

Do we need to revise our ideas that Nixon had anything to do with the Kennedy assassination, when we read about the meeting of Nixon and Rebozo when the businessman took the future president deep sea fishing:

Mr. Rebozo and the future president did not hit it off at first. Mr. Rebozo took Nixon deep-sea fishing on his 33-foot ChrisCraft. But, it turned out, Nixon just did not like to fish. Mr. Rebozo reported to Smathers that Nixon could not bring himself to kill anything and that the trip was a bust.  [Italics mine.]

From Washington Post, May 10, 1998, "Charles 'Bebe' Rebozo, 85, Dies"

Hmmm, perhaps humans were a different matter to fish, and if he did not have to do it personally?

All my best

Chris George

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Chris, seeing as the good Quaker Dick was responsible for millions of deaths in South East Asia, your "perhaps" is a definite "yes.'




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