Jimmy Hoffa, president of the Teamster’s Union, disappeared
without a trace on July 30, 1975. Jimmy Hoffa led the teamsters
from 1957 to 1971. From the beginning, he had been instrumental
in unionizing workers and had been the brains and guts behind its
success. It was alleged that he had ties to organized crime. He
admitted that liaisons with the Mob were needed, because they had
the power to disrupt strikes, so deals had to be made with them.
The federal investigators pursued him in the 1950’s & ‘60’s without
much success at first, "charging that his empire thrived on violence,
fraud and misuse of union money."
The Justice Department during the Kennedy Administration
turned up the heat and made the charges stick finally convicting
him in 1964. In 1967, after all his appeals were exhausted he was
sent to federal prison at Lewisburg, PA., convicted on the testimony
of a teamster, Edward Grady Putin who was awaiting trial for a variety
of crimes, and had made a deal with the prosecution. Thus Hoffa
was convicted of fund fraud, jury tampering and conspiracy, along
with teamster Tony "pro" Provenzano, whom Hoffa blamed for drawing
federal interest in the first place to his illegal activities.
Hoffa only served 4 years of his 13 year sentence,
because President Nixon commuted his sentence, with the understanding
that Hoffa wouldn’t resume his office until 1980, which would’ve
been the end of his sentence. This deal supposedly was made between
the White House and Union Vice-President Frank Fitzsimmons, who
was now Hoffa’s rival for power in the Union.
On July 30th, 1975 things did not start off well for
Hoffa, when New Jersey mob leader Tony "jack" Giacalone and Tony
"pro" Provenzano, the same fellow Teamster that had been in prison
with Hoffa stood him up at the luncheon meeting at Machus Red Fox
restaurant in Michigan, that they were supposed to have, which indicates
that Hoffa had fallen out of favor with some rather nasty people,
in the mob and in his own Union. Several hours passed, and Hoffa
called home to see if they left any messages. His last phone call
was to his friend, Louis Linteau. Apparently a car load of men did
finally pick him up, and he was last seen sitting in the back seat,
with several men, leaning forward to talk to the driver. The F.B.I
think that he never left that car alive. His blood and hair were
found in the car he was last seen in.
When he failed to come back, the authorities swung
into a full man hunt, questioning Union Mob friends, digging up
various places, hammering walls and cement floors looking for his
body, but to no avail. The F.B.I theorize that his body was run
through a Mob-controlled fat-rendering plant that was later mysteriously
destroyed by fire. In 1983, Hoffa was declared legally dead.
After talking to many people, it was discovered that
Hoffa had many enemies. At the top of the list, suspects included
Russell Bufalino, Anthony "Tony Pro" Provenzano & two Hoffa cronies,
Thomas Andretta, Gabriel Briguglio and Salvador Briguglio, who was
killed for talking to the F.B.I. There wasn’t enough evidence to
charge any of these fellows, but they all wound up in prison for
In 2001, DNA tests done by FBI experts have tied Hoffa
to his friend’s car, an associate by the name of Charles O'Brien,
and charges may still be made in his death.
One theory as to why he was bumped off, was that he
had begun to "spill the beans" about the connections between the
Union and organized crime, because he was livid about the deal Fitzsimmons
had made with the White House.
Others think he was rubbed out because he was trying
to regain his power in the Union, and certain individuals weren’t
about to let him. Tony "pro" Provenzano had told him at one point,
"get out of Union politics or else." The F.B.I. and many teamsters
think that "Tony Pro" ordered Hoffa’s death, and the new Jersey
Mafia did the deed and disposed of the body. "Tony Pro" had an air-tight
Other individuals have linked his murder to various
parts of the continuing corrupt relationship between the mob and
the Union, whose pension funds have been blended in with illegal
gains from gambling, prostitution and illegal drugs. It seems that
the Mob found Hoffa’s replacement, Frank Fitzsimmons much easier
to manipulate and deal with. Also, Frank Fitzsimmons was approved
of by the White House, while Hoffa was not, and would have the Feds
watching their operations closely, making illegal mob activities
harder to carry out.
Jimmy "The Weasel" Fratianno stated in his book, "The
Last Mafioso," that Hoffa wasn’t killed by the New Jersey Mob at
all, but by the local Detroit Mafia bosses. He says that Tony Giacalone,
a close friend of Hoffa set him up, and Tony Zerilli and Mike Polizi
ordered him killed.
Others have claimed that he isn’t dead, just in hiding.
One teamster stuck to his story when diligently questioned by the
authorities that Hoffa had run off to Brazil with a black go-go
Data Resources include: Mysteries of the Unexplained,
The Reader’s Digest Assoc; detnews.com; thepetdetective.com; who2.com; and carpenoctem.tv.