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Robert DiBernardo, also known as "DiB", (September 28, 1928 Hewlett, New York - June 5, 1986 Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, declared legally dead December 1989) was a caporegime in the Gambino crime family who ran the crime family's pornography racket and at the time of his death claimed to be the biggest pornographer in the United States. He gained notoriety when he was involved in a real estate business deal with John Zaccaro, the husband of Geraldine Anne Ferraro, a Democratic politician and a former member of the United States House of Representatives who at the time was 1984 Vice Presidential candidate for Walter Mondale.

Contents

Biography

Robert was born to poor Italian-American emigrants from Camigliano, in the Province of Caserta in Campania. His son Michael was the first in his family to attend college. is the father of Richard (Ricky) DiBernardo born ca. 1962 in Lido Beach, New York with his wife Cindy. He was a powerful mob associate in the DeCavalcante crime family before aligning himself with the Gambino crime family and had strong ties to the Genovese crime family. Law enforcement authorities speculate whether DiBernardo was a "made man in either the DeCavalcante crime family or Gambino crime family or just a very wealthy and influential mob associate. In numerous articles his last name has been spelled "Di Bernardo" and "DiBernardo".

Backlash effect on Geraldine Ferraro

Shortly after the 1984 Democratic National Convention, during the last week of July, questions were circulating about Geraldine's personal finances, those of her husband real estate developer John Zaccaro, and their separately filed tax returns.[1] (While the Mondale campaign had anticipated some questions, the drawn-out vice-presidential selection process had not fully vetted her on this aspect.[2]) Ferraro said that she would release both their returns within a month, but maintained that she was correct not to have included her husband's financial holdings on her past annual Congressional disclosure statements.[1] Notice of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's past investigation into Ferraro's 1978 campaign funds were exposed.[1] On August 12, Geraldine announced that her husband, John Zaccaro would not in fact be releasing his tax returns, on the grounds that to do so would disadvantage his real estate business and that such a disclosure was voluntary and not part of election law;[3] she then quipped, "You people who are married to Italian men, you know what it's like."[4] No campaign issue during the entire 1984 presidential campaign received more media attention than Ferraro's finances.[5] The exposure would have the effect of diminishing Ferraro's rising stardom, removing whatever momentum the Mondale–Ferraro ticket gained out of the convention, and delaying the formation of a coherent message for the fall campaign.[6] Her husband's business relationship with the notorious pornographer and organized crime figure DiBernardo ended the debate during the 1984 vice-presidential debate. On November 6, Mondale and Ferraro lost the general election in a landslide. They received only 41 percent of the popular vote compared to Reagan and Bush's 59 percent, and in the Electoral College won only Mondale's home state of Minnesota and the District of Columbia.[7] Ferraro failed to carry her own congressional district, which always tended to vote Republican in presidential races.[8] Ferraro's presence on the ticket had little measurable effect overall.[9] Geraldine was later replaced by Democratic politician Mary Rose Oakar.

Gangland slaying of Robert DiBernardo

On June 5, 1986, Robert DiBernardo was lured to the basement offices of Sammy Gravano's drywall company on Stillwell Avenue in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. Acting as if it were a regular business meeting, Sammy Gravano told Joseph Paruta to get DiBernardo a cup of coffee. Paruta got up, but instead of getting the coffee, Paruta took a .38-caliber revolver from a cabinet behind DiBernardo and shot him in the back of the head.

Popular culture

In the 1996 HBO original movie Gotti made for television, actor Frank Vincent portrays DiBernardo. In Witness to the Mob, actor Tony Kruck portrays him simply as "Di Bernardo".

References

  1. ^ a b c Gerth, Jeff and Blumenthal, Ralph (1984-07-26). "Rep. Ferraro's Transactions Detailed in Public Records". The New York Times. http://select.nytimes.com/search/restricted/article?res=F40E14FE345D0C758EDDAE0894DC484D81.  
  2. ^ Goldman and Fuller, The Quest for the Presidency 1984, p. 213.
  3. ^ Raines, Howell (1984-08-14). "G.O.P. Seizes 'Genderless Issue' of Tax Returns to Attack Ferraro". The New York Times. http://select.nytimes.com/search/restricted/article?res=F70610FC3E5C0C778DDDA10894DC484D81.  
  4. ^ Ferraro, My Story, pp. 156–158.
  5. ^ Patterson, Thomas E.; Dani, Richard (1985). "The Media Campaign: Struggle for the Agenda". in Nelson, Michael (ed.). The Elections of 1984. Congressional Quarterly, Inc.. ISBN 0-87187-330-3.   p. 119.
  6. ^ Scala, Dante, J.; Shade, William and Campbell, Ballard C. (eds.) (2003). American Presidential Campaigns and Elections. M.E. Sharpe Inc.. ISBN 0-7656-8042-4.   p. 966.
  7. ^ Germond and Witcover, Wake Us When It's Over, p. 537.
  8. ^ Ferraro, My Story, pp. 312, 313.
  9. ^ Light, Paul C.; Lake, Celinda (1985). "The Election: Candidates, Strategies and Decisions". in Nelson, Michael (ed.). The Elections of 1984. Congressional Quarterly, Inc.. ISBN 0-87187-330-3.   pp. 103, 107–108.

External references

  • Goombatah: The Improbable Rise and Fall of John Gotti and His Gang by John Cummings and Ernest Volkman
  • Underboss: Sammy The Bull Gravano's Story of Life in The Mafia by Peter Maas
  • Mafia Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the Gambino Crime Family by John H. Davis
  • Boss of Bosses: The FBI and Paul Castellano by Joseph F. O'Brien and Andris Kurins
  • "Ferraro's Husband Is Said To Have Met Mob Figure" The New York Times September 12, 1992 by Ralph Blumenthal
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