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What Happened To Jimmy Hoffa? Facts And Theories About His Disappearance

Culture | July 30, 2020

James R. Hoffa, heir-apparent to the Presidency of the giant Teamsters Union, as he appeared before Senate Rackets probers on August 22, 1957. Source: Bettmann / Contributor via Getty Images

"What happened to Jimmy Hoffa?" was one of the great topics of speculation of the Groovy Era. Boss of the Teamsters Union and general rules-flouting tough guy, Hoffa was undoubtedly in bed with organized crime. But unlike many who run afoul of the mob, Hoffa didn't meet his end in a bullet-riddled, chalk-outlined manner. On July 30, 1975, Hoffa showed up for an appointment with some associates at a restaurant in Michigan. And he was never seen again. 

Source: (Wikipedia)

Jimmy Hoffa’s father died when he was only seven. In 1924, his family moved to Detroit, where he would spend the rest of his life. He dropped out of school when he was 14 to begin working to help support his family. His early jobs were working manual labor. He started to get involved with labor unions when he began working a low-paying job in a Kroger grocery store. He and his fellow workers were unhappy with the low wages and working conditions at the grocery store and began to try to organize a union. Because of his personality he rose to a leadership position, although he left the grocery chain when he refused to work for an abusive shift foreman. After leaving, he became an organizer for Local 299 of the Teamsters in Detroit.  

Hoffa Was A Teamster Leader, And An Ex-Con

Source: (LifeDaily.com)

Although he was never a trucker himself, he became the head of the Michigan teamsters groups. At the IBT convention in Los Angeles in 1952, he was chosen to be the national vice president after he stopped a revolt against Tobin, the man who had been president since 1907, and garnering Central States’ support for Beck, Tobin’s successor. When Beck was imprisoned for fraud, Hoffa then took over the presidency in 1957. He was re-elected in 1961, after which he worked to expand the union. He attempted to bring all truckers in under a single National Master Freight Agreement and then began to try to bring other transport workers into the union, but his success was limited, in part because he was facing significant legal issues which began in 1957. Part of Hoffa’s rise to power was based in his connections with organized crime, which, of course, attracted the government’s attention. In 1961, Robert Kennedy, who was appointed as Attorney General, began an all-out campaign to take down Hoffa. By 1963, Hoffa was indicted for jury tampering. Eventually, he was sentenced to a combined sentence of 13 years, which he began serving on March 7, 1967 at the Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary in Pennsylvania. However, Nixon commuted his sentence to time served in 1971 and he was released. He was unable to reassert himself as president of the teamsters, so was planning to stage a comeback with Local 299, where he had begun. In 1975, Hoffa disappeared.  

Jimmy Hoffa Disappeared On July 30, 1975

The restaurant he disappeared from. Source: (Pinterest)

At 2:15 on July 30, Hoffa called his wife from outside Machus Red Fox restaurant in Bloomfield Township, Michigan, where he was planning to meet Anthony "Tony Jack" Giacalone, from Detroit, and New Jersey's Anthony "Tony Pro" Provenzano, a couple of Mafia honchos. He told his wife he would be home at 4 to grill steaks for dinner. His Pontiac Grande Ville was later found in the parking lot. As the police investigated Hoffa’s disappearance, police dogs detected Hoffa’s scent in the backseat of Joey Giacalone’s car; Joey was the son of Tony Jack, and his car had been borrowed by Chuckie O’Brien, one of Hoffa’s protégés. This proved to be a dead end. With Hoffa’s disappearance, several theories emerged as to the identity of his potential killer and the location of his body.  

Was Jimmy Hoffa Mixed In With The Cement At Giants Stadium?

Giants Stadium, his final resting place? Source: (NJ.com)

One of the theories is that after he was murdered, pieces of his dismembered, frozen body were buried in the cement foundation of Giants Stadium, located in East Rutherford, NJ. The source for this theory was Donald Frankos, a man who was going to testify against John Gotti. Frankos claimed in an interview with Playboy Magazine that an Irish mafia boss, Jimmy Coonan, shot Hoffa in a house in Mount Clemens, Michigan, and then, with the help of a hitman, John Sullivan, chopped up the body, froze it, and mixed the bags of body parts in with the cement that would become section 107 in the stadium, which was under construction. Frankos claimed that he told the FBI about this in 1986, but the FBI denied that he had, even though they did take the claim seriously in 1989. Frankos had no evidence to back his claims, and when Giants Stadium was torn down in 2010, they didn’t even bother to check whether the body was there or not.  

Was Jimmy Hoffa Incinerated?

Frank Sheeran, one of the men who claimed responsibility. Source: (All That's Interesting)

A mafia hitman, Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran claimed that he killed Hoffa, who was his friend. According to Sheeran, there were hits out on Hoffa and Sheeran decided to do it himself. Sheeran stated that he took Hoffa to a house in Detroit, and while he was distracted, shot him twice in the back of the head before burning the body in a trash incinerator. When investigators went to the house where Sheeran claimed to have murdered Hoffa, the blood they found was not Hoffa’s, nor was there any other evidence linking Sheeran to the crime. Journalists and law enforcement officials connected to the case believe that Sheeran’s story was entirely fabricated.  

Is Jimmy Hoffa In The Great Lakes or The Everglades?

The Great Lakes, another place he may have ended up. Source: (Only In Your State)

According to an associate of Hoffa, Joseph Franco, federal agents abducted Hoffa and threw him out of an airplane. Franco claims he kept this story to himself to use it as leverage as he negotiated an immunity deal with federal prosecutors. According to Charlie Allen, Hoffa’s former bodyguard and a mob hitman, after Hoffa was murdered, they ground up his body and put the remains in a steel drum, which was then shipped to the Everglades and dumped, to be consumed by alligators. According to another myth, the remains were buried beneath the Renaissance Center in Detroit, a story posed by Marvin Elkind, a mafia chauffeur who became an informer.

Was Hoffa Scrapped In A Car?

Source: (Wikipedia)

Richard Kuklinski, another former hitman, claimed that Hoffa was stabbed in the head and killed with a hunting knife. Kuklinski claimed that he put the body in his own car, drove it to New Jersey, and had the car crushed in a scrap metal press and the scrap metal was then sold to Japan.

Is Hoffa In A Former Landfill?

Site of the former landfill where his body may be located. Source: (NJ.com)

Eric Moldea, an investigative journalist, has suggested that Rolland McMaster, a former fellow teamster turned enemy of Hoffa, may have had something to do with the murder, and law enforcement did show up on McMaster’s farm to dig for the body. Though they did not find it, they do believe that Hoffa was there on the day of his murder. Moldea also concluded that Sal Briguglio killed Hoffa, and, based on evidence that Vito Giacalone, Tony’s brother, drove Hoffa to his death. Additionally, Moldea has claimed that the body was put in an oil drum and shipped to New Jersey, where it was dumped in the PJP Landfill by Paul Cappola and Philip Moscato.

According to the official FBI report, which is called the “Hoffex Memo,” the New Jersey Teamsters arranged a hit because they were afraid of Hoffa’s potential return to power. This memo suggests that Hoffa was killed to keep him from gaining control of the Teamsters Central States Pension Fund; the hit was arranged by New Jersey Teamsters with ties to the mob. In 1999, Hoffa’s son, James P. Hoffa, was elected head of the Teamsters, with the statement “the mob killed my father. If you vote for me, they will never come back.”

Tags: Crime In The 1970s | Jimmy Hoffa | Mafia | Murder | Unsolved Crimes

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Cyn Felthousen-Post

Writer

Cyn loves history, music, Irish dancing, college football and nature. Social media is also her thing, keeping up with trends and celebrities with positive news. She can be found outside walking or hiking with her son when she's not working. Carpe diem is her fave quote, get out there and seize the day!