- The Washington Times - Monday, November 13, 2006

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Joseph Ungaro, a former managing editor of the Providence Evening Bulletin whose question to President Nixon at an editors meeting elicited the “I’m not a crook” reply, died Nov. 12 at South County Hospital in South Kingstown of an undiagnosed illness, his family said. He was 76.

While president of Associated Press Managing Editors in 1973, Mr. Ungaro asked Mr. Nixon at the group’s annual convention in Orlando, Fla., whether he had accurately reported his income taxes.

Mr. Nixon’s famous declaration came after he had answered a subsequent question about the Watergate scandal. At the end of that reply, he doubled back to Mr. Ungaro’s question, saying:

“People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook.”

Mr. Nixon later agreed to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes. A reporter for the Providence newspaper, Jack White, won a Pulitzer Prize in 1974 for reporting on the president’s tax troubles.

Mr. Ungaro began working at Gannett Co.’s Westchester Rockland Newspaper Group in 1974 as managing editor and rose to become president and publisher. He later became president and chief executive of the Detroit Newspaper Agency, the company that managed a joint operating agreement between the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press.

For the past decade, Mr. Ungaro worked at Stars and Stripes, where he put together a consolidation plan for the newspaper and then became its ombudsman.

Mr. Ungaro graduated from Providence College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he also taught a class in media management.

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