Charles "Bebe" Rebozo meeting with Richard Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover. The three men relax before dinner, Key Biscayne, Florida, December 1971.

Charles Gregory "Bebe" Rebozo (November 17, 1912, Tampa, Florida – May 8, 1998) was a Florida banker who became famous for being a friend and confidant of President Richard Nixon. Nixon was routinely named as Rebozo's primary recipient of covert payments.[1][2][3][4]

Background and early life[edit | edit source]

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.

Friendship with Richard Nixon[edit | edit source]

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

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."[3]

Rebozo was investigated for accepting large covert payments from Howard Hughes on behalf of Nixon.[4]

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.[5]

Later life[edit | edit source]

Rebozo received a letter threatening his life in 1974.[6]

During 1976, Rebozo was the subject of a bank fraud investigation. The loan application filed with Hudson Valley National Bank (Yonkers, New York), stated that the loan was for real estate when it was actually used as a business loan. Rebozo repaid the loan with interest, and the bank did not file a complaint.[7]

In popular culture[edit | edit source]

The character of Beely Ridondo in the Dune prequel novels by Brian Herbert is meant to be a fictional version of Rebozo.

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

  1. John Pierson (1973-06-28). "White House Kept Nixon 'Enemies' List, Weighed Retaliatory Tactics, Dean Says". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2011-09-08. 
  2. Warren Bennis (1985-04-07). "Author reveals the 'Evil Empire' of Howard Hughes". Anchorage Daily News. p. j-6.,3332971&dq=bebe+rebozo+bagman&hl=en. Retrieved 2011-09-08. "It was Bebe Rebozo who sequestered several of the "smaller" gifts, meted out in $50,000 increments." 
  3. 3.0 3.1 John Dean (1973). "A resolution authorizing and directing the Committee on the Judiciary to investigate whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its Constitutional power to impeach Richard M. Nixon President of the United States of America". United States Congress. Retrieved 2011-09-08. "r am also aware of the fact that after an at-ticle was published on Mr. Rebozo I got instructions that one of the authors ol that article should have some problems. I did not know how to deal directly with the situation. I discussed it with Mr. Caulfield. I was reluctant to call Mr. Walters, who was the head of the Internal Revenue Service and suggest that he do anything about this." 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Richard Pearson (1998-05-10). "Charles `Bebe' Rebozo, 85, Dies". Washington Post. p. B08. Retrieved 2011-09-08. "The men remained fast friends after Nixon left office. Mr. Rebozo continued to defend his friend, though he himself was not untouched by the scandals. He was investigated by a congressional committee for accepting a $100,000 cash donation from the mysterious industrialist Howard Hughes for a Nixon campaign." 
  5. "Justice faces true test in Rebozo inquiry". Bangor Daily News. 1973-10-23.,3711393&dq=bebe+rebozo+bagman&hl=en. "Now that Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox has been removed, the true test of the Justice Department's handling of the investigation into the strange finances of President Nixon's friend Bebe Rebozo." 
  6. Charles G. Rebozo, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2003, Internet resource.
  7. "Charles G. Rebozo", Federal Bureau of Investigation Archives Retrieved on 2008-03-16.

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