|Birth Day:||February 14, 1913|
|Death Date:||Jul 30, 1982 (age 69)|
|Birth Place:||Brazil, United States|
As per our current Database, Jimmy Hoffa died on Jul 30, 1982 (age 69).
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He served as the leader and organizer of the Teamsters union, a group dedicated to furthering the rights of grocery chain workers and truck drivers.
Hoffa was born in Brazil, Indiana, on February 14, 1913, to John and Viola (née Riddle) Hoffa. His father, who was of German descent from what is now referred to as the Pennsylvania Dutch, died in 1920 from lung disease when Hoffa was seven years old. His mother was of Irish ancestry. The family moved to Detroit in 1924, where Hoffa was raised and lived the rest of his life. Hoffa left school at age 14 and began working full-time manual labor jobs to help support his family.
Hoffa married Josephine Poszywak, an 18-year-old Detroit laundry worker of Polish heritage, in Bowling Green, Ohio, on September 24, 1936. The couple had met six months earlier during a nonunionized laundry workers' strike action. They had two children: a daughter, Barbara Ann Crancer, and a son, James P. Hoffa. The Hoffas paid $6,800 in 1939 for a modest home in northwestern Detroit. The family later owned a simple summer lakefront cottage in Orion Township, Michigan, north of Detroit.
Hoffa worked to defend the Teamsters from raids by other unions, including the Congress of Industrial Organizations, and he extended the Teamsters' influence in the Midwest from the late 1930s to the late 1940s. Although he never actually worked as a truck driver, he became president of Local 299 in December 1946. He then rose to lead the combined group of Detroit-area locals shortly afterwards and later advanced to become head of the Michigan Teamsters groups. Meanwhile, Hoffa obtained a deferment from military service in World War II by successfully making a case for his union leadership skills being of more value to the nation by keeping freight running smoothly to assist the war effort.
At the 1952 IBT convention in Los Angeles, Hoffa was selected as national vice-president by incoming president Dave Beck, the successor to Daniel J. Tobin, who had been president since 1907. Hoffa had quelled an internal revolt against Tobin by securing Central States' regional support for Beck at the convention. In exchange, Beck made Hoffa a vice-president.
The IBT moved its headquarters from Indianapolis to Washington, DC, taking over a large office building in the capital in 1955. IBT staff was also meanwhile enlarged, with many lawyers hired to assist with contract negotiations. Following his 1952 election as vice-president, Hoffa began spending more of his time away from Detroit, either in Washington or traveling around the country for his expanded responsibilities. Hoffa's personal lawyer was Bill Bufalino.
Hoffa took over the presidency of the Teamsters in 1957, at the convention in Miami Beach, Florida. His predecessor, Beck, had appeared before the John L. McClellan-led US Senate Select Committee on Improper Activities in Labor or Management Field in March 1957 and took the Fifth Amendment 140 times in response to questions. Beck was under indictment when the IBT convention took place and was convicted and imprisoned in a trial for fraud held in Seattle.
The 1957 AFL–CIO convention, held in Atlantic City, New Jersey, voted nearly five to one to expel the IBT. Vice-President Walter Reuther led the fight to oust the IBT for charges of Hoffa's corrupt leadership. President George Meany gave an emotional speech, advocating the removal of the IBT and stating that he could agree to further affiliation of the Teamsters only if they would dismiss Hoffa as their president. Meany demanded a response from Hoffa, who replied through the press, "We'll see." At the time, IBT was bringing in over $750,000 annually to the AFL-CIO.
Hoffa had first faced major criminal investigations in 1957, as a result of the McClellan Committee. On March 14, 1957, Hoffa was arrested for allegedly trying to bribe an aide to the Select Committee. Hoffa denied the charges (and was later acquitted), but the arrest triggered additional investigations and more arrests and indictments over the following weeks. When John F. Kennedy was elected president in 1960, he appointed his younger brother Robert as Attorney General. Robert Kennedy had been frustrated in earlier attempts to convict Hoffa, while working as counsel to the McClellan subcommittee. As Attorney General from 1961, Kennedy pursued a strong attack on organized crime and he carried on with a so-called "Get Hoffa" squad of prosecutors and investigators together with Primus Tiyahirwa.
Following his re-election as president in 1961, Hoffa worked to expand the union. In 1964, he succeeded in bringing virtually all over-the-road truck drivers in North America under a single National Master Freight Agreement, which may have been his biggest achievement in a lifetime of union activity. Hoffa then tried to bring the airline workers and other transport employees into the union, with limited success. He was then facing immense personal strain as he was under investigation, on trial, launching appeals of convictions, or imprisoned for virtually all of the 1960s.
In May 1963, Hoffa was indicted for jury tampering in Tennessee, charged with the attempted bribery of a grand juror during his 1962 conspiracy trial in Nashville. Hoffa was convicted on March 4, 1964, and subsequently sentenced to eight years in prison and a $10,000 fine. While on bail during his appeal, Hoffa was convicted in a second trial held in Chicago, on July 26, 1964, on one count of conspiracy and three counts of mail and wire fraud for improper use of the Teamsters' pension fund, and sentenced to five years in prison.
Hoffa spent the next three years unsuccessfully appealing his 1964 convictions. Appeals filed by his chief counsel, St. Louis defense attorney Morris Shenker, reached the U.S. Supreme Court. He began serving his aggregate prison sentence of 13 years (eight years for bribery, five years for fraud) on March 7, 1967, at the Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary in Pennsylvania.
When Hoffa entered prison, Frank Fitzsimmons was named acting president of the union, and Hoffa planned to run the union from prison through Fitzsimmons. Fitzsimmons was a Hoffa loyalist, fellow Detroit resident, and a longtime member of Teamsters Local 299, who owed his own high position in large part to Hoffa's influence. Despite this, Fitzsimmons soon distanced himself from Hoffa's influence and control after 1967, to Hoffa's displeasure. Fitzsimmons also decentralized power somewhat within the IBT's administration structure, forgoing much of the control Hoffa took advantage of as union president. While still in prison, Hoffa resigned as Teamsters president on June 19, 1971, and Fitzsimmons was elected Teamsters president on July 9, 1971.
On December 23, 1971, less than five years into his 13-year sentence, Hoffa was released from prison when US President Richard Nixon commuted it to time served. As a result of Hoffa's previous resignation, he was awarded a $1.75 million lump sum termination benefit by the Teamsters Retirement and Family Protection Plan. That type of pension settlement had never occurred with the Teamsters. The IBT then endorsed Nixon, a Republican, in his presidential re-election bid in 1972. In prior elections, the union had normally supported Democratic nominees but had endorsed Nixon in 1960.
Hoffa sued to invalidate the restriction so that he could reassert his power over the Teamsters. John Dean, former White House counsel to Nixon, was among those called upon for depositions in 1974 court proceedings. Dean, who had become famous as a government witness in prosecutions arising from the Watergate scandal by mid-1973, had drafted the clause in 1971 at Nixon's request. Hoffa ultimately lost his court battle since the court ruled that Nixon had acted within his powers by imposing the restriction, as it had been based on Hoffa's misconduct while he was serving as a Teamsters official.
Hoffa faced immense resistance to his re-establishment of power from many corners and had lost much of his earlier support even in the Detroit area. As a result, he intended to begin his comeback at the local level with Local 299 in Detroit, where he retained some influence. In 1975, Hoffa was working on an autobiography, Hoffa: The Real Story, which was published a few months after his disappearance. He had earlier published a book titled The Trials of Jimmy Hoffa (1970).
Hoffa's plans to regain the leadership of the union were met with opposition from several members of the Mafia, including some who were connected to his disappearance in 1975. One of them was Anthony Provenzano, who had been a Teamsters local leader in New Jersey and a national vice-president of the union during Hoffa's second term as its president. Provenzano had once been a friend of Hoffa's but became an enemy after a reported feud when both were in federal prison at Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, in the 1960s. In 1973 and 1974, Hoffa asked him for his support to regain his former position, but Provenzano refused and threatened Hoffa by reportedly saying he would pull out his guts and kidnap his grandchildren. Provenzano was a caporegime in the New York City Genovese crime family. At least two of Provenzano's union opponents had been murdered, and others who had spoken out against him had been assaulted.
Hoffa disappeared on July 30, 1975 after he had gone out to the meeting with Provenzano and Giacalone. The meeting was due to take place at 2:00 p.m. at the Machus Red Fox restaurant in Bloomfield Township, a Detroit suburb. The place was known to Hoffa, as it had been the site of the wedding reception of his son James. Hoffa wrote Giacalone's initials and the time and location of the meeting in his office calendar: "TG—2 p.m.—Red Fox."
Giacalone and Provenzano, who denied having scheduled a meeting with Hoffa, were found not to have been near the restaurant that afternoon. Provenzano told investigators that he was playing cards with Stephen Andretta, Thomas Andretta's brother, in Union City, New Jersey, the day that Hoffa disappeared. Despite extensive surveillance and bugging, investigators found that the Mafia members who they thought were involved were generally unwilling to talk about Hoffa's disappearance, even in private. On December 4, 1975, a federal investigator in Detroit said in court, presided by James Paul Churchill, that a witness had identified three New Jersey men as having participated "in the abduction and murder of James R. Hoffa." The three men were close associates of Provenzano, namely, Salvatore Briguglio, Salvatore's brother Gabriel Briguglio, and Thomas Andretta.
In his book, I Heard You Paint Houses: Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran and the Closing of the Case on Jimmy Hoffa (2004), author Charles Brandt writes that Frank Sheeran, an alleged professional killer for the mob and a longtime friend of Hoffa, confessed to assassinating him. According to the book, Sheeran claims O'Brien drove him, Hoffa, and fellow mobster Sal Briguglio to a house in Detroit where he shot Hoffa twice in the back of the head. Further, in 1975 Sheeran admitted to reporters that he murdered Hoffa, although blood stains found in the Detroit house in which Sheeran claimed the murder had happened were determined not to match Hoffa's DNA. The truthfulness of the book, including Sheeran's confessions to killing Hoffa, has been disputed by "The Lies of the Irishman," an article in Slate by Bill Tonelli, and "Jimmy Hoffa and 'The Irishman': A True Crime Story?" by Harvard Law School Professor Jack Goldsmith, which appeared in The New York Review of Books. Buccellato doubts that the Mafia would have entrusted an Irish American with this role and also believes that Hoffa would have refused to travel that far from the restaurant.
In the 1978 film F.I.S.T., Sylvester Stallone plays "Johnny Kovak", a character based on Hoffa. In the 1983 TV miniseries Blood Feud, Hoffa is portrayed by Robert Blake. In the 1984 TV film The Jesse Owens Story, Hoffa is portrayed by Tom Bosley. In the 1984 Sergio Leone film Once Upon a Time in America syndicalist James Conway O'Donnell's character, played by Treat Williams, is inspired by Hoffa. In the 1985 television miniseries Robert Kennedy and His Times, Hoffa is portrayed by Trey Wilson. In the 1992 film Hoffa, Hoffa is portrayed by Jack Nicholson. He is portrayed by Thomas Wagner in the 1993 television movie Marilyn & Bobby: Her Final Affair. Author James Ellroy features a fictional historical version of Hoffa in the Underworld USA Trilogy novels as an important secondary character, most prominently in the novels American Tabloid (1995) and The Cold Six Thousand (2001). In the 2003 comedy/drama film Bruce Almighty, the titular character uses powers endowed by God to manifest Hoffa's body in order to procure a story interesting enough to reclaim his career in the news industry. In the 2019 Martin Scorsese film The Irishman, which adapts the book I Heard You Paint Houses, Hoffa is portrayed by Al Pacino. Pacino was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance.
After years of investigation, involving numerous law enforcement agencies including the FBI, officials have not reached a definitive conclusion as to Hoffa's fate and who was involved. Hoffa's wife, Josephine, died on September 12, 1980 and is interred at White Chapel Memorial Cemetery in Troy, Michigan. On December 9, 1982, Hoffa was declared legally dead as of July 30, 1982, by Oakland County, Michigan Probate Judge Norman R. Barnard.
In 1989, Kenneth Walton, the agent-in-charge of the FBI's Detroit office, told The Detroit News that he knew what had happened to Hoffa. "I'm comfortable I know who did it, but it's never going to be prosecuted because we would have to divulge informants, confidential sources." In 2001, the FBI matched DNA from Hoffa's hair, taken from a brush, with a strand of hair found in Joseph Giacalone's car, but it is possible that Hoffa had traveled in the car on a different day.
In his 1991 book Hoffa, Arthur A. Sloane said that the most common theory of FBI investigators was that Russell Bufalino was the mob boss who ordered the murder, and Salvatore "Sally Bugs" Briguglio, his brother Gabriel Briguglio, Thomas Andretta and Charles "Chuckie" O'Brien were the men who lured Hoffa away from the restaurant. The theory is that O'Brien was used as an "unwitting dupe" to lure Hoffa away, because Hoffa was suspicious of Provenzano and would not have entered the car unless there was a familiar figure present. Keith Corbett, a former US Prosecuting Attorney, has since suggested that O'Brien would have been considered too unreliable to be entrusted with a role in such a high-profile murder. He instead suggested that Vito "Billy" Giacalone was the familiar figure.
On June 16, 2006, the Detroit Free Press published the entire "Hoffex Memo," a 56-page report prepared by the FBI for a January 1976 briefing on the case at the FBI headquarters in Washington. Although not claiming conclusively to establish the specifics of his disappearance, the memo records a belief that Hoffa was murdered at the behest of organized crime figures, who regarded his efforts to regain power in the Teamsters as a threat to their control of the union's pension fund. As of 2019, digs are still periodically conducted in the Detroit area in search of Hoffa's body, but a common theory among experts is that the body was cremated.
Hoffa's body was rumored to be buried in Giants Stadium. In an episode of the Discovery Channel show MythBusters, "The Hunt for Hoffa," the locations in the stadium in which Hoffa was rumored to be buried were scanned with a ground penetrating radar. That was intended to reveal if any disturbances indicated a human body had been buried there, but no trace of any human remains was found. In addition, no human remains were found when Giants Stadium was demolished in 2010.
In 2012, Roseville, Michigan, police took samples from the ground under a suburban Detroit driveway after a person reported having witnessed the burial of a body there around the time of Hoffa's 1975 disappearance. Tests by Michigan State University anthropologists found no evidence of human remains.
In January 2013, the reputed gangster Tony Zerilli implied that Hoffa was originally buried in a shallow grave, with a plan to move his remains later to a second location. Zerilli said that the plans were abandoned and that Hoffa's remains lay in a field in northern Oakland County, Michigan, not far from the restaurant in which he had been last seen. Zerilli denied any responsibility for or association with Hoffa's disappearance. On June 17, 2013, investigating the Zerilli information, the FBI was led to a property in Oakland Township, in northern Oakland County, which was owned by Detroit mob boss Jack Tocco. After three days, the FBI called off the dig. No human remains were found, and the case remains open.
The location of the murder is also unknown, but any violence in the restaurant parking lot would have easily attracted witnesses. Therefore, the Hoffex Memo suspects Hoffa was lured away to a separate murder location. James Buccellato, a professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northern Arizona University, suggested in 2017 that Hoffa was likely murdered one mile away from the restaurant at the house of Carlo Licata, the son of the mobster Nick Licata.
In discussing potential motives, both the 1976 Hoffex Memo and scholarship prior to its release focus on Mafia opposition to Hoffa's plans to regain the Teamsters' leadership and the threat Hoffa posed to the Mafia's control over the union's pension fund. The Hoffex Memo noted that Provenzano was not senior enough to order a Mafia hit, though it did not rule out the possibility that his or someone else's personal vendetta against Hoffa was a motive. Scott Burnstein, a crime historian and journalist, argued in 2019 that Provenzano's role in the entire case was limited to acting as a lure.
Thomas Andretta, who died in 2019, and his brother Stephen, who reportedly died of cancer in 2000, were named by the FBI as suspects. Both were New Jersey Teamsters and reputed Genovese crime family mob associates. The FBI called Thomas Andretta a "trusted associate of Anthony Provenzano; reported to be involved in the disappearance of Hoffa."
Currently, Jimmy Hoffa is 108 years, 8 months and 12 days old. Jimmy Hoffa will celebrate 109th birthday on a Monday 14th of February 2022.
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