Penn State Hazleton’s Faculty Lectures and Events Committee is sponsoring an appearance by award-winning investigative journalist and author Matt Birkbeck at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, March 31. The event, free and open to the public, will be held in 115 Evelyn Graham Academic Building.
Birkbeck’s latest book, “The Quiet Don,” tells the true story of Kingston resident Russell Bufalino, who was arguably one of the most powerful mobsters in the U.S. His previous book, “Deconstructing Sammy,” tells the riveting story of Sammy Davis Jr. and the efforts to resolve his millions in debts and restore his legacy following his death in 1990. The New York Times Book Review called “Deconstructing Sammy” “gripping” and “sensational” while the Los Angeles Times called it “epic.”
His international bestseller “A Beautiful Child” told the remarkable, tragic story of Sharon Marshall, a brilliant young woman who was kidnapped as a toddler by Franklin Delano Floyd, a convicted felon, fugitive and pedophile who raised her as his daughter while traveling the country using stolen identities. Birkbeck spent six hours in a Florida prison in 2003 interviewing Floyd, who had just been sentenced to death for torturing and murdering a Tampa woman.
Birkbeck is also the co-author of” Till Death Do Us Part” with Dr. Robi Ludwig, a noted psychologist who appears regularly on “Today” and “Larry King Live.”
His first book, “A Deadly Secret,” told the bizarre story of Robert Durst, the heir to a New York real estate empire who was charged and later acquitted of one murder, a grisly dismemberment, and was a suspect in two others, including the disappearance of his wife Kathie. Birkbeck covered the Durst story for People magazine and Reader's Digest and served as a consultant for CBS News’ “48 Hours.”
Birkbeck also has written for The New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Boston magazine.
He has appeared on a variety of news broadcasts and programs, including CNN's “American Morning” and “Anderson Cooper,” along with FOX channel’s “Geraldo Rivera” show, the CBS “Early Show”, and CNN’s “Nancy Grace” show. Birkbeck's work was the subject of an MSNBC documentary on Durst in 2007; he also appeared on Dominick Dunne's "Power, Privilage and Justice" program on TruTV.
In 2002, Birkbeck received a prestigious Investigative Reporters and Editors award for his work uncovering the largest case of residential mortgage fraud in the nation. He revealed how thousands of homebuyers, mostly minorities from the New York area, were duped into buying homes in northeastern Pennsylvania at inflated prices. Birkbeck’s eight-month investigation resulted in numerous federal and state prosecutions, a whopping federal lawsuit against one of the nation’s largest banks, and in 2008 Pennsylvania legislators credited his reporting for their tightening of banking law and mortgage regulations. His reporting also served as a precursor to the current mortgage meltdown affecting the U.S. economy.
Birkbeck joined Harrison Scott Publications in 2010 as a senior writer focusing on Wall Street and regulatory issues in Washington, D.C.
For more details on the event, visit www.hn.psu.edu or contact Penn State Hazleton’s Office of University Relations at 570-450-3180.
Information from Susan Bartal
Public Relations Specialist