In terms of seed financing, Harvey Levin, the late Jim Paratore and Warner Bros./Telepictures have nothing on The National Enquirer.
When The New York Enquirer was purchased in 1952, it was a modest 17,000-circulation broadsheet favored by amateur horse racing handicappers. It would later, after a move to Florida, become the precursor to the modern era of celebrity news and gossip reporting. In a fantastic feature article in DuJour magazine, John Connolly shockingly reveals where some of the original funding came from:
For decades, rumors have swirled about the purchase price — placing it between $10,000 and $75,000 — and [owner Generoso] Pope Jr.‘s source of funds. According to exclusive interviews for DuJour magazine with former employees, the money came from two men: a $10,000 loan from Pope’s godfather, Frank Costello, the boss of the Luciano crime family and head of a national gambling empire, and an equal amount from the lawyer Roy Cohn, a friend of Pope’s who had helped convict Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and was soon to gain notoriety as counsel for Senator Joseph McCarthy.