BLOGGING FROM A TO Z
A 1970’s Time Capsule
NEWS AND NOTEWORTHY
There are several rumors as to where the body of Jimmy Hoffa was buried, hence X marks the spots.
James Riddle “Jimmy” Hoffa (born February 14, 1913; disappeared July 30, 1975, declared legally dead July 30, 1982) was an American labor union leader. Hoffa was closely involved with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) union, as an organizer, from 1932 to 1975. By 1952, Hoffa had risen to national vice-president of the IBT, and served as the union’s General President between 1958 and 1971. He secured the first national agreement for teamsters’ rates in 1964, and played a major role in the growth and development of the union, which eventually became the largest single union in the United States, with over 1.5 million members at certain times, during his terms as its leader. Hoffa became involved with organized crime from the early years of his Teamsters work, and this connection continued until his disappearance in 1975. He was convicted of jury tampering, attempted bribery, and fraud in 1964. Hoffa was imprisoned in 1967, and sentenced to 13 years, after exhausting the appeal process. In mid-1971 he resigned the Teamsters’ presidency, an action that was part of a pardon agreement with President Richard Nixon, to facilitate his release later that year. Nixon blocked Hoffa from union activities until 1980 (which would have been the end of his prison term, had he served the full sentence). Hoffa attempted to overturn this order and to regain support. Hoffa was last seen in late July 1975, outside the Machus Red Fox, a suburban Detroit restaurant.
His body still has not been found. His disappearance gave rise to many theories as to what happened to him and where his body was hidden. Here are some of those theories which I borrowed from http://listosaur.com/bizarre-stuff/10-theories-on-jimmy-hoffas-final-fate/:
10. Hoffa is Still Alive
On Valentines Day, 2013, Hoffa would have turned 100 so it being valid today is very slim. Could he have ever been still alive after his disappearance? The theory emerged shortly after his disappearance, when another Teamster (and former Hoffa confidante), Rolland McMaster, asserted that his one-time friend had simply left his wife, Josephine, and their two children to live with a “black go-go dancer” in South America. According to the FBI Vault, McMaster himself was once a suspect, and in recent years, an ex-con who allegedly worked with McMaster came forward with the gun supposedly used to kill Hoffa.
9. An Alien Abduction
While you might think this is a completely fringe theory — that aliens abducted the union leader — it’s not so laughable in among UFO enthusiasts. As the story goes, a 60-something retired used car salesman, Tom Dawson, saw Hoffa aboard a UFO, bring on Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. (Dawson’s sighting was the same year the movie was released.) Dawson described the craft as 50 feet in diameter with flashing lights and around seven, short, hairless beings, with pointy ears and noses and speaking in a “high-pitched gibberish.” Apparently, the only creature aboard that didn’t speak that way was Hoffa, who announced his presence (only after Dawson claims he was subjected to an invasive medical exam by the “humanoids”) by screaming three times: “”I am Jimmy Hoffa!” Apparently, the alien beings didn’t like that, cut Jimmy off during the fourth repetition and the voice wasn’t heard from again.
8. A Notorious Hitman Took Down Hoffa
Even in the savage world of mob hitmen, Richard Kuklinski’s ruthlessness stood out. Kuklinski (aka “The Iceman”) claims to have killed more than 200 people during a 40-year reign of terror as the heavy for organized crime syndicates in NYC and New Jersey. Hoffa’s murder seems particularly elaborate; in the book, The Iceman: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer, Kuklinski claims to have first stabbed Hoffa with a hunting knife at the base of his skull before placing the corpse in a 55-gallon oil drum, which he then set on fire and burned for 30 minutes. From there, Kuklinski dumped the barrel in a New Jersey junkyard, and later moved it to a car trunk when an accomplice started talking to the feds. That car, he maintained, was later crushed and subsequently shipped to Japan as scrap metal for new cars.
7. Hoffa is Buried at a Popular Golf Course
Officials at Forest Dunes Golf Course, a nationally recognized course in Michigan’s lower peninsula, don’t shy away from its possible connection to Hoffa. According to the Forest Dunes website, Hoffa may be a “permanent fixture to the grounds,” due to the course’s location on a site once owned by “The Detroit Partnership” made up of three local mafia families. Those families created one of the biggest ranches in the state’s history, with enormous barns, a private runway and more eerie features — like underground tunnels and hidden rooms. Rumored to be the site of dozens of “mafia-style” executions, including Hoffa’s, the ranch sat abandoned for years after the feds seized it for tax evasion. Even though the notorious compound has made way for a lush golf course, the site and its nearby Pere Cheney cemetery still inspire ghost stories. As the course’s website notes, “If you happen to find Jimmy, please notify Superintendent Jim Blunk first, the FBI second!”
6. Hoffa was Processed in a Meat-Rendering Plant
This stomach-churning theory is referenced in the FBI’s Vault, a collection of thousands of historical documents made public in 2011. These documents refer to investigations of properties, including meatpacking plants, owned by another Teamsters official (and reputed Chicago kingpin), Allen Dorfman. Incidentally, Dorfman inspired the role of Andy Stone in the gang flick Casino, and the real public figure was gunned down in the early 1980s — an act prompted by fears that he’d squeal to the FBI to avoid an impending 55-year prison sentence tied to a number of felonies, including bribing a public official and fraud. FBI records note that Dorfman’s business interests were “supposedly involved in the disappearance of Hoffa.” This further supports a popular theory in conspiracy circles: that Hoffa’s remains were run through a mob-owned fat-rendering plant, which burned to the ground in a “mysterious” fire.
5. The CIA Ordered Hoffa Killed
Ultimately, all sensational conspiracies come back to one thing: the government did it. Chuckie O’Brien, who many believe was like another son to Hoffa as O’Brien’s father died when he was a young boy, contends that the government did it. But many surmise that’s just a weak way to deflect attention from the ultimate double-cross: that this man would literally drive the only father figure he really had to his death, delivering him to the arms of the former mob allies who wanted the union bigwig dead. But there are many others out there who contend the CIA wanted Hoffa dead because of something much bigger than bickering among Teamsters union officials and their mob-connected associates; that Hoffa was the original link between the underworld and the CIA in a plot employing mob muscle and devised to take out Cuban dictator Fidel Castro in the 1960s. In fact, mob hitman Charles Grimaldi, in his book, Momo Giancana was hit by the CIA, purports (albeit this is a highly simplified version of the theory) that Hoffa and two reputed mob leaders “got popped” because “people in high places” worried that that they might turn informants to this conspiracy.
4. Hoffa Is Buried in Savannah, Georgia
One theory holds that Hoffa is buried under a former hotel-turned-upscale condo development near Savannah, on Wilmington Island. The Teamsters Union Pension Fund of the Central States once owned the hotel. In addition to the convenient ownership of this property, the flames for this rumor were fanned by county officials who, according to local press, noted there was a suspicious “huge rush” by hotel ownership to pour the concrete for a helicopter pad near the main parking lot right around the time Hoffa went MIA. However, a developer tasked with renovating the old hotel debunks at least the helicopter pad claim, noting that this portion of the property wasn’t even created until six years after Hoffa disappeared.
3. President Nixon Knew Something About Hoffa’s Disappearance
Much has been made through the years of President Richard Nixon’s friendship with the mob, theorized as a means of generating political goodwill and, in some respects, indicative of a time period when the lines between good and evil were blurred, and organized crime truly ruled. Conspiracy theorists constantly go back to Nixon commuting what would have been a 13-year sentence for Hoffa for jury tampering. That decision only came with one, albeit important, stipulation: that Hoffa stay out of union politics until the spring of 1980. It’s widely reported that sentiments were shifting toward Hoffa’s successor, Frank Fitzsimmons, as mob leaders considered him easier to manipulate than Hoffa. But the former Teamsters leader had his eye on returning to power which, it’s surmised, would not have benefited the mafia or political interests at that time. Although the FBI does not believe Nixon knew anything about Hoffa’s disappearance, the agency suspects that Nixon’s operatives collected $1 million from organized crime figures to use as “hush money” for the Watergate burglars.
2. Hoffa Communicated His Fate in an “ESP Dream”
The FBI Vault is bursting with colorful material about Hoffa, including this gem: According to archived documents, Hoffa reached out to a man 20 years after his disappearance, via an “ESP dream.” In that dream, this man was told the Teamsters boss (at least what remained of him) was holed up in a house in Waterford Township, Michigan, near Detroit. Apparently, this “informant” also disclosed that he likes to watch the X-Files and that there was a “terrible smell” coming from the home. There is no mistaking that community and its environs are a mecca for fruitless Hoffa searches. Through the years, law enforcement and media alike have descended upon the area, combing fields, even tearing down a horse barn to get to a body that never surfaced.
1. Hoffa is Buried Under a Famous Detroit Landmark
The most persistent theory about Hoffa’s final fate is that he was buried during construction of the former Giants Stadium in New Jersey, now a parking lot for MetLife Stadium. In 2011, speculation surfaced that Hoffa’s final resting spot is under Detroit’s Renaissance Center, the global headquarters for General Motors that features a mix of lodging, restaurants, event spaces and retailers. Police didn’t get this info from some eccentric; the information came from Hoffa’s former chauffeur, Marvin Elkind, who later became a police informant and subject of the book, The Weasel: A Double Life in the Mob. Apparently, during a Teamsters meeting in Detroit in 1985, a mob capo pointed to the Renaissance Center’s foundation and told Elkind and several others, “Say good morning to Jimmy Hoffa, boys.” At least the time frame fits; construction on the center lasted from 1973 to 1977.
The A to Z Challenge has dueling decades going on. Check out the 1980s theme from a fellow blogger HERE