1. Star Distributors Inc.

Part: 
Four
Chapter: 
4
Robert "Debe" DiBernardo, Theodore "Teddy" Rothstein, and Andrew "Andre" D'Apice, New York New York.

Star Distributors is a group of companies headquartered in New York, New York, and controlled by Robert "Debe" DiBernardo.

DiBernardo's close business associates at Star Distributors were Theodore "Teddy" Rothstein and Andrew "Andre" D'Apice.

In April 1978, the agents attended a pornography convention at the Fairmont Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana. In a restaurant in that hotel, the agents were introduced to Teddy Rothstein by Rubin Gottesman of National Film Company, Los Angeles, California. Mr. Rothstein agreed to supply Golde Coaste Specialties with hardcore pornographic eight millimeter films, magazines and video tape cassettes. Rothstein said he would introduce the agents to Andre D'Apice, his eight millimeter man. Later on that same date in a hotel room at the Fairmont Hotel, the agents were involved in conversations involving the sale of films with Roger Summers and Joe Mallen of California International Distributors. Present at that meeting were Rothstein and D'Apice. D'Apice said he was a partner of Rothstein's and that they produced the film series entitled "Super Sound" and "Mustang." D'Apice stated they supplied distributors throughout the United States with these series and would also supply them-to the agents.

On April 21 and April 22, 1978, the agents had a series of meetings at Star Distributors, 150 Lafayette Street, New York City. They first met with D'Apice who informed them that there had been some concern as to whether Golde Coaste was a front for law enforcement; however Rothstein.and Robert "Debe" DiBernardo said they had checked Golde Coaste amongst their national associates. Rothstein had confirmed with Al Tapper (now deceased) of California Publishers Liquidating Corporation that the agents were "good people" and that Tapper had dealt with them for a substantial period and not been arrested.

During the meeting D'Apice stated that the agents "would have no problem whatsoever dealing with Mr. Rothstein or 'Debe' as long as you are one hundred per cent good people . . . but if you should cross ?Debe' there are plenty of people who would kill for him."

Between April 24, 1978, and April 27, 1978, the agents recorded a number of telephone conversations between themselves and the principals at star Distributors concerning shipping arrangements for the films which had been ordered. The agents were informed by D'Apice which false names would be utilized as shipper and consignee.

During the sentencing hearing on this case, November 20, 1981, the following pertinent information was provided to the Court:

Jimmy "the Weasel" Fratianno at the time of the hearing was in the Witness Protection Program and guarded on a• twenty-four hour basis by the United States Marshal's Service. Jimmy Fratianno told Special Agent Bruce Ellavsky in his conversations with the agent in May 1980 and May 1981, that he, Fratianno, was a member and one time acting boss of the Los Angeles family of what he called La Cosa Nostra, an organized crime group in Los Angeles. During 1975, Jimmy Fratianno was a partner of Mickey Fine in a pornography operation located in Los Angeles. Initially, in 1975, when Fratianno was dealing with Mickey Fine, he wanted to obtain some money from some of the pornographers who were operating in the Los Angeles area over whom he had no control. Fratianno later learned that Reuben Sturman, a major distributor of sexually explicit material located in Cleveland, had some interest in the Los Angeles area. At that time Jimmy Fratianno spoke to Pete Milano, a capo in the Los Angeles crime family who informed him that previously he and some individuals from the Cleveland organized crime family with Ettore "Terry" Zappi, had put pressure on Reuben Sturman for money and obtained $200,000 from Sturman due to Sturman's association with various families in New York. During this conversation with Pete Milano, Fratianno told Milano that he wanted to do the same thing. Milano said in order for him to do that he would have to see Ettore "Terry" Zappi. At that point Fratianno made arrangements through Tony Randazzo, a member of the Cleveland organized crime family to make an introduction to Zappi which he did, in Florida. During their association together as partners, Fine, on several occasions, had mentioned the name "Debe" to Fratianno. Fratianno asked Mickey Fine who "Debe" was. Fine told him that as far as pornography goes, "Debe" is the main man in the country.

During April 1976, Fratianno went to the Westchester Premier Theatre in New York to see a Frank Sinatra concert. While at the Weschester Premier Theatre he met with Ettore "Terry" Zappi, who Jimmy Fratianno knew as a capo in the Gambino crime family organized crime family in New York. When Fratianno saw Zappi there were two other people with him, one of whom was Frankie Duff, also known as Frankie D'Appolino, a Gambino member. The other person at that time was unknown to him at first. Fratianno spoke with Zappi about pornography and the fact that he wanted to get into the business to a greater extent in the Los Angeles area. During this conversation, Fratianno said to.Zappi that every time he talks about pornography in the Los Angeles area, the name "Debe" comes up. He said he hears the name constantly "Debe." Fratianno asked Zappi who "Debe" was. Zappi laughed and said "Debe" was sitting right next to him and then introduced Fratianno to Robert DiBernardo. Fratianno proceeded to talk to DiBernardo concerning the pornography business, especially pertaining to the Los Angeles area. DiBernardo told him that if he wanted to get in the business he should have done it four or five years ago. Now it was all locked up. Fratianno said that when he was introduced to DiBernardo by Zappi at that time he knew from the way he was introduced at that time DiBernardo was not a member. Zappi said that he and DiBernardo were partners in the pornography business.

Fratianno said that during 1977 he heard from several sources that DiBernardo had been made a member of the Gambino family. There was testimony at the sentencing hearing in United States V. DiBernardo, that in November 1981, Mr. DiBernardo's car was parked in front of Paul Castellano's home in Staten Island. Several reliable sources supplied information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation that DiBernardo is a made member of the Carlo Gambino organized crime family. A source advised that DiBernardo is a big money earner in pornography in New York, Miami and other places throughont the United States and he enjoyed the privilege of reporting directly to Paul Castellano, now deceased, who was allegedly the boss of the Carlo Gambino organized crime family.

United States v. Ralph Borello, was a federal customs cases, involving the smuggling of 771 eight millimeter films by means of false invoices. Borello allowed someone else to use his name in importing shipments of eight millimeter films. Informant information revealed that in 1981 Borello was an employee of Robert DiBernardo. Show World, a multi-faceted pornography outlet on 8th Avenue in New York City, is controlled by Robert DiBernardo. Borello himself has been involved in the pornography industry since the 1960s and maintains the machines in Show World. Borello had twenty-two prior convictions mostly stemming from obscenity related arrests. One was for bribery of a police officer in order to discover information regarding impending searches.