Monday, July 26, 2010

Dead End(ing)

The only thing we know for certain about Jimmy Hoffa's fate is that he's dead.

The former Teamsters union leader and jailbird disappeared 35 years ago this Friday, and was probably dead hours later, if that.

You've heard the rumors, the speculation, the jokes, about what became of Hoffa after he pulled into the parking lot of the Machus Red Fox restaurant on Telegraph and Maple in Bloomfield Hills on July 30, 1975.

For days and weeks afterward, though, there was still hope that Hoffa would be found.

Likely, though, Hoffa was murdered moments after hopping into a car to go visit mob bosses.

Hoffa was about to take control of the Teamsters once more. At least, that was his hope, after serving jail time for racketeering and other charges.

According to the most reliable accounts, Hoffa thought he was meeting mobsters Tony Provenzano (of New York/New Jersey) and Tony Giacolone (of Detroit) when he went to the Machus Red Fox. Police later found Hoffa's car in the parking lot but no sign of him.

For their part, neither Provenzano nor Giacolone were proven to be near the restaurant that afternoon (Hoffa disappeared at roughly 2:45 p.m.), nor did they acknowledge to having had a meeting scheduled with Hoffa, period.

Hoffa was declared legally dead on July 30, 1982---seven years after his disappearance.

It's one of the most famous cold cases in history, but I never really understood the fascination.

James Riddle Hoffa: 1913-1975


Hoffa was dead, we all knew that. So if you're not a cop or the FBI, or a member of Hoffa's family, why do you care what happened to him and by whose hand?

I don't mean to sound cavalier, but I think we all kind of know how this thing went down. We just don't have the details.

Even the most lay of laymen knows how these mob things work. You go for a ride, you don't come back. And if they (the mob) don't want your body found, it won't be found. If they want it found, they'll make sure of that, too---on their terms.

Yet for years there has been no end to the rumors and so-called confessions about what ultimately happened to Hoffa---how, and where his remains were disposed of.

He was buried under the then-new Giants Stadium, which opened in 1976. He was chopped up in a wood chipper. He was shot dead in a house in Detroit and buried beneath the floorboards.

Blah, blah, blah.

Sure, it would be kind of neat if a definitive, verifiable account of what happened to Hoffa ever came to light. Just as it would for Amelia Earhart, Judge Crater, and any other high-profile missing persons case.

Don't hold your breath.

If we haven't had a deathbed confession by now or a best-selling book that proves, once and for all, what befell Hoffa after he shut off his engine at the Machus Red Fox on July 30, 1975, then I got news for you, folks: we ain't never getting one.

What could possibly come to light now that would hold any water? And how could it be proven to be the real deal?

We're getting to the point now where most of the people who could have provided salient, certifiable information are dead.

Hoffa, had he lived until today, would be 97 years old.

He would have made a good baseball umpire.

"I may have many faults," Jimmy Hoffa once said. "But being wrong ain't one of them."

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