The Mysterious Disappearance Of Jimmy Hoffa

Jimmy Hoffa was one of the most infamous union leaders in US history But it wasn’t his term as president of America’s largest union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, that earned Hoffa his place in history

Nor was it his four-year stint in prison for various crimes, or his involvement with the mob What makes Jimmy Hoffa so fascinating to this day is the fact that on the 30th July 1975, he simply vanished without a trace Jimmy Hoffa initially got involved in unions when he was just 23, when the Kroger Food Company fired fired him for ‘rabble rousing’ By 1957, he was President of one of the US’s largest unions, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters But he was not quite the most honest union leader; Attorney General Robert Kennedy believed Hoffa used organised crime to advance the Teamsters

After years of trials, Hoffa was convicted in 1964 Hoffa was forced to step down as leader of the Teamsters, and began serving his 13 year prison sentence in 1967 But President Nixon released him in 1971 Hoffa immediately wanted back into the Teamsters One summer day, four years later, Hoffa told his wife that he had a meeting at the Macchus Red Fox Restaurant in Detroit

Hoffa believed he was meeting with his rival in the Teamsters, Anthony Provenzano, and Anthony Giacalone – a mafia street enforcer Hoffa assumed Giacalone had set up the meeting to sort out the feud between himself and Provenzano However, at the time of the meeting, Giacalone was at the Southfield Athletic Club and Provenzano was in Michigan Both told the FBI they had no knowledge of the meeting At 2

30pm, Hoffa called his wife to tell her that no one had shown up for the meeting Hoffa was never heard from again Witnesses at the restaurant saw Hoffa getting into a burgundy car, driven by Hoffa’s adopted son – and 3 other unidentified men Police discovered the vehicle and in 2001, DNA tests proved that a hair found in the back of the car did belong to Jimmy Hoffa Jimmy Hoffa had extensive links to organised crime

Many conspiracy theorists therefore believe his disappearance was a mob hit, but why? On the one hand, the Mafia may have worried that Hoffa secured his peculiarly early release from prison – just five years into a 13 year sentence – by trading information on the mob But if that’s the case, it is strange they left him at large for four years before disposing of him The FBI may have overlooked Provenzano’s role in Hoffa’s disappearance Provenzano served time with Hoffa in prison but the two Teamsters did not get on In the late 1960s, Provenzano became allies with Frank Fitzsimmons – Hoffa’s replacement as President of the Teamsters

Hoffa was intensely jealous of Fitzsimmons, often proclaiming that ‘it’s not his union, it’s my union’ Crucially, Provenzano was head of the New Jersey branch of the Teamsters that was run by the infamous Genovese crime family If the mob supported Provenzano, they therefore supported Fitzsimmons – and not Hoffa The FBI believes Hoffa’s disappearance has something to do with his attempts to regain power: the mob had formed a close relationship with Fitzsimmons and didn’t want Hoffa to jeopardize their influence over such a powerful union They also had their eyes on the millions of dollars in the Teamster’s largest pension fund, which incidentally went missing several weeks before Hoffa did

Alternatively, Hoffa’s close friend Frank Sheeran says that Hoffa was a loose cannon who was hell-bent on revenge against those who put him in prison and took his power He says this worried the Mafia and as a result, they ordered Hoffa’s death Sheeran also implied that Hoffa may have been involved in one of the biggest crimes of the 20th century; the assassination of JFK Sheeran suggested Hoffa was being investigated thoroughly by the JFK administration: Hoffa and the Teamsters’ close ties to organized crime were at risk of exposure So the Mafia had JFK assassinated to protect Hoffa

Sheeran said the Mob later killed Hoffa because he wasn’t grateful enough for JFK’s death It is true that Hoffa was investigated by the Kennedys – he famously clashed with Robert Kennedy in the late 50s In 1979, a House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded that JFK was most likely killed by the Mafia in retaliation for the administration's war on organized crime Crucially their report named Jimmy Hoffa Hoffa’s body has never been found; many reports say he is buried in concrete in the Giants Stadium in New Jersey

Others claim Hoffa was strangled and then put through a woodchipper The FBI put together a list of five key suspects and interviewed them all in front of a grand jury But they all pleaded the fifth amendment – arguing that they couldn’t testify on the grounds that it may incriminate themselves In 2003, just before he died, Frank Sheeran confessed that he had in fact carried out the hit on Jimmy Hoffa Sheeran claimed he lured Hoffa to an empty house and then shot him twice in the back of the head, before a second Mafia group came to dispose of the body

A blood splatter was discovered at the scene that Frank Sheeran described Yet it has not been definitively match to Hoffa’s DNA Hoffa’s disappearance remains unsolved As recently as 2006, the FBI dug up an 80 acre farm in Michigan on the basis of ‘strong evidence’ that Hoffa was there, but discovered nothing The men that Hoffa was due to meet on the day he vanished – Provenzano and Giacalone – have both since died

If they did know anything, they seem to have taken it to their graves

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