FBI Still Chasing Jimmy Hoffa


 Reuters reports that the FBI has resumed the search for Jimmy Hoffa’s body.  The FBI has apparently been chasing Hoffa after all these years.

A tip from a reputed mobster Anthony Zerrilli, who is now 83 years old, led FBI agents to a field outside of Detroit, where Hoffa was last seen.  Zerilli is 100% sure that Hoffa is buried there.  Hoffa disappeared from the Machus Red Fox restaurant, a roadhouse in Bloomfield Township, on July 30, 1975,

 If you watched Hoffa, the 1992 movie starring Jack Nicholson, you know that in 1975 Hoffa was scammed and shot by a hit man pretending to be a stranded truck driver. The killer had been encouraged by Robert “Bobby” Sierra Ciara, a composite of Hoffa associates, to serve the Great Man h a cup of coffee.  The last we see of Hoffa and Ciara is their bodies being dumped in a truck and driven off into the sunset.

 Wikipedia informs us that Hoffa was involved in the Brotherhood of Teamsters from 1932 1975, as union organizer, vice president and president.  He developed the union into an organization with over one million members, the largest labor union in the United States.  He did this with the help of organized crime with which he was involved from the very beginning of his association with the union.  He was linked to Mafia leaders Anthony Giacalone and Anthony Provenzano.   Hoffa had planned a meeting with them at the roadhouse at the time of his death.  However they were proven to have been nowhere near the roadhouse at that time.

 Hoffa paid for his links to the mob, however.  He was convicted of jury tampering, attempted bribery and fraud, and sentenced to 13 years in prison in 1967, though he never served the full term.

 It was logical for the FBI to track down his remains outside of Detroit.  He grew up there and started doing Manual labor to support his family when he was 14.

 He started out as an idealist.  In 1932 he tried to organize a union in a company with a chain of grocery stores that provided substandard wages and poor working conditions.  He quit his job because he refused to work under an abusive shift foreman.  Hoffa was brave and charismatic and so respected by his fellow workers that he was invited to become an organizer for the Teamsters.  He was just 19 at the time.

 Hoffa and other union leaders built the Teamsters from 170,000 members in 1936 to a million by 1951.  The Teamsters organized truck drivers and warehouse workers and even tried to add airline workers to its roster.  Hoffa was elected as national vice president in 1952 and president in 1958.  The union organized “quickie strikes” to seek your contractual demands for workers and secure its strength against “raids” by other unions.  It was largely Hoffa’s achievement to bring nearly all of the truck drivers in North America into the Teamsters’ aegis.

 The FBI started chasing Hoffa in 1958.  The pursuit was intensified by Robert Kennedy, when he was Attorney General to his brother, JFK, in 1961.

The Teamsters allegedly supported Richard M. Nixon in his presidential bid in 1960 and in his election in 1968.  It was alleged that Hoffa paid Nixon as much as one million dollars over this period of time.  Nixon returned the favor by commuting Hoffa’s prison sentence to time served after Hoffa had spent 58 months in jail. Hoffa received a “pension” of over a million dollars from the union.  But by then Hoffa had lost most of his power to Frank Fitzsimmons, who was acting president while Hoffa served his time.  It’s was alleged that senior leaders of the Teamsters had induced the Nixon administration to bar Hoffa from a union activities until 1986.  Hoffa sued the government in an attempt to regain his power.  But he lost in court.  And he died well before he could resurrect his influence over the Teamsters.

 Hoffa was working on his autobiography, Hoffa: the Real Story, at the time of his death. He was declared legally dead in 1982.  Over the years rumors surfaced that Hoffa was buried in a junkyard, in a swamp, and a driveway.  He was also supposed to have been made a part of a freeway. Now the FBI is searching for him in a field outside Detroit.

 So why is the FBI still chasing him?  Perhaps Hoffa represents the game that had been wounded but never captured.  He remains a legendary though disreputable figure in American history.

 The question is, if the FBI is still chasing him, what will they do after they get him?

By: Tom Ukinski

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