The Chicago Syndicate: Search results for Jimmy Hoffa

Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Jimmy Hoffa. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Jimmy Hoffa. Sort by date Show all posts

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

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Was Jimmy Hoffa Killed by Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran

It all started, and ended, on this day nearly four decades ago.

It was a hot July afternoon, nearly 92 degrees, when Teamsters president and labor icon Jimmy Hoffa is said to have opened the rear door of a 1975 maroon Mercury in the parking lot of the Machus Red Fox restaurant, in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., and climbed in.

He was never seen again.

The FBI has expended countless resources in the ensuing decades in the hopes of finally solving this enduring American mystery with no success. But I believe, based on my 2004 investigation, that Frank Sheeran did it.

"Suspects Outside of Michigan: Francis Joseph "Frank" Sheeran, age 43, president local 326, Wilmington, Delaware. Resides in Philadelphia and is known associate of Russel Bufalino, La Cosa Nostra Chief, Eastern Pennsylvania," reads the 1976 HOFFEX memo, the compilation of everything investigators knew about Hoffa's disappearance that was prepared for a high level, secret conference at FBI headquarters six months after he vanished.

Sheeran, known as "The Irishman," told me that he drove with Hoffa to a nearby house where he shot him twice in the back of the head. Our investigation subsequently yielded the corroboration, the suspected blood evidence on the hardwood floor and down the hallway of that house, that supports Frank's story.

No one who has ever boasted about knowing what really happened to Jimmy Hoffa has had their claims tested, scrutinized, and then corroborated by independently discovered evidence... except Frank.

He is also the only one of the FBI's dozen suspects who has ever come forward and talked publicly about the killing, let alone admit involvement.

Every other claim that you have ever heard about, from Hoffa being buried in the end zone of Giants Stadium to being entombed under a strip of highway asphalt somewhere, came from people who were never on the bureau's list of people suspected of actual involvement.

For that reason, Frank stands alone.

Six weeks after Hoffa disappeared, Frank, along with the other suspects, was summoned before the Detroit grand jury investigating the case. He took the Fifth.

When I met him in the spring of 2001, Frank freely talked.

My meeting with Frank was arranged so that I could take his measure, and he mine, for a possible in-depth investigation, interview and news story about his claims. He was accompanied by his former lawyer Charlie Brandt, the author of Frank’s then-proposed biography, which tells the Hoffa story. Charlie had been able to spring Frank from a Mafia-related federal racketeering prison sentence, and for that reason was taken into Frank's confidence.

It would be three years before the book, ""I Heard You Paint Houses": Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran and the Inside Story of the Mafia, the Teamsters, and the Last Ride of Jimmy Hoffa" would be published by Steerforth Press, and before the first of my many news stories about Frank, and our investigation, would air on television.

His story is this: He and others were ordered by the Mafia to kill Hoffa to prevent him from trying to run again for the presidency of the Teamsters union. Hoffa had resigned after serving prison time for jury tampering, attempted bribery and fraud convictions. Frank picked Hoffa up at the restaurant, accompanied by two others, to supposedly drive Hoffa to a mob meeting. When they walked into the empty house together, with Frank a step behind Hoffa, he raised his pistol at point-blank range and fired two fatal shots into his unsuspecting target, turned around and left. He said the body was then dragged down the hall by two awaiting accomplices, and that he was later told Hoffa was cremated at a mob-connected funeral home.

Frank had an imposing, old-school mobster way about him that even his advanced years -- he was 80-- did not betray. His menacing aura was not diminished by a severe case of arthritis that crippled him so badly that he was hunched over when he slowly walked with two canes, struggling to put one foot in front of the other.

I found Frank tough, determined, steely.

As I listened to his matter-of-fact recounting of what he said went down at that house, and giving such detail, I remember thinking what he was saying could actually be true.

Here's why:

There is no doubt that Frank was a close confidant of Hoffa, someone who Hoffa trusted. And Hoffa didn't trust very many.

Frank was both a long-time top Teamsters Union official in Delaware as well as an admitted Bufalino crime family hit-man and top aide to the boss himself.

The FBI admits that Frank was "known to be in Detroit area at the time of JRH disappearance, and considered to be a close friend of JRH," as the HOFFEX memo states.

Hoffa's son, current Teamsters President James P. Hoffa, told me in September 2001 that his father would have gotten into the car with Frank. He said that his father would not have taken that ride with some of the other FBI suspects whom I mentioned.

Frank, in the book, says that he sat in the front passenger seat of the car as a subtle warning to Hoffa, who habitually sat there. He felt a deep friendship and loyalty to Hoffa, yet knew what his own fate would be if he failed to carry out the lethal order from his mob masters. So he sat in the front seat hoping Hoffa would realize something was wrong. He did not.

The FBI did find "a single three-inch brown hair...in the rear seat back rest" of that car that matches Hoffa, and three dogs picked up "a strong indication of JRH scents in the rear right seat."

During my interview, I asked Frank if he remembered how to get to the house. I thought finding where Hoffa was killed, and investigating everything about the house, could be key to the case. Frank rattled off the driving directions from the restaurant and described the house's interior layout.

Killers may not remember an exact address of a murder scene, but they never forget how they got there and what they did when they arrived.

"Sheeran gave us the directions," Charlie wrote in the book. "This was the first time he had ever revealed the directions to me. His deepened voice and hard demeanor was chilling, when, for the first time ever, he stated publicly to someone other than me that he had shot Jimmy Hoffa."

A year after our meeting, Charlie and Frank drove to Detroit to try to find the house, and when they did Frank pointed it out to Charlie. They did not go in.

Three years later, in 2004, I, along with producer Ed Barnes and Charlie, first stepped foot into the foyer where Frank said he shot Hoffa, looked around the first floor and as it turned out, Frank's description fit the interior to a tee.

Ed and I arranged with the homeowners to actually take up the foyer and hallway floorboards and remove the press-on vinyl floor tiles that they had put down over the original hardwood floors when they bought the house in 1989.

We hired a forensic team of retired Michigan state police investigators to try to find any blood evidence. They sprayed the chemical luminol on the floors, which homicide detectives routinely use to discover the presence of blood.

We found it.

The testing revealed a specific pattern of blood evidence, laid out like a map of clues to the nation's most infamous unsolved murder. Little yellow numbered tags were placed throughout the first floor foyer and hallway, to mark each spot where the investigators' testing yielded positive hits.

The pattern certainly told the story of how Hoffa was killed.

The greatest amount of positive hits were found right next to the front door, where Hoffa's bleeding head would have hit the floor.

Seven more tags lined the narrow hallway toward the rear kitchen, marking the drops that perfectly mimic Frank's story of Hoffa’s lifeless body being dragged to the kitchen by the two waiting accomplices, who then stuffed it into a body bag and carried it out the back kitchen door.

We arranged for the Oakland County prosecutor's office to remove the floorboards for DNA testing by the FBI, though Oakland County Prosecutor David Gorcyca cautioned that it would be "a miracle" if Hoffa's DNA was recovered.

I knew those odds. A DNA hit was beyond a long shot.

Experts told me that such tiny samples of genetic material, degraded by the passage of 29 years and exposure to air and the elements under a homeowner's heavily trafficked floor, would likely not provide enough material to result in a DNA match.

The FBI lab report says that chemical tests were conducted on 50 specimens; 28 tested positive for the possible presence of blood, and DNA was only recovered from two samples.

The FBI compared what was recovered to the DNA from a known strand of Hoffa's hair. One sample was found to be "of male origin," but it was not determined from whom. The other result was "largely inconclusive."

Was I disappointed that a DNA match was not possible? Yes. Was I surprised? No. Did I think this disproved Frank's claim? No.

Think about it.

What are the chances of any random house in America testing positive for blood traces from more than two dozen samples, in the exact pattern that corroborates a man's murder confession?

What would luminol reveal under your home's floor?

There are other reasons to believe why Frank's scenario fits.

The house was most likely empty on that fateful summer day. It was built in the 1920's and owned for five decades by a single woman, Martha Sellers, a teacher and department store employee. By the summer of 1975, Sellers was in her 80s, and not even living there full time. Her family told The Detroit News and Free Press that she had bought another home in Plymouth, Mich., where she would move permanently the next year.

In his book, Frank says that a man he called "a real estater" lived in the house. The Sellers family remembered that boarder, who they recalled resided in an upstairs bedroom. He was described as "a shadowy figure...who would disappear. He never said more than a few words and they know nothing about him, not even his name."

It is quite possible that "the real estater," was the link between the house and the Detroit mob, providing an empty house as needed, when Sellers was absent, for whatever purpose...including using it as a Mafia hit house to murder Jimmy Hoffa.

The FBI clearly believed Sheeran had credibility.  Agents visited him in his final years, in an unsuccessful attempt to secure his cooperation.

While we were conducting our investigation in Detroit in 2004, the FBI, I was told, tried to find the house even before we aired our story.

And the views of those closest to Jimmy Hoffa, his son and daughter seem especially relevant when assessing Frank's credibility.

Not only did James P. Hoffa confirm that his father would have driven off with Frank, but his sister, Hoffa's daughter, Barbara Crancer, wrote Frank a poignant letter begging him to come clean about their father's fate.

The one-page heartfelt note, handwritten to Frank on March 5, 1995, is detailed in the book.

"It is my personal belief that there are many people who called themselves loyal friends who know what happened to James R. Hoffa, who did it and why. The fact that not one of them has ever told his family -- even under a vow of secrecy, is painful to me..." Hoffa's daughter wrote.

She then underlined: "I believe you are one of those people."

Crancer confirmed to me that she wrote that letter.

Sadly for the Hoffa family, Frank never directly honored her request. When I sat with him, he said that his No. 1 priority was not to go back to "college," meaning prison. He decided that the best way to avoid that possibility, while also revealing his story, was to cooperate with Charlie for the book and to share his secrets with me for my investigation and reporting.

Frank died on Dec. 14, 2003. He was 83.

While authorities no doubt will continue to respond to more tips, as they should, I believe that we already know what happened to Jimmy Hoffa.

Frank described the most precise and credible scenario yet to be recounted, and the evidence that we found from the floor backs up his confession.

Thanks to Eric Shawn.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Plans to Dig Up the Old Giants Stadium to Search for Jimmy Hoffa's Body?

What do the New York Giants and Jets have in common with Jimmy Hoffa? Not much, unless you buy into the long-festering urban legend that they all shared the same residence in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

But now, the two football teams are headed to a new $1.6 billion facility nearby dubbed the New Meadowlands. And their departure may be the best opportunity to finally put to rest the endless stories that Hoffa is not "swimming with the fishes" in the swamps of New Jersey. Or is it?

The old stadium, which opened in 1976 and is often referred to as Giants Stadium, is being razed, with demolition beginning Thursday.

Urban lore has it that Hoffa, Plans to Dig Up the Old Giants Stadium to Search for Jimmy Hoffa's Body?the long-missing Teamsters leader, was killed by members of organized crime and buried in the end zone, or thereabouts, in Giants Stadium.

Representatives for the New Meadowlands stadium said that the field won't be dug up, but that the stadium will be torn down in large pieces and the land eventually will be a parking lot.

Is it possible that football and soccer players -- not to mention the hundreds of thousands of fans who have visited the stadium for concerts over the years -- have trod near the former union leader?

Few urban legends continue to capture the imagination like the disappearance of a union boss with a murky past. The story is now a traditional butt of comedians' jokes, and one shouldn't be surprised that in 2004, the show "Mythbusters" devoted a segment searching for Hoffa. Several areas of the field were tested, but nothing was found. Conclusive? Perhaps not. If you listen closely, you can hear Geraldo Rivera kicking himself for not doing an hourlong special.

A Google search of "Jimmy Hoffa" reveals many theories and opinions on the whereabouts of the controversial union leader, who was reportedly last seen in a suburban Detroit restaurant.

Hoffa skipped off to Brazil with a "go-go dancer" one union official swore. The Weekly World News claims NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has revealed Hoffa's body in a large hidden compartment with a special concrete block. "Crushed in automobile compactor" and "Ground up at a meat processing plant and dumped in Florida" are some of the other theories. Director Quentin Tarantino must be excited about the possibilities.

So just how did Hoffa supposedly end up in the end zone of a football stadium in New Jersey? According to one account, his body was mixed into concrete that was later used to construct the stadium. But why does this story seem to resonate and remain one of the top theories?

Jeff Hansen, an author and former Detroit police officer, says the rumors probably linger because the stadium is a well-known landmark. "It's the NFL," he said. "It's construction, organized crime and cement. Everyone wants to play on that."

Hansen did his own research, and in his recently released book "Digging for the Truth: The Final Resting Place of Jimmy Hoffa," he says the union leader was probably killed closer to home in Michigan and disposed of in a crematorium.

John Samerjan is vice president of public affairs at the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which oversees the Meadowlands Sports Complex. He says he's heard it all before, and he dismisses the story by saying, "It's a complete urban myth."

"There was this mob lore that the mob dumped bodies in the weeds before the stadium was built. The meadowlands region was 'the weeds.' No one has taken this seriously," he said. "It would often come up because every so often, a mobster would write a book or a magazine article. I was here eight years ago when the calls came flooding in."

The rumor mill was so out of control then that a former publicity official recalled recently that the stadium posted a "He's not here" message on its electronic billboard outside the stadium.

The FBI office in Detroit says the investigation of Hoffa's disappearance is ongoing. "We follow up on leads," Detroit FBI spokeswoman Sandra Berchtold said.

The FBI office in Newark, New Jersey, doesn't plan to send anyone to the stadium when it's torn down. "Nope" was the response from Newark FBI spokesman Brian Travers, who says he's fielded several recent calls from the media about the matter.

"My question to you," Travers replied about the seemingly lunacy of the question, "is why would anyone think we would wait this long. We would have dug up the 50 yard line during the Super Bowl a long time ago if there was any credence to the rumor."

The issue of digging is very sensitive for New York sports fans. During the construction of the new Yankee Stadium, a construction worker, and Red Sox fan, buried a Red Sox jersey in wet concrete, hoping to hex the Yankees. The Yankees spent thousands of dollars to dig up the jersey and, in doing so, perhaps averted a future curse and urban legend.

Superstitious? The Yankees won the 2009 World Series.

Thanks to Chris Kokenes

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Hoffa Challenged for Boss

Friends of mine: Jimmy Hoffa

James Hoffa, son of Jimmy Hoffa and leader of the TeamstersFrom a remote Oregon base, Tom Leedham is trying again to unseat the heir to the best-known name in American labor, James Hoffa, for the leadership of the 1.4-million-member Teamsters Union.

Academics, labor lawyers and other specialists say that while there are issues to discuss, it might take a major scandal to rile up enough of the membership to trounce Hoffa, and that hasn't happened.

Leedham, who got 35 percent of the vote against Hoffa five years ago, disagrees. "Everything is different now because Hoffa has a record to run on and it is a record of very weak contracts, the first pension cuts in the history of our union and the biggest dues increase in the history of our union that happened without a membership vote," he said at Oregon's Labor Day picnic, a brief respite from his nationwide campaign.

When Hoffa took over in 1998, he said the union was bordering on bankruptcy with only about $3-million in assets and virtually no strike fund. He put through a 25 percent dues increase that he said revived the fund and put the union on a sound footing. Leedham said it violated campaign promises.

Pension accrual issues have cut benefits or extended retirement ages for tens of thousands of Teamster drivers, mostly in the central region extending from Nebraska though Pennsylvania, to make up for diminished pension funds.

Leedham, 55, is a low-key man who doesn't fit the usual image of a Teamster official. A top officer of Oregon's statewide Local 206 since 1984, Leedham started as a warehouse worker after one year of college. He wound up running the union's 400,000-member warehouse division under Ron Carey, who defeated Hoffa for the union presidency in 1996 and was kicked out of the union for using $800,000 in union funds for his own campaign.

Leedham has the support of the feisty, dissident Detroit-based Teamsters Democratic Union. Whether he is tilting at a well-entrenched windmill or can actually oust Hoffa will be known in November. Ballots go out in early October.

Hoffa spokesman Rich Leebove said their campaign takes all challenges seriously but sees Leedham's effort as "more of a vanity campaign." "He has no record to run on, so he is attacking the Hoffa administration," he said in a telephone interview. Leedham, Leebove said, "is just part of the old guard trying to come back in a new guise."

Hoffa is the son of the famously absent Jimmy Hoffa, who ran the union from 1957 to 1971, served prison time for jury tampering and pension fund irregularities, and was presumed murdered by the mob in 1975. He was declared dead in 1982, but his body was never found.

Under the incumbent Hoffa, the Teamsters paid millions of dollars for an investigation led by former federal prosecutor Edwin Stier into any remaining links of the union to organized crime.

Stier and his team all quit the same day in April 2004, with Stier saying Hoffa was blocking investigation efforts "under pressure from a few self-interested individuals." Hoffa called the statement "reckless and false." But overall, the younger Hoffa has a pretty good record, said Gary Chaison, who teaches labor relations at Clark University in Worcester, Mass. "Many of the problems the Teamsters face are being faced by all unions, such as globalization and outsourcing," he said.

Robert Bruno, associate professor at the Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations at the University of Illinois in Chicago, said there are issues Leedham can run on but wondered if they would mobilize a union with often-low voter turnouts.

Bruno said signs are that union members are becoming more defensive, concentrating on protecting what they have and worrying less about union growth. Most recent Teamster growth has come from taking in other unions, not from expanding the ranks of truck drivers, he said.

Chaison said defeating any incumbent union leader is difficult. "He has the patronage, he's the one who shakes the hands."

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Vanished: The Life and Disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa, Chronicles the Gangland Mystery of Legendary Labor Leader Jimmy Hoffa

At his zenith as a Teamsters union leader, Jimmy Hoffa was reputed to be more powerful than the President of the United States. But on July 30, 1975, nearly 40 years ago, Hoffa vanished from the face of  the Earth, Today, his disappearance remains one of the most mysterious, fascinating and intriguing cold cases in crime history.

​In his book, Vanished: The Life and Disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa (Gangland Mysteries), William Hryb chronicles the story of one of Gangland's biggest mysteries. The author painstakingly takes the  reader behind the scenes of the man who dominated the American labor movement and made the Teamsters the most formidable labor union in America. Hoffa was alleged to have close ties with organized crime, becoming the target of sensational congressional hearings into labor racketeering, spearheaded by Robert Kennedy. Hoffa and Kennedy were bitter enemies who engaged in a boiling turf battle, until the blood feud ended with Robert Kennedy's assassination in 1968.

​James Hoffa's story comes alive in this one-of-a-kind narrative, making William Hryb's book a must read for unsolved crime aficionados.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Prosecutorial Misconduct in the Hoffa Conviction?

The government's hard-won conviction of Jimmy Hoffa on jury-tampering charges is under assault 45 years later.

A retired law professor has persuaded a federal judge to consider unsealing secret grand jury records to set the historical record straight. William L. Tabac wants to prove his theory that the Justice Department - then led by Hoffa's nemesis, Robert Kennedy - used illegal wiretaps and improper testimony to indict the Teamsters leader.

"I think there is prosecutorial misconduct in the case, which included the prosecutors who prosecuted it and the top investigator for the Kennedy Department of Justice," Tabac said.

James Neal, the special prosecutor who convicted Hoffa in 1964 in Chattanooga, calls the claim "baloney." But the petition from Tabac, who taught at Cleveland State University and has been gripped by the Hoffa case since his days as a law clerk, will be heard Monday in a Nashville courtroom.

To prepare for the hearing, Chief U.S. District Court Judge Todd J. Campbell ordered the Justice Department, FBI and other agencies to turn over any sealed records from the Hoffa grand jury related to testimony by investigator Walter Sheridan, wiretapping or electronic eavesdropping.

It's yet another post-mortem look into the affairs of the controversial trade union leader, whose career, disappearance and presumed death continue to spawn conspiracy theories decades later.

The special grand jury convened in 1963 after the federal government had failed for the fourth time to convict Hoffa of corruption charges while he led the Teamsters. The grand jury indicted Hoffa on charges of jury tampering in a Nashville case that accused Hoffa of taking payoffs from trucking companies but ended in mistrial.

A jury in Chattanooga found Hoffa and three co-defendants guilty. Hoffa, later convicted in Chicago of fraud and conspiracy, continued as Teamsters president even as he served four years in prison until stepping aside and getting his sentence commuted by President Richard Nixon in 1971.

Multiple reports describe open animosity between Hoffa and Kennedy, who investigated Hoffa while in the Senate and as attorney general.

Tabac contends the indictment may have been based only or in part on the testimony of Walter Sheridan, a Kennedy special assistant who headed the investigation. Sheridan's testimony "was, in effect, Kennedy's," said Tabac.

"Even during the Cuban missile crisis he (Kennedy) was in touch with Nashville all the time," Tabac said. "I believe he testified to the grand jury through his top aide and I believe it was wrong, especially if that is the basis on which he (Hoffa) was indicted."

Tabac (TAY'-bak) also thinks Edward Grady Partin, a Teamsters official and Hoffa confidant who testified for the prosecution, may have worn a concealed microphone to record conversations with Hoffa and those were heard by the grand jurors.

Kennedy was assassinated in 1968, Partin died in 1990 and Sheridan, who wrote the 1972 book The Hoffa Wars: The Rise and Fall of Jimmy Hoffa, died in 1995. Tabac says only the grand jury records can reveal what happened.

Federal prosecutors oppose Tabac's petition, saying it doesn't meet Supreme Court standards for lifting grand jury secrecy.

Hoffa was last seen in July 1975 in suburban Detroit, where he was supposed to meet with a New Jersey Teamsters boss and a Detroit Mafia captain.

Hoffa was declared legally dead but his body has never been found, spawning innumerable theories about his demise. Among them: He was entombed in concrete at Giants Stadium in New Jersey, ground up and thrown in a Florida swamp or obliterated in a mob-owned fat-rendering plant. The search has continued into this decade, under a backyard pool north of Detroit in 2003, under the floor of a Detroit home in 2004 and at a horse farm in 2006.

Neal, a fledgling lawyer when Kennedy chose him to prosecute Hoffa, said the government did nothing illegal. "Apparently, he (Tabac) thinks if he got the grand jury material he would see that we obtained evidence by wiretaps. It's baloney," Neal said.

Even if Tabac can prove his theory, it's unclear if that would lead to overturning the conviction. "The problem is just that everyone is dead, so it is pretty hard to do," Tabac said. "If there is perjured testimony, I think the relatives may have standing to bring some kind of ... name-clearing procedure."

Thanks to Bill Poovey

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.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

FBI Calls off Dig for Hoffa

Friends of mine: Jimmy Hoffa

The FBI said Tuesday it found no trace of Jimmy Hoffa after digging up a suburban Detroit horse farm in one of the most intensive searches in decades for the former Teamsters boss. The two-week search involved dozens of FBI agents, along with anthropologists, archaeologists, cadaver-sniffing dogs and a demolition crew that took apart a barn.

Louis Fischetti, supervisory agent with the Detroit FBI, said he believed the tip that led agents to the farm was the best federal authorities had received since 1976. The agency planned to continue the investigation into Hoffa's 1975 disappearance. "There are still prosecutable defendants who are living, and they know who they are," said Judy Chilen, assistant agent in charge of the Detroit FBI. The farm was once owned by a Hoffa associate and was said to be a mob meeting place before the union boss' disappearance.

Hoffa vanished after he went to meet two organized crime figures. Investigators have long suspected he was killed by the mob to prevent him from reclaiming the presidency of the Teamsters after he got out of prison for corruption. But no trace of him has ever been found, and no one was ever charged.

The farm was just the latest spot to be dug up in search of clues to Hoffa's fate. In 2003, authorities excavated beneath a backyard pool a few hours north of Detroit. The following year, police ripped up floorboards in a Detroit home to test bloodstains. But the blood was not Hoffa's.

Over the years, some have theorized that Hoffa was buried at Giants Stadium in the New Jersey Meadowlands; ground up and thrown into a Florida swamp; or obliterated in a mob-owned fat-rendering plant.

The FBI began the excavation on May 17, digging at Hidden Dreams Farm, 30 miles northwest of Detroit. The search started after a tip from Donovan Wells, an ailing federal inmate who once lived on the farm and was acquainted with its former owner, 92-year-old Hoffa associate Rolland McMaster, according to a government investigator.

McMaster's attorney Mayer Morganroth said he was not surprised that the search was wrapping up with the mystery unsolved. "We never expected that anything was there," he said, adding that the FBI probably felt pressured to respond to the tip, lest it seem as if it were not trying to solve the case. The FBI said the search was expected to cost less than $250,000. The government plans to pay for the barn to be rebuilt.

While many veteran investigators and Hoffa experts were skeptical about the search, the little community of Milford Township seemed to relish the attention. A bakery sold cupcakes with a plastic green hand emerging from chocolate frosting meant to resemble dirt. Other businesses sold Hoffa-inspired T-shirts and put up signs with wisecracks such as "Caution FBI Crossing Ahead."

Hoffa was last seen on July 30, 1975. 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, both of whom are now dead.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Michigan Farm Subject of Hoffa Search

Friends of mine: Jimmy Hoffa

In one of the most intensive searches for Jimmy Hoffa in decades, the
FBI summoned archaeologists and anthropologists and brought in heavy equipment to scour a horse farm Thursday for the body of the former Teamsters boss who vanished in 1975.

Daniel Roberts, agent in charge of the Detroit FBI field office, would not disclose what led agents to the farm, but said: "This is probably a fairly credible lead. You can gather that from the number of people out here."

No trace of Hoffa has ever been found, and no one has ever been charged in the case. But investigators have long suspected that he was killed by the mob to keep him from reclaiming the Teamsters presidency after he got out of prison for corruption.

The farm, just outside Detroit, used to be owned by a Teamsters official. And mob figures used to meet at a barn there before Hoffa's disappearance, authorities said.

Investigators began combing the area Wednesday, and the search continued Thursday and included the use of heavy construction equipment. Roberts said it would probably involve the removal of a barn. Authorities also led cadaver dogs across the property, and the FBI called in anthropologists and archaeologists from Michigan State University. Roberts said he expects the search to go on for at least a couple of weeks.

Hoffa was last seen on a night 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, both now dead.

Over the years, Hoffa's disappearance spawned endless theories — that he was entombed in concrete at Giants Stadium in the New Jersey Meadowlands; that he was ground up and thrown to the fishes in a Florida swamp; that he was obliterated in a mob-owned fat-rendering plant that has since burned down.

In 2003, authorities searched beneath a backyard pool a few hours north of Detroit but turned up nothing. The following year, they pulled up the floorboards on a Detroit home and found bloodstains, but the blood was not Hoffa's.

A law enforcement official in Washington said the latest search was based on information developed several years ago and verified more recently.

Among other things, there was a high level of suspicious activity on the farm the day Hoffa vanished, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. A backhoe appeared that day near the barn organized crime members had used for meetings, and that location was never used again, the official said.

At the time of Hoffa's disappearance, the property was owned by Rolland McMaster, a longtime Teamsters official. It is now under different ownership and is called Hidden Dreams Farm. McMaster's lawyer, Mayer Morganroth, said he doubted the FBI would find anything. "That farm was looked at with a fine-toothed comb in the '70s, when Hoffa was missing," Morganroth said. "There's nothing there."

McMaster was convicted in 1963 of accepting payoffs from a trucking company and, according to a 1976 Detroit Free Press account, served five months in prison.

Reporters were not allowed onto the property, which is surrounded by a white wooden fence just off a dirt road. Images from news helicopters showed about a dozen people, some with shovels, standing by an area of newly turned dirt about 10 feet by 15 feet.

Morganroth said McMaster was in Indiana on union business at the time of Hoffa's disappearance. He said that to his knowledge, McMaster was never a suspect. Morganroth said FBI officials visited McMaster, 93, this week at his home in Fenton, where one of several horse-breeding farms he owns is situated.

"They were just asking about the farm itself — did he ever get any inkling?" he said.

In 1967, Hoffa was sentenced to 13 years in prison for jury tampering and fraud, but he refused to give up the Teamsters presidency. After he quit the job in 1971, President Nixon pardoned him.

Friday, September 06, 2019

I Heard You Paint Houses: Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran & Closing the Case on Jimmy Hoffa - Inspiration for the @Netflix Fiilm #TheIrishman

Soon to be a NETFLIX film directed by Martin Scorsese, starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel, and written by Steven Zaillian.

I Heard You Paint Houses: Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran & Closing the Case on Jimmy Hoffa, is updated with a 57-page Conclusion by the author that features new, independent corroboration of Frank Sheeran's revelations about the killing of Jimmy Hoffa, the killing of Joey Gallo and the murder of JFK, along with stories that could not be told before.

"I heard you paint houses" are he first words Jimmy Hoffa ever spoke to Frank "the Irishman" Sheeran. To paint a house is to kill a man. The paint is the blood that splatters on the walls and floors. In the course of nearly five years of recorded interviews Frank Sheeran confessed to Charles Brandt that he handled more than twenty-five hits for the mob, and for his friend Hoffa.

Sheeran learned to kill in the U.S. Army, where he saw an astonishing 411 days of active combat duty in Italy during World War II. After returning home he became a hustler and hit man, working for legendary crime boss Russell Bufalino. Eventually Sheeran would rise to a position of such prominence that in a RICO suit then-U.S. Attorney Rudy Giuliani would name him as one of only two non-Italians on a list of 26 top mob figures.

When Bufalino ordered Sheeran to kill Hoffa, the Irishman did the deed, knowing that if he had refused he would have been killed himself.

Sheeran's important and fascinating story includes new information on other famous murders including those of Joey Gallo and JFK, and provides rare insight to a chapter in American history. Charles Brandt has written a page-turner that has become a true crime classic.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Jimmy Hoffa Buried in Detroit Suburbs According to Reputed Mafia Capo Tony Zerilli

A man convicted of crimes as a reputed Mafia captain is claiming missing Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa was buried in suburban Detroit.

Tony Zerilli was in prison when Hoffa disappeared from a Detroit-area restaurant in 1975, but tells New York TV station WNBC he was informed about Hoffa's whereabouts after his release. The ailing 85-year-old took a reporter to a field near Rochester, north of Detroit, but no exact location was disclosed. The report was also aired on Detroit's WDIV.

"The master plan was ... they were going to put him in a shallow grave here," Zerilli said. "Then, they were going to take him from here to Rogers City upstate. There was a hunting lodge and they were going to bury in a shallow grave, then take him up there for final burial. Then, I understand, that it just fell through."

Zerilli did not say during the aired interview why he chose to make his claims now. WNBC reported he is promoting an upcoming book titled "Hoffa Found," the website for which promises to reveal details about Hoffa's death.

No listed phone number for Zerilli could be found Monday by The Associated Press.

The FBI declined to comment when asked if Zerilli's claims were credible. Former Detroit FBI head Andrew Arena said the remarks deserve serious consideration."Anthony Zerilli was reputed to be the underboss of the Detroit organized crime family, so he would have been in the know," Arena said.

Zerilli's criminal record includes a 2002 conviction for conspiracy and extortion. He was sentenced to six years in prison.

Hoffa, Teamsters president from 1957-71, was an acquaintance of mobsters and adversary to federal officials. The day he disappeared, he was supposed to meet with a New Jersey Teamsters boss and a Detroit Mafia captain.

In September, police took soil from a suburban backyard after a tip Hoffa had been buried there. It was just one of many fruitless searches. Previous tips led police to a horse farm northwest of Detroit in 2006, a Detroit home in 2004 and a backyard pool two hours north of the city in 2003.

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.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Jimmy Hoffa Buried Under Driveway in Roseville, Michigan?

Investigators will take soil samples from the ground beneath a suburban Detroit driveway after a man told police he believes he witnessed the burial of missing Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa about 35 years ago, police said Wednesday.

Roseville Police Chief James Berlin said his department received a tip from a man who said he saw a body buried approximately 35 years ago and "thinks it may have been Jimmy he saw interred."

"We are not claiming it's Jimmy Hoffa, the timeline doesn't add up," Berlin said. "We're investigating a body that may be at the location."

Hoffa was last seen on July 30, 1975, outside a suburban Detroit restaurant where he was supposed to meet with a New Jersey Teamsters boss and a Detroit Mafia captain. His body has not been found despite a number of searches over the years.

Innumerable theories about the demise of the union boss have surfaced over time. Among them: He was entombed in concrete at Giants Stadium in New Jersey, ground up and thrown in a Florida swamp or obliterated in a mob-owned fat-rendering plant. The search has continued under a backyard pool north of Detroit in 2003, under the floor of a Detroit home in 2004 and at a horse farm northwest of Detroit in 2006.

After Roseville police received the most recent tip, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality used ground penetrating radar on a 12-foot-by-12-foot patch beneath the driveway, said agency spokesman Brad Wurfel. It found "that the earth had been disturbed at some point in time," Berlin said.

The environmental quality department on Friday will take soil samples that will be sent to a forensic anthropologist at Michigan State University to "have it tested for human decomposition," Berlin said.

Results are not expected until next week.

The FBI had no immediate comment on the new effort in Roseville. Andrew Arena, who recently retired as head of the FBI in Michigan, told Detroit TV station WDIV that all leads must be followed, but he would be surprised if Hoffa is buried there.

Thanks to Corey Williams.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

I Heard You Paint Houses - Updated Edition

"I Heard You Paint Houses", Updated Edition: Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran & Closing the Case on Jimmy Hoffa,” by Charles Brandt is based on the deathbed confession of a mafia hit man who claims to have killed Teamsters union leader Jimmy Hoffa on the orders of Russell Bufalino, the reputed mob boss from West Pittston.

“The book is huge. It flies off the shelves,” said Mike Ashworth, manger of Borders in Dickson City.

The book owes its resurgence to the travails of Mount Airy Casino Resort owner Louis DeNaples and his friend, diocesan priest Joseph Sica, who made headlines after indictments challenged their characterization of their relationship with Bufalino, his alleged successor William D’Elia, and others.

They won’t find direct answers in the book, which never mentions DeNaples or Sica. The book is based on the recorded deathbed confession of mafia hit man Frank Sheeran, who was a friend to both Bufalino and Teamster President Jimmy Hoffa. In the book, written by former Delaware Assistant Attorney General Charles Brandt, Sheeran admits to carrying out several hits. Most notably, Sheeran said he killed Hoffa on Bufalino’s order.

Thanks to David Falchek

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Digging for the Truth: The Final Resting Place of Jimmy Hoffa

July 30 1975: Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran allegedly murders Teamsters Leader Jimmy Hoffa in a house in northwest Detroit. The location of his body has been a mystery for over forty years. Follow Police Officer Jeffry Hansen's three-year journey as he investigates the most infamous disappearance of the twentieth century.

Digging for the Truth: The Final Resting Place of Jimmy Hoffa

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Motor City Mafia: A Century of Organized Crime in Detroit

If you wanted to grab a book for an in-depth look at mob activity in Michigan, you might not find much. Most Mafia books focus on activity in New York City or Chicago, or solely on the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa. But there’s some material. West Bloomfield native Scott Burnstein, 29, has published his first book, “Motor City Mafia: A Century of Organized Crime in Detroit (Images of America).”

“When I wrote this book, I was thinking, ‘What would I want to read?’” Burnstein said last week, amid a busy schedule chock-full of book signings at Borders stores in Troy, Rochester Hills, Grosse Pointe, Utica, Detroit, Flint and East Lansing.

The graduate of Roeper School, Indiana University and John Marshall Law School in Chicago dove into the research, spending hours engrossed in the pages of historical archives at Wayne State University and local newspapers. He tracked down retired FBI agents who worked the cases, interviewing them and gathering never-before-seen photographs that are among the 200 in the book.

Of all Burnstein’s research, the most interesting to him, like the general public, is the information he gleaned regarding Jimmy Hoffa. “I was able to talk to federal law enforcement who were on the case when it happened,” he said, adding that he was in the midst of his research last summer when the FBI spent weeks digging at a farm in Milford on a tip that the mobster’s body was buried there.

“Motor City Mafia” reveals new information and pictures related to the Jimmy Hoffa disappearance and murder; includes crime scene photos taken from various local murders; and captures never-before-seen mug shots of many notorious Detroit-area criminals of the past and present. It also unveils FBI surveillance photographs of numerous local wise guys, mobsters and crime syndicate leaders; and even contains photographs and stories involving alleged affairs between the Mafia and Detroit sports legends Isiah Thomas, Alex Karras, Tommy Hearns and Denny McClain. But it’s not just the sensationalist stories that interest Burnstein.

“People are interested in gangsters because of the blood and guts, but the part that interests me is the nuts and bolts [of the organization], how the power flows vertically and horizontally up the ladder, and the politics about how something like this is run,” he said. “These guys are really the crème de la crème of gangsters in the city of Detroit. They’re college educated, all incessantly trying to avoid the spotlight, where in other cities they like being portrayed as wise guys. These guys are business-like, with a corporate-like structure in terms of the underworld savvy. There’s not a lot of people who can top these guys.”

The response to “Motor City Mafia” has so far been positive, he said, although with relatives of those mentioned in the book living nearby, he might get a little bit of flak. “I want to make it clear that I’m not passing judgment; I’m not trying to get people in trouble with law enforcement, nor am I trying to pump these guys up,” Burnstein explained. “This city has a rich tradition of underworld activity, and people are fascinated by that. It’s such a unique part of our society, but until now, there’s been nothing to read about it. This is for history’s sake.”

Thanks to Jennie Miller

Monday, June 17, 2013

#JimmyHoffa Remains to be Found in Shallow Michigan Grave Today?

The FBI is planning to dig in a Detroit-area field Monday in a hunt for the remains of former Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa, according to a law enforcement source with direct knowledge of the investigation.

Agents on Monday morning were executing a search warrant for a field in Oakland Township, north of Detroit, based in part on information provided by Tony Zerilli, a man alleged to have been a mobster.

Earlier this year, Zerilli told New York's NBC 4 that Hoffa was buried in a Michigan field about 20 miles north of where he was last seen in 1975.

The FBI has spent months looking into Zerilli's claims before seeking court authorization to excavate the field and look for evidence of a shallow grave, according to the source.

Hoffa, then 62, was last seen on July 30, 1975, outside a Detroit-area restaurant. The FBI said at the time that the disappearance could have been linked to Hoffa's efforts to regain power in the Teamsters and to the mob's influence over the union's pension funds.

Hoffa's disappearance and presumed death has vexed investigators for almost four decades. As recently as October, soil samples were taken from a home in the suburban Detroit community after a tipster claimed he saw a body buried in the yard a day after Hoffa disappeared in 1975.

The soil samples were tested, and showed no evidence of human remains or decomposition.

Zerilli, freed in 2008 after his last prison sentence, was convicted of crimes in connection with organized crime in Detroit. Keith Corbett, a former U.S. attorney, told CNN earlier this year that Zerilli headed a Detroit organized crime family from 1970 to 1975, but was in prison when Hoffa disappeared.

Zerilli told CNN affiliate WDIV-TV that a "Mafia enforcer" informed him that Hoffa was buried in the Oakland Township field as a temporary measure, and that the remains were to be moved to another spot near a hunting lodge after the heat died down from a massive police attempt to find Hoffa.

Thursday, October 03, 2019

In Hoffa's Shadow: A Stepfather, a Disappearance in Detroit and My Search for the Truth

As a young man, Jack Goldsmith revered his stepfather, longtime Jimmy Hoffa associate Chuckie O’Brien. But as he grew older and pursued a career in law and government, he came to doubt and distance himself from the man long suspected by the FBI of perpetrating Hoffa’s disappearance on behalf of the mob. It was only years later, when Goldsmith was serving as assistant attorney general in the George W. Bush administration and questioning its misuse of surveillance and other powers, that he began to reconsider his stepfather, and to understand Hoffa’s true legacy.

In Hoffa's Shadow: A Stepfather, a Disappearance in Detroit, and My Search for the Truth, tells the moving story of how Goldsmith reunited with the stepfather he’d disowned and then set out to unravel one of the twentieth century’s most persistent mysteries and Chuckie’s role in it. Along the way, Goldsmith explores Hoffa’s rise and fall and why the golden age of blue-collar America came to an end, while also casting new light on the century-old surveillance state, the architects of Hoffa’s disappearance, and the heartrending complexities of love and loyalty.


Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Jimmy Hoffa

Jimmy Hoffa, one of the most controversial labor leaders of his time, helped make the Teamsters the largest labor union in the U.S., and was also known for his ties to organized crime. His son, James P. Hoffa, has been a general president of the Teamsters since 1999.

• 1913: Born February 14 in Brazil, Indiana
• 1928: Leaves school to work as a stock boy
• 1940: Becomes chairman of the Central States Drivers Council
• 1942: Elected president of the Michigan Conference of Teamsters
• 1952: Becomes international vice president of the Teamsters
• 1957-1971: Elected international president of the Teamsters
• 1967: Starts 13-year sentence for jury tampering, fraud and conspiracy
• 1971: President Richard Nixon commutes Hoffa's sentence
• 1975: Disappears on July 30 from a restaurant in suburban Detroit, Michigan
• 1982: Legally declared "presumed dead"

Source: Encyclopedia Brittanica

Friday, September 12, 2008

Chicago Outfit and New York Families Stretch their Connections Beyond Las Vegas to San Diego

On August 31, the Union-Tribune printed an obituary on the death of Allard Roen, one of the original developers of Carlsbad’s La Costa Resort and Spa. He was living there when he died August 28 at age 87.

The U-T’s obituary was a typical, dutiful encomium. It did not mention the background of one of Roen’s major partners in La Costa and other projects, Moe Dalitz. He was among the 20th Century’s most notorious gangsters, as the Senate Special Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce, known as the Kefauver Committee, pointed out in 1950 and 1951. In fact, a book that is now a best seller, T.J. English’s Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba and Then Lost It to the Revolution, notes that Dalitz, then 47, attended the famed Havana Conference at Cuba’s Hotel Nacional in late December 1946. According to English, a select group of 22 dignitaries caucused to strategize the American mob’s plan to make Cuba a Western Hemisphere vice haven. The group included Giuseppe (Joe Bananas) Bonanno, Vito (Don Vito) Genovese, Meyer Lansky of Murder Inc. and the Bugs and Meyer Mob, Charles (Lucky) Luciano, Luciano’s sidekick and “Prime Minister of the Underworld” Frank Costello, Carlos Marcello, Santo Trafficante Jr., Joe Adonis, and Tony (Big Tuna) Accardo, former bodyguard for Al (Scarface) Capone and later head of the Chicago mob. The book points out that Dalitz had been a partner with Lansky in the Molaska Corporation.

Timothy L. O’Brien, author of Bad Bet : The Inside Story of the Glamour, Glitz, and Danger of America's Gambling Industry, writes that Dalitz had run “the Cleveland branch of Charlie ‘Lucky’ Luciano and Meyer Lansky’s nascent Mafia.” Decades later, Dalitz was known as the caretaker “of underworld investments in Las Vegas.”

A Federal Bureau of Investigation official said in 1978, “The individual who oversees the operations of the La Cosa Nostra families in Las Vegas is Moe Dalitz,” according to James Neff’s Mobbed Up: Jackie Presser's High-Wire Life in the Teamsters, the Mafia, and the FBI.

After Prohibition’s repeal knocked out his bootlegging business, Dalitz went into the illegal casino business in southern Ohio and Kentucky. He then became the Big Boss in Vegas, arranging casino financing from the mob-tainted Teamsters Central States, Southeast and Southwest Areas Pension Fund and keeping track of the books at such spas as the Desert Inn, where Roen was also a key figure. In the late 1940s, Dalitz resurrected crooner Frank Sinatra’s sagging career by giving him gigs at the Desert Inn.

Roen, who in the 1960s pleaded guilty in the United Dye and Chemical securities fraud, joined with Dalitz, Irwin Molasky, and Merv Adelson to build Las Vegas’s Sunrise Hospital with Teamster funds. They tapped Teamster funds for other investments. That Central States fund was essentially a piggy bank controlled by Jimmy Hoffa.

The fund played a key role in San Diego. It loaned $100 million to San Diego’s Irvin J. Kahn, a mobbed-up financier who used the money to develop Peñasquitos. He also got a concealed loan of $800,000 from a tiny Swiss bank named the Cosmos Bank, which made other mob-related loans before being closed up by joint action of the United States and Switzerland in the 1970s.

But the Central States Teamster fund’s big investment was La Costa. The interim loans were made by U.S. National Bank, controlled by C. Arnholt Smith, named “Mr. San Diego” by the Downtown Rotary Club and “Mr. San Diego of the Century” by a reporter for the San Diego Union. Following the interim loans, the Teamster fund would assume the U.S. National loans. There was a cozy relationship. Frank Fitzsimmons, who became head of the Teamsters after Jimmy Hoffa was exterminated, used to come down to watch the Smith-owned minor-league Padres play. And Fitzsimmons would play golf in San Diego with politician Richard Nixon.

The Union-Tribune’s recent panegyric to Roen mentioned that in 1975 Penthouse magazine ran an article charging that La Costa was a hangout for mobsters, and the founders sued for libel. Here’s how the U-T summed up the result: “A 10-year court battled ensued until La Costa accepted a written apology from the magazine.” This is a rank distortion. A joke.

“San Diego leadership has a tendency to fall in love with people with big bucks who come into town,” says Mike Aguirre, city attorney. The La Costa founders “were one of the first big-bucks boys who rode into town, and the welcome wagon was driven by C. Arnholt Smith.” The U-T then, and to this day, protects the roughriders who bring their sacks of money to San Diego.

Aguirre was one attorney representing Penthouse in the suit. He and his colleagues parsed every sentence in the article. The Penthouse trial lawyer rattled off to the jury the names of those who had shown up at La Costa, including Hoffa, Dalitz, Lansky, and many other hoods. And here is the key: the jury exonerated the magazine, agreeing that it had proved that everything it said was true.

It turned out that the judge, Kenneth Gale, had formerly been a lawyer for Jimmy “the Weasel” Fratianno, a notorious mob hit man who had begun cooperating with the government. Fratianno was to testify for Penthouse about the mobsters who habituated La Costa. Gale wouldn’t let the magazine’s lawyer question Fratianno. Judge Gale had also previously represented an infamous union racketeer, as related by Matt Potter in a 1999 Reader story.

After Gale threw out Penthouse’s victory, the magazine thought it could win a retrial, but after ten years and $8 million in legal expenses, Penthouse issued an innocuous statement, saying that it “did not mean to imply nor did it intend for its readers to believe that Messrs. Adelson and Molasky are or were members of organized crime or criminals” (italics mine). Note that Dalitz and Roen were not included in that statement. The magazine praised Dalitz and Roen for their “civic and philanthropic activities.”

Then La Costa owners lauded Penthouse for its “personal and professional awards.” It was a détente sans sincerity.

Dalitz died in 1989 at age 89, leaving a daughter in Rancho Santa Fe. She is involved in many peace and politically progressive activities. Her attorney was once San Diego’s James T. Waring, who didn’t last long as Mayor Jerry Sanders’s real estate czar.

The information on Waring ran in detail in the Reader in early 2006. San Diego’s leaders, always friendly to moneybags, didn’t appreciate the story.

Thanks to Don Bauder

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