DeSantis Campaign and PAC Get Over $115,000 From Men With Alleged Mafia Ties

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis waves during a press conference, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

By Keya Vakil

September 23, 2022

According to campaign finance records reviewed by Floricua, John Rosatti and John Staluppi, who were allegedly members of the Colombo crime family, have donated more than $115,000 to DeSantis’ campaign and the Friends of Ron DeSantis political action committee.

In the 1980s and 1990s, the FBI alleged that John Rosatti and John Staluppi were members of the Colombo crime family, one of the five Italian American mafia families in New York City.

Now, they are both exorbitantly wealthy businessmen and are using some of their money to fund Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ reelection campaign.

According to campaign finance records reviewed by Floricua, the two men and their businesses have donated more than $115,000 to DeSantis’ campaign and the Friends of Ron DeSantis political action committee (PAC).

Rosatti, who now lives in Florida, has personally donated $25,100 to DeSantis’ PAC and another $400 to DeSantis’ campaign since June 2021. He has also donated $25,000 to the Republican Party of Florida.

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The bulk of the donations, however, came via some of Rosatti’s businesses that make up his New York-based Plaza Auto Mall empire. Plaza Automotive, Plaza Hyundai, Plaza Motors of Brooklyn, and Plaza Oldsmobile each donated $3,000 to the DeSantis campaign on Nov. 30, 2021.

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More notably, Plaza Hyundai, Plaza Motors of Brooklyn, and Plaza Oldsmobile each directed $25,000 to DeSantis’ PAC on Dec. 31, 2021.

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According to the New York Department of State’s Division of Corporations public database, Rosatti is listed as the chief executive officer of each of these businesses, which have since been merged out of existence.

Staluppi, meanwhile, donated $3,000 to DeSantis on Nov. 30. His wife also donated $3,000 on the same day.

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Both Rosatti and Staluppi have a history of political contributions and have collectively donated tens of thousands of dollars to Republican candidates and groups in recent years, as well as a few Democratic ones.

The DeSantis campaign did not respond to a request for comment. Nor did the campaign of his opponent, Democrat Charlie Crist. But the progressive group Florida Watch and its affiliated DeSantis Watch criticized DeSantis for accepting the donations.

“It is no surprise the Governor is willing to take money from anyone interested in advancing his political ambitions, even those with ties to organized crime, but it certainly raises questions over why these particular donors feel Ron DeSantis is worth their investment,” Anders Croy, communications director for DeSantis Watch, said in a statement. “Floridians deserve a Governor focused on addressing our state’s housing affordability crisis or skyrocketing property insurance rates but instead Ron DeSantis is only focused on lining his campaign bank account. Ron DeSantis cares about one thing and one thing only: himself.”

Efforts to reach Rosatti and Staluppi by phone and email were unsuccessful, and Plaza Auto Mall did not provide a representative to comment.

In the past, both men have strenuously denied ties to the mafia through their attorneys. According to a 1998 report from The Village Voice, Rosatti was convicted in the mid-1970s for attempted auto theft and again in 1994 on a federal gun charge. He ultimately got probation and a $5,000 fine, according to The Village Voice.


  • Keya Vakil

    Keya Vakil is the deputy political editor at COURIER. He previously worked as a researcher in the film industry and dabbled in the political world.



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