The Press: Return of Muckraking

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> Because of the nuisance of having Secret Service men and security precautions to deal with constantly, Mr. and Mrs. Perry O'Neal in February of 1969 sold their Key Biscayne home in the five-house compound where Nixon established his Florida White House. In fact, it was the Secret Service that arranged the sale for $150,000 to a buyer who turned out to be Robert Abplanalp, a Bronxville, N.Y., millionaire and a friend of Nixon and Rebozo. Two days after the sale, said Newsday, the house was leased to the Government for use by the Secret Service at an annual rent of $18,000. With options, the lease runs for almost eight years realizing "a possible total of $142,500" for Abplanalp. Mrs. O'Neal told Newsday that the Government had never offered her and her husband any lease arrangement.

> With the assistance of then Senator Smathers, Rebozo, already wealthy, secured a loan from the Small Business Administration (founded to help struggling entrepreneurs), which had previously turned down his application. Later, in 1967, the SBA chose Rebozo to develop a Government-backed shopping center set up in Miami to help Cuban refugees go into business for themselves. Rebozo and a partner made $200,000.

> While a member of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, Smathers tried to persuade the Treasury Department to abandon a tax-reform proposal that would hurt stockholders of Florida's Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. As it happened, Smathers secretly owned two Winn-Dixie stores, which he had obtained "for little or no cash." Subsequently, the Nixon Administration delayed putting the tax-reform measure into effect until 1969. The result: Winn-Dixie was the last major corporation to win the tax break before the deadline.

No Libel. The choice of subject matter for its recent series indicates that Newsday's investigative team may henceforth range much more widely. Its first effort, in 1967, was an exposé of town government in Islip, N.Y.; and the reporters were soon delving into all sorts of scandal and shoddy practices that afflicted fast-growing Long Island. During its first 41 years, the team accumulated an enviable record: it won 17 awards, including a 1970 Pulitzer Prize. Its disclosures led directly to the indictment of 21 persons, the conviction of seven and the resignation of 30 public officials. Its articles have influenced the enactment of at least 20 state and local laws. Most impressive of all, perhaps, is the fact that Newsday has managed to accomplish all this without incurring a single libel suit.

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