Besides the transaction that led to his indictment, John A. Zaccaro was dogged by newspaper headlines about some controversial business transactions during the vice-presidential campaign of his wife, Geraldine A. Ferraro.
Here is a summary of the controversies:
* Estate Management. Zaccaro was accused of mismanaging the affairs of an elderly woman by borrowing $175,000 from her estate. Zaccaro was appointed conservator for Alice Phelan, 84, a nursing home resident, in 1982 and acknowledged that he borrowed the money to make a deposit on behalf of one of his firm's clients.
The loans were repaid with interest, but state Supreme Court Justice Edwin Kassoff removed Zaccaro as conservator, saying that the borrowing violated Zaccaro's position of trust.
* Federal Election Rules. The Federal Election Commission in 1979 fined Zaccaro and the Ferraro campaign committee $750 after $134,000 in family loans were made to her first campaign for Congress in 1978. Under federal election laws, loans of more than $1,000 are prohibited.
In sworn statements Zaccaro said that, in making the loans, he relied on the advice of an attorney who said the loans were proper. The lawyer, David Stein, who had been asked to leave his job at the FEC, later denied having given Zaccaro such advice. Income Tax Returns. When Ferraro publicly released her and her husband's personal income tax returns, she disclosed that she was paying the Internal Revenue Service $53,459 in back taxes and interest for 1978 because of an error in computing capital gains on a building sold to pay off the illegal campaign loans. Ferraro and Zaccaro also owed back taxes to New York state and New York City in connection with the same transaction.
* Associates. A key fund-raiser for Ferraro's second House race in 1979 was Nicholas Sands, who was then fighting a prison term on a labor-law conviction. In May 1980, Sands was shot several times as he left his Queens home, but survived. The Ferraro campaign said the candidate did not learn of Sands criminal background until the shooting and that he has not been involved in her fund-raising since then.
Questions also arose over Ferraro's relationship with Michael LaRosa, a convicted labor racketeer who contributed to her congressional campaigns. LaRosa's relationship with the Zaccaro family began in the 1950s when John Zaccaro's father began lending LaRosa money for his Little Italy bakery. Asked about LaRosa, Ferraro said last October, "I've known Mr. LaRosa. He's a businessman in New York. And beyond that, I'm just not going to comment."
* Building Tenant. Zaccaro was the manager of a building near his office in New York's Little Italy where one tenant is Star Distribution, a pornography dealer with alleged links to the Gambino organized crime family. Zaccaro said when news reports appeared that he did not know what business his tenant was in and would investigate the charges and seek to evict the tenant if they were true.