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Ralph Cipriano
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Ralph Cipriano

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Ralph Cipriano is a former muckraking newspaper reporter for the Albany Times Union, Los Angeles Times and Philadelphia Inquirer. He wrote The Billion Dollar Boondoggle in 2010, an expose in the Philadelphia City Paper that documented the lavish spending of the city's infamous DROP program. The ensuing political firestorm over DROP resulted in the resignations of four City Council members taking DROP bonuses, and the defeat of a fifth City Council member at the polls.

Cipriano has won more than a dozen national and state journalism awards, including a Sigma Delta Chi Award for Excellence, a Gerald Loeb finalist award, and a City and Regional Magazine Award for best feature story. He’s the author of two books, The Hit Man, and Courtroom Cowboy. As a blogger in Philadelphia courtrooms, he’s covered the historic trials of former state Senator Vincent J. Fumo and Msgr. William J. Lynn.

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Ralph Cipriano was the first reporter to take a critical look at the Catholic archdiocese of Philadelphia. Writing in the early 1990s as the religion reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer, and subsequently, as a freelancer for National Catholic Reporter, Cipriano examined secrecy and lavish spending under the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua. He also explored the findings of the grand jury that investigated sex abuse in the archdiocese.

His work has been recognized by the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada, which includes The Catholic Standard & Times, the official newspaper of the archdiocese of Philadelphia. In 1999, the Catholic Press Association awarded a First Place for Investigative Reporting for Lavish Spending in Archdiocese Skips Inner City, published June 19, 1998 inNational Catholic Reporter. In 2006, the Catholic Press Association awarded a First Place for Best News Writing for a national event for Grand Jury Findings, published on Oct. 7, 2005 under the headline: “Philadelphia cardinals ‘excused and enabled abuse, covered up crimes.’ ”

Cipriano is the author of Courtroom Cowboy, The Life of Legal Trailblazer Jim Beasley, who was Cipriano's lawyer in a historic libel case against The Philadelphia Inquirer over the veracity of his coverage of the archdiocese, a battle recounted in Chapter 21 of the book. His most recent book is The Hit Man, A True Story of Murder, Redemption and the Melrose Diner, about the life and crimes of former Mafia hit man John Veasey, also available on Kindle.
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