Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Congressman Questions Cost of Hoffa Search

Friends of mine: Jimmy Hoffa

A Michigan congressman is questioning the cost of the FBI's search for the remains of former Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa. "The FBI might be better off establishing a budget and some kind of timeline, because what new information do they have now, 31 years later?" said Rep. Joe Knollenberg, whose district is near the search site. Monday marked the 13th consecutive day that agents have worked at Hidden Dreams Farm in Milford Township, 30 miles northwest of Detroit.

The Republican told The Associated Press he has not asked the FBI for an explanation but may do so this week. "It seems to be a no-holds-barred move on the part of the FBI to do all this sifting and digging and searching," Knollenberg said. "It's purely a question of cost at this moment. ... It's the taxpayer that has the voice here, too."

Messages left for FBI spokeswoman Dawn Clenney were not immediately returned Monday.

The FBI has declined to release an estimate of how much the search will cost but has said it will last a couple of weeks and involve more than 40 FBI personnel, as well as demolition experts, archaeologists and anthropologists. "The expenditure of funds has always been necessary in each and every case the FBI works, and this one is no exception," the FBI said in a statement last week.

"We will not abandon our responsibility to effectively investigate a pending organized crime case simply because it might be termed 'too old.' " The FBI has said it received a credible tip that Hoffa's body is buried at the farm, once owned by a Hoffa associate.

Hoffa was last seen when he was scheduled to have dinner at a restaurant about 20 miles from the farm. He was supposed to meet with a New Jersey Teamsters boss and a Detroit Mafia captain, who are now both dead.

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