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Saturday, September 9, 2017

Searching for Jimmy Hoffa: Who Cares Where He Is?

     In 1967, in a Chattanooga, Tennessee courtroom, a federal jury found Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa guilty of pension fraud and jury tampering. Four years later, another crook, Richard Nixon, pardoned him. While serving his time in prison, Hoffa lost control of the mobbed-up union and all of the Teamster union's pension money.

     On July 30, 1975, the 62-year-old ex-union boss disappeared. Hoffa was last seen outside a Detroit area restaurant getting into a car occupied by several men. At the time, the FBI presumed that Hoffa had been the victim of a contract murder orchestrated by a crime boss who didn't want to relinquish control of the Teamsters union, and all of that easy money.

     Earlier this year, a reputed mobster in his 80s, Tony Zerilli, told a New York City TV reporter that Detroit based organized crime figures wanted the ex-Teamsters boss dead. Mafia hit men had lured Hoffa to a meeting at the Machus Red Fox Restaurant, abducted him, and drove him to a farm owned by a mob underboss. According to Zerilli, the killers dragged the bound and gagged Hoffa out of the car, hit him with a shovel, then buried him alive under a cement slab in the barn.

     In June 2013, FBI agents, convinced that Tony Zerilli's information was "highly credible," were once again looking for Hoffa's remains. Agents, a cadaver-sniffing dog, and two forensic anthropologists from Michigan State University, were at the possible burial site located in Oakland Township twenty miles north of where Hoffa was last seen.

     For decades, people have joked about Hoffa resting in peace beneath a Meadowlands stadium end-zone in New Jersey just outside of New York. The basis of this speculation incorporates the common wisdom that New Jersey crime boss Anthony Provensano of the Genovese family had arranged the hit.

     Last October, FBI agents took soil samples from the yard of a home in suburban Detroit. The search was launched by a tipster who claimed he had seen a body buried in that yard one day after Hoffa's disappearance. Nothing came of that search.

     On Wednesday, June 19, 2013, following three days of digging, FBI agents, the cadaver dog, and the scientists left the Oakland Township site without finding Jimmy Hoffa's remains.,

     All of the mobsters who have been linked to Hoffa's abduction, murder, and burial are dead. This makes, in my view, the search for his remains 38 years after his death a waste of the FBI's time. These government resources should be applied to missing person and homicide cases that are still fresh, criminal investigations that could produce meaningful results.

     Jimmy Hoffa was a mobster murdered by mobsters in a bygone era. At this late date, what difference does it make where his bones are buried? I miss not thinking of Jimmy Hoffa every time someone scored a touchdown at the Giant's stadium in New Jersey.  

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