The Codfather’s 2nd act: ‘I’m the bank now’

It was February 2021, and Rafael, the infamous New Bedford fishing mogul known as “the Codfather,” was serving out the final stretch of an almost four-year prison sentence. He and his two daughters placed a $770,000 bid to acquire the Merchants National Bank building in downtown New Bedford. The historic sandstone building with tall, arched windows and an ornate ceiling no longer functions as a commercial bank. It’s vacant, and there is no money locked behind its heavy, iron vaults. But for the 71-year-old Rafael — flush with more than $70 million in cash from the court-mandated sale of his fleet and barred from ever again involving himself in the commercial fishing industry — acquiring the bank set the stage for a second act. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 06;48

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