Ettore Zappi (born 4 July 1904 - died July 1986) known as "Terry" and "Mr. Z", was a Capo in the Gambino crime family who ran the families operations in Florida, and was heavily involved in the pornography racket and although it was never proven, it was long alleged that Zappi provided some of the financing for the historic x-rated film "Deepthroat" along with the Peraino brothers, who were members of the Colombo crime family.
Zappi was a close cousin to Carlo Gambino and quickly ascended through the ranks of the Gambino crime family and was given his own crew to run in Florida. Zappi dealt in loansharking and bookmaking, but is most remembered for his involvement in the pornography racket, at the birth of the porn business in California Zappi sent William Haimowitz west to scope out territory and investment potential, Haimowitz made strong contacts with the Los Angeles crime family, primarily through Jimmy "the weasel" Fratianno. Zappi also had connections to mobsters in Cleveland and Atlanta.
In Florida, Zappi became acquainted with a DeCavalcante crime family associate named Robert DiBernardo, whom he later allegedly sponsored as a member into the Gambino family. Zappi also forged ties with providence porn king Kenneth Guarino. His crew consisted of his son Anthony, Natale Richichi, Dibernardo, Guarino, Haimowitz and his brother Sam. Zappi was also associated with Bonanno crime family Capo Mickey Zaffarano and were partners in some of his porn operations.
'Mi Porn' Edit
Between Zappi, Dibernardo and Zaffarano, the FBI began to notice the mobs involvement in the porn industry and set up a sting operation and built a case known as 'Mi Porn', 45 out of the 55 indicted were later convicted, Dibernardo being one of them. Zaffarano died of a heart attack while being served a subpoena, with this Zappi's dominance over the porn business had been decimated, by then Zappi was old and thought to be comfortably retired.
Restaurant Connections Edit
Zappi and his son Anthony were also actively involved with the Florida restaurant industry, particularly, as "owner/investors" in Bobby Rubino's, A Place for Ribs, a restaurant chain based in FT. Lauderdale, in which Joe and Paul Castellano, Jr. (sons of the late Gambino boss Paul Castellano) and Anthony Scotto, Jr. (An Officer in the International Longshoreman's Union who married into the Anthony Anastasio crime family (which, with the murder of Anastasio became the Gambino crime family) were also early investors. The restaurants were said to be one of the more legitimate Gambino investments. Robert "Bobby" Rubino, who broke his teeth as apprentice to Jilly Rizzo whose Jilly's Saloon on 52nd Street in Manhattan gained notoriety by it's both its mob patrons and the patronage of crooner Frank Sinatra, had a long association with Zappi. Later investors in the Bobby Rubino "franchise" included Frank Galgano whose Bobby Rubino's restaurant figured in the 1996 trial of Natale Richichi (also an "investor"). Richichi was convicted of racketeering and other charges. Admitted mob bagman Pasquale Nigro testified that he skimmed $2,500 a week from the restaurant and diverted it to Richichi. It is suspected Zappi was also a recipient of a portion of funds skimmed from this and other restaurant "holdings."
In July of 1986, Zappi passed away in Ft. Lauderdale at the age of 82, his son Anthony passed away in April of 1995 at the age of 70.