John Zaccaro

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John Anthony Zaccaro (born April 5, 1933)[1] is a real estate developer and owner of P. Zaccaro & Company, which was founded by his father Philip Zaccaro.[2][3] The company acts as a landlord for properties in the Little Italy, Chinatown, and East Side areas of Manhattan and (formerly) in Queens.[1] He is the widower of the late Geraldine Ferraro, former U.S. House of Representatives member from New York and the 1984 Democratic Party Vice Presidential nominee.


Zaccaro was born in the Bay Ridge, Brooklyn neighborhood, to Italian American parents born in the U.S.[1] When an infant the family moved, and he grew up in Forest Hills, Queens[1] (or Kew Gardens, Queens). He attended Loyola School and Rhodes Preparatory School, both in Manhattan.[1] A severe football injury left him unavailable for the draft, but he nonetheless joined the United States Marine Corps Platoon Leaders Class, becoming a second lieutenant.[1] He was drafted by the Brooklyn Dodgers out of high school. He attended Iona College from 1951 to 1955 and graduated with a degree in business administration.[1]

Zaccaro has been a licensed real estate broker since 1951 and a member of the Real Estate Board of New York since 1955. He started working as a salesman for his father, Phillip J. Zaccaro, who had established P. Zaccaro Co., Inc. in 1917. As an agent for the City of New York, that firm had assembled properties which were condemned and upon which Stuyvesant Town, Peter Cooper Village, and Knickerbocker Village were built in the 1930s and 1940s.

Zaccaro and Ferraro met in 1954, when she was a sophomore at Marymount Manhattan College.[1] They became engaged in August 1959,[4] and married on July 16, 1960.[1] They had three children, Donna (born 1962), John Jr. (born 1964), and Laura (born 1966).[1]

In the late 1970s, Zaccaro was appointed a member of the New York City Housing Council. By 1984, Zaccaro's company owned or managed over 20 residential and commercial properties in Manhattan.[3] According to a New York Times article, Zaccaro's buildings had accumulated over 100 mostly minor code violations, but some serious, with tenants complaining of poor conditions in some of the apartments.[3]

Shortly after Democratic presidential nominee Walter Mondale selected Ferraro as his vice presidential running mate in the 1984 U.S. presidential election, Zaccaro became the center of controversy due to the couple's finances and his refusal to release his separately-filed tax returns.[2][5] Ultimately they were submitted,[6] but the matter diminished Ferraro's rising stardom and removed the momentum the Mondale–Ferraro ticket gained following the pick.[7][8] Mondale and Ferraro lost the general election in a landslide to incumbent President Ronald Reagan, although political observers generally agree that no combination of Democrats could have won the election that year.[8]

In January 1985, Zaccaro pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining bank financing in a real estate transaction and was fined $1,000 and was sentenced to 150 hours of community service.[9] Zaccaro stated afterward, "My lawyers have advised me that since my client and I withdrew the loan application, since no one but I was injured, and since I received no benefit, they felt that they could successfully defend this case" but he said he entered the plea to spare his family more publicity and to "conclude the matter and try to return to private life."[10] In October 1986, he was indicted on unrelated felony charges regarding an alleged 1981 bribery of Queens Borough President Donald Manes concerning a cable television contract.[11] A full year later, he was acquitted of all charges at trial.[12]

Zaccaro's business associations have also created controversy,[13] and they and the couple's finances again became a damaging issue during Ferraro's 1992 Senate Democratic primary campaign[14] (which she entered as the front-runner, and lost by a close margin).[15] Zaccaro was not an issue in her 1998 Senate Democratic primary campaign, which she also lost.[16]

P. Zaccaro Co., Inc. continues as a third-generation, privately held real estate investment, development, and management firm that specializes in Manhattan. As principal for over 50 years, Zaccaro has been involved in every aspect of the real estate industry as a manager, broker, developer, or principal. Some of his past clients are the Emigrant Savings Bank, Bowery Savings Bank, and New York University. He has developed property in New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. Zaccaro now works with his son, John Jr., a licensed attorney and real estate broker.

Zaccaro has been appointed as a trustee in bankruptcy by the courts of New York, Queens, and Kings Counties. Zaccaro has also served as a trustee at various independent schools in the city, including Saint David's School and Convent of the Sacred Heart. He is currently a member of the board of directors of his co-op where he resides.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Blumenthal, Ralph (1984-08-18). "Ferraro's Husband: Competitive, Private Man". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ a b Gerth, Jeff]]; Blumenthal, Ralph (1984-07-26). "Rep. Ferraro's Transactions Detailed in Public Records". The New York Times. 
  3. ^ a b c Blumenthal, Ralph (2008-09-04). "When the Press Vetted Geraldine Ferraro". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-06-25. 
  4. ^ "John Zaccaro Fiance Of Geraldine Ferraro". The New York Times. 1959-08-09. 
  5. ^ Raines, Howell (1984-08-14). "G.O.P. Seizes 'Genderless Issue' of Tax Returns to Attack Ferraro". The New York Times. 
  6. ^ Roberts, Sam (1984-08-22). "Ferraro Denies Any Wrongdoing; 2d Loan By Zaccaro From Estate". The New York Times. 
  7. ^ Germond, Jack; Witcover, Jules (1985). Wake Us When It's Over: Presidential Politics of 1984. Macmillan Publishing. pp. 447–448. ISBN 0-02-630710-3. 
  8. ^ a b Cohn, Mary W., ed. (1985). Congress and the Nation: A Review of Government and Politics Vol. VI: 1981–1984. Congressional Quarterly, Inc. pp. 18–20. ISBN 0-87187-334-6. 
  9. ^ Blumenthal, Ralph (1985-02-21). "Judge Sentences Zaccaro to Work in Public Service". The New York Times. 
  10. ^ Maull, Samuel (January 9, 1985). "Ferraro's husband admits guilt in scheme to defraud". Daily News. Middlesboro, Kentucky. Associated Press. p. 4B. 
  11. ^ Lamar Jr. Jacob V. (1986-10-13). "The Family Ties That Bind". Time. 
  12. ^ James, George (1987-10-15). "Jury Acquits Zaccaro of Seeking To Extort Cable Television Bribe". The New York Times. 
  13. ^ Barrett, Wayne (September 1, 1998). "Hiding Her Cards". Village Voice. 
  14. ^ Mitchell, Alison (1992-09-01). "For Ferraro, Cheers of '84 Are Still Resonating". The New York Times. 
  15. ^ Purdum, Todd S. (1992-09-16). "Abrams, In Tight Senate Vote, Appears to Edge Out Ferraro". The New York Times. 
  16. ^ Waldman, Amy (1998-09-17). "The Farewell: For Ferraro, Early Promise, Lopsided Loss". The New York Times. 
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Joan Mondale
Spouse of the Democratic Vice-Presidential Nominee
Succeeded by
Beryl Ann Bentsen