The Chicago Syndicate: Anthony Provenzano
Showing posts with label Anthony Provenzano. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Anthony Provenzano. Show all posts

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Remembering the Disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa, 40 Years Ago Today

Odds are, 40-years ago today when Jimmy Hoffa was staring down the barrel of a revolver, I was 100 yards away looking into the stainless steel abyss of a hot fudge sundae dish.

On the anniversary of Hoffa's disappearance, July 30, 1975, this is no Forrest Gump story or even a case of mis-remembering. The once-omnipotent Teamsters Union boss was last seen alive on that day at a suburban Detroit shopping center.

He was there for a 2 p.m. meeting with mobsters Anthony "Tony Jack" Giacalone and Anthony "Tony Pro" Provenzano. The meeting was to be at the Machus Red Fox restaurant in Bloomfield Township, one mile from where I grew up.

Straight across the parking lot from where Hoffa was last seen alive, was an ice cream shop known as Sanders. That summer of '75, on my way home from working a 5 a.m.-1 p.m. radio-news shift, I would stop there for one of Sanders' Detroit-famous sundaes. Or maybe a hot fudge cream puff. Every day.

It was a summertime ritual of gluttony. The front window of the ice cream shop faced the restaurant where Hoffa had come for his meeting 40 years ago today.

If only I had known that one of America's greatest all-time crime mysteries was happening, perhaps I would have paid more attention. But only a few people even knew Hoffa was there: the men he was to meet and his wife, who he called just after 2 p.m. from a pay phone in the restaurant to report he'd been stood up.

Hoffa was never heard from again.

During the last four decades, there have been dozens of suggested plots and conspiracies. There was a movie about it and an occasional excavation project based on a tip that always led to nowhere. Hoffa's body has never been found, and if there is consensus among the original investigators who are still alive, that is because his remains were dissolved without a trace.

One retired Chicago FBI agent who worked the Hoffa case in Detroit and Newark, N.J., said that within the bureau the mystery of what happened to Hoffa and why was essentially was solved - even if never brought to prosecution. Hoffa's kidnapping and murder was motivated largely by personal vendetta, according to Joe Brennan, a long-time organized crime squad supervisor.

In interviews over the years, Brennan told the I-Team that New Jersey Teamster official and organized crime boss Anthony "Tony Pro" Provenzano had ordered the grudge killing. The late Provenzano's role in Hoffa's disappearance has been reported over the years. But his motive has always been presumed to be a union-related, checkmate-murder designed to block Hoffa's Teamster comeback.

"Hoffa was trying to get back into labor even though he was told not to," by the courts, Brennan said. "Information we got was that the mob was concerned that his re-entry was going to create investigative interest in union activities which could cause problems (for the mob).

"Provenzano saw a great opportunity to exact revenge" under the cover of a preventive union move, says Brennan. "So, he launched a couple of his guys" to eradicate Hoffa. But Hoffa's gangland termination had nothing to do with his second coming to the Teamster. It was fueled by Provenzano's blood feud with Hoffa, from the time that both men were serving time in the same federal prison.

The FBI's information was that "Hoffa didn't show the appropriate respect for a made (Mafia) guy in prison." In short, Hoffa didn't kiss Provenzano's Cosa Nostra ring while both were at the Lewisburg penitentiary. According to the working theory, Tony Pro never let go of that hostility and eventually got revenge. The FBI was told by mob informants that New Jersey enforcer Salvatore "Sally Bugs" Briguglio and a lesser-known wheelman grabbed Hoffa and took him on his final ride, July 30, 1975.

The FBI belief is that Hoffa was grabbed, killed in Detroit and brought back to New Jersey in a 55-gallon drum for Provenzano to personally verify that he was dead. Federal agents believe the body may have then been melted into the Meadowlands sports stadium in New Jersey, dumped into the Atlantic or dissolved in a vat of zinc in a mob-connected factory. Regardless, Hoffa was declared dead in 1982.

The case is technically open today because his body was never found. Generations know Hoffa only as the punchline of jokes, fueled even by the labor leader's middle name: Riddle (his mother's maiden name.) But for me, 40 years after he vanished and after decades of coincidentally reporting on organized crime, Hoffa remains just another scoop that got away.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie.

Friday, May 19, 2006

FBI Digs for Clues to Hoffa

Friends of ours: Sam Giancana, Sal "Sally Bugs" Briguglio, Anthony "Tony Pro" Provenzano, Anthony "Tony Jack" Giacalone
Friends of mine: Jimmy Hoffa, Rolland "Red" McMaster


The digging continued Thursday at a Michigan farm where FBI agents are looking for clues to one of the great mysteries in US history, the disappearance of labor leader Jimmy Hoffa.

The digging began Wednesday at the property outside of Detroit. One agent is describing the lead that led them to the farm as one of the best ever. The horse farm outside Detroit now being searched by federal agents is called "Hidden Dreams." The question is: are the remains of Jimmy Hoffa also hidden there? In 1975 when Hoffa seemed to have evaporated from earth, the farm was owned by one of his closest teamsters union allies. Authorities searched the farm at the time and found nothing. But the I-Team has learned that recently a federal prison inmate gave investigators new information that has sent them back to the farm digging for clues.

More than 50 federal agents, soil experts and college archeologists converged on Milford, Michigan to look for what the search warrant calls "the human remains of James Riddle Hoffa."

"I've been the agent in charge and this is the best lead I've seen come across on the Hoffa investigation. You can see from the amount of FBI and police department personnel out here that this is probably a fairly credible lead," said Daniel Roberts, FBI-Detroit.

FBI officials declined to give any details about the new information about why they are searching the farm almost 31 years after the last time they were in Milford right after Hoffa disappeared.

But here's what we know:

It was July of 1975 when Hoffa disappeared after a lunchdate at this suburban
Detroit restaurant.

He had called his wife from a phonebooth at an adjacent shopping center and was never heard from again.

One of Hoffa's closest union confidantes at the time was a man named Rolland "Red" McMaster. Now 93 years old, McMaster used to own this farm where the FBI has returned to begin a two-week excavation.

A former associate of McMaster's-now in federal prison-provided authorities with new leads that prompted them to look for Hoffa's remains on the farm.
The federal team working in Michigan includes two FBI evidence experts from the Chicago field office. So far they have found no evidence of Jimmy Hoffa at this location and are being assisted by anthropologists from Michigan State University in analyzing the dirt.

This is the third time in three years that federal agents have gone to a location to dig for Jimmy Hoffa clues, the previous operations unearthed nothing...

The federal prison inmate who provided the horse farm tip is said to have passed a lie detector test. FBI agents have paid a visit to the former farm owner, Red McMaster, who worked with Hoffa until the day Hoffa disappeared.

Law enforcement sources say they have long considered McMaster an important piece in the Hoffa puzzle because of his connections to the late Chicago outfit boss Sam Giancana and the fact that the Chicago mob had muscled control of the teamsters pension funds when Hoffa vanished. McMaster once speculated that Hoffa wasn't dead, that he "ran off to brazil with a black go-go dancer".

Chicago FBI agents are helping in the digging operation outside Detroit. In this Intelligence Report: why some investigators take a wait-and-see attitude about this latest chapter in one of the country's biggest mysteries.

The Jimmy Hoffa case is forever intertwined with Chicago, from the top hoodlums who are suspected of having a role in his disappearance to the FBI agents who spent their careers searching to solve the puzzle. Federal investigators who know the case inside out, tell the ABC7 I-Team that they are skeptical of the lead that has led authorities back to that suburban detroit Horse farm.

The James r. Hoffa file at FBI headquarters in Washington is thick. The "R." in Hoffa's name actually stands for "Riddle," his mother's maiden name. But former Chicago FBI agent, now private investigator, Joe Brennan says the riddle of what happened to Jimmy Hoffa was actually solved years ago.

According to Brennan, the FBI knew what happened to Hoffa en route to his last meal at a suburban Detroit eatery. Shortly after Hoffa called his wife from a payphone near the restaurant -- these were pre-cell phone days -- authorities believe he was from his behind the wheel of his own car in the parking lot. Agents believe he was stuffed into the trunk of a second car and driven away by two outfit hitmen, including a New Jersey hoodlum named Sal "Sally Bugs" Briguglio, who himself was silenced in a gangland hit a few years later.

Jailhouse snitches and mob insiders told the FBI that Hoffa's body was put into a 55 gallon oil drum, put on a truck and driven to New Jersey, where they say mob boss Anthony "Tony Pro" Provenzano was waiting for proof Hoffa had been taken out. According to an FBI source, Provenzano popped the lid of the drum, saw Hoffa's head under the platter, and sent the packaged remains to the Meadowlands Sports Complex or had it dumped in the Atlantic. That is why Brennan and other FBI agents who worked the case today are wary of the horse farm being Hoffa's final resting place.

The farm, once owned by a close Hoffa's union ally, was also a popular mob meeting spot, a well-secluded retreat for Chicago outfit boss Sam Giancana and Chicago hoodlums who had business to discuss with their Detroit counterparts led by Anthony "Tony Jack" Giacalone.

The farm is an unlikely location, say some veteran agents, for a body to buried. Nonetheless, dozens of FBI agents with heavy equipment have descended on this farm that was first searched in 1975 to no avail.

"There have been a number of leads out in this area that have been covered over the last 30 years," said Daniel Roberts , FBI-Detroit.

New Jersey mafia capo Tony Provenzano died by heart attack in 1988. Authors and armchair criminologists just assume that Provenzano had Hoffa killed to prevent Hoffa's return to the teamsters. But Joe Brennan and other FBI insiders believe Tony Pro was motivated by a personal grudge, that when he and Hoffa were in the same Pennsylvania prison in the late 60's and 70's, Hoffa disrespected the mob boss and that, on his last July 30, came to regret it.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie

Tuesday, December 13, 1988

Obit for Anthony Provenzano, Reputed Organzied Crime Leader and Ex-Teamster Chief #TheIrishman

Anthony Provenzano, a reported organized-crime leader who was ousted a decade ago as the teamsters' boss of northern New Jersey, died of a heart attack yesterday in a hospital near a prison in Lompoc, Calif., where he was serving 20 years for racketeering. He was 71 years old.

Mr. Provenzano, a convicted murderer and extortionist and a key figure in the 1975 disappearance of the teamster president, James R. Hoffa, died at Lompoc District Hospital, near the Federal Penitentiary 140 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

He had been in the hospital a month with congestive heart failure, the warden's executive assistant, Chuck LaRoe, said. Mr. Provenzano began his term in 1980. Poor health and advanced age had left him unable to perform his work assignments as a janitor for two years, Mr. LaRoe added.

Mr. Provenzano would have been eligible for release in 1992. Although eligible for parole in 1985, he waived consideration. On his release from Federal prison, he would have faced 25 years to life in New York for the murder of a union rival in 1961, and he apparently preferred to spend his last days in California.

Muscle and Maneuvers

A short, stocky and ham-fisted man who bore the scars of his young years as an amateur boxer, Mr. Provenzano - known to friend and foe alike as Tony Pro - joined the teamsters as a Depression-era truck driver and, through muscle and shrewd maneuvers, fought his way into the top ranks of the crime-riddled union.

His way was strewn with violent election campaigns, Federal and state investigations, the disappearances and mysterious deaths of union opponents, free homes and Cadillacs, salaries that dwarfed corporate largesse, the enmity of rackets-busters and the homage of union men.

Behind his rise and fall lay a shadowy world of associates whose talents lay in beating other men with hammers, in selling labor peace to the trucking industry, in garrotes and guns and the clever use of garbage grinders and incinerators to make enemies disappear.

A reported capo in the Mafia family of Vito Genovese, Mr. Provenzano spent years in courts and prisons. A conviction in 1963 for extortion sent him to prison for seven years. In 1978, he was convicted of murdering Anthony Castellito, a union foe who had vanished 17 years earlier in Ulster County, N.Y. Two racketeering convictions, in New York in 1978 and New Jersey in 1979, sent him to prison for the last time eight years ago.

Tribulations of Local 560

Although he became a vice president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and a top associate of Mr. Hoffa in the 70's, his longtime base of power was the 13,000-member Local 560, with headquarters in Union City, N.J.

While Mr. Provenzano was barred by his last convictions from any union role, his brothers Nunzio and Salvatore were officers of the local, as was his daughter Josephine. In 1984, the local was found guilty of intimidating its members by murders, threats and economic reprisals, and it was placed under a trustee in 1986.

Last Wednesday, in the first contested election at the local in 25 years, the rank and file voted to return the management to a ticket of Provenzano associates. The leaders denied wrongdoing, and observers noted that marriages of necessity, such as that born in the Depression when the teamsters needed the muscle of the mob, were rarely annulled.

Anthony Provenzano was born May 7, 1917, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, one of six sons of immigrant Sicilians, Rosario and Josephine Dispensa Provenzano. He was 17 when he quit school for a $10-a-week job driving a truck out of a terminal in Hackensack, N.J.

Slaying in Kerhonkson

By 1941, Mr. Provenzano was a shop steward, and by 1958 he had taken the reins of Local 560 from the man who had founded it. A year later, he cited the Fifth Amendment 44 times in testimony before a Senate rackets committee for which Robert F. Kennedy was counsel.

In 1961, testimony at his murder trial showed that Mr. Provenzano had paid a mob enforcer, Harold Konigsberg, $15,000 to kill Mr. Castellito. Mr. Konigsberg and three other men had lured the rival to his summer home in Kerhonkson, N.Y., in Ulster County, hit him with a lead truncheon and garroted him with piano wire. The body was never found.

Another rival of Mr. Provenzano, Walter Glockner, was shot to death in 1963 in Hoboken, N.J., just as Mr. Provenzano went on trial for extorting payoffs for labor peace. He was convicted and sent to the Federal prison in Lewisburg, Pa., where Mr. Hoffa was also being held. Bad blood between the two former friends was said to have developed there.

On July 30, 1975, Mr. Hoffa vanished from a parking lot in a Detroit suburb and was never seen again. He was on his way that night to what he thought was a meeting with Mr. Provenzano. Mr. Provenzano was not in Detroit then, but he became a key figure in the disappearance, which was never solved.

Series of Sentences

A book by Steven Brill in 1978 quoted a Federal Bureau of Investigation memo as saying that three of Mr. Provenzano's associates had kidnapped Mr. Hoffa, put him in a garbage shredder and cremated the remains in an incinerator.

A month after being sentenced in Kingston, N.Y., to 25 years to life in prison for Mr. Castellito's murder, Mr. Provenzano was sentenced in Federal District Court in Manhattan in 1978 to four years for arranging kickbacks on a $2.3 million pension-fund loan. A year later, a Federal judge in New Jersey imposed a 20-year prison term for labor racketeering.

The Allwood Funeral Home in Clifton, N.J., listed the survivors as his wife, Marie-Paule Migneron Provenzano; four daughters, Josephine, Marie Maita, Doreen Rucinski and Charlotte Polile; three brothers, Louis, Salvatore and Nunzio, and two grandchildren. The funeral will be Saturday at 9:30 A.M. in St. Andrew's Roman Catholic Church in Clifton. Burial will be in St. Joseph's Cemetery in Hackensack.

Thanks to Robert D. McFadden.

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