In the midst of Jimmy Hoffa’s quest, theories emerge

DETROIT – The FBI’s confirmation last week that it was looking into a site near a New Jersey landfill that could be the burial place of former Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa is the latest development in a search that began when he died. accumulated in 1975.

Several theories have emerged about Hoffa since he was reported missing, although many are tied to the book’s release. From serious to scurrilous, here are some of the best:


Theory: Hoffa was killed on the orders of an alleged New Jersey gangster Anthony “Tony Pro” Provenzano. His body was “grinded to pieces, shipped to Florida, and dumped in a swamp.”

Who set it up: The self-proclaimed mafia killer Charles Allen, who had served in prison with Hoffa and participated in the federal witness protection program, told the story to a US Senate committee in 1982.

Result: The FBI never found enough evidence to support the claim and questions were raised about Allen trying to sell the story for money.


Theory: Perhaps the most infamous was Hoffa buried under Area 107 of Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Who set it up: The best-selling man Donald “Tony the Greek” Frankos described himself in a Playboy magazine interview in 1989.

Result: The FBI found nothing to support the claim and didn’t make it public when the stadium was demolished in 2010.

“When that information came to our attention, we checked it, but in the end we were all convinced that this guy was not trustworthy,” FBI special agent Jim Kossler later said. “We were able to prove to our minds that what he told us couldn’t have happened because he couldn’t be there or he was in jail at the time.”


Theory: Hoffa was kidnapped by a “federal marshal or federal agent”, drove to a nearby airport and dropped off a plane, possibly into one of the Great Lakes that surround Michigan.

Who set it up: Hoffa’s former assistant and right-hand man Joseph Franco in the 1987 book “Hoffa’s Man”.

Result: Apart from Franco’s words, there is nothing to substantiate his claim.

A Chicago Tribune review of the book put it like this: “Former New York Times reporter Richard Hammer, who helped Franco write the book, frankly writes in the introduction that the stories have ‘ truth’. Possibly, but they also allude to something else.”


Theory: Hoffa was killed by one-time ally Frank Sheeran at a house in Detroit. Key parts of the story became the basis for the 2019 film “The Irishman”.

Who set it up: Sheeran.

Result: Bloomfield Township police tore off the floorboards of the house in 2004, but the FBI crime lab concluded that the blood found on it was not Hoffa’s.


Theory: A mob in New Jersey attacked the man Richard “The Iceman” Kuklinski killed Hoffa in Michigan, transported the body to a New Jersey junkyard, sealed it in a 50-gallon drum and burned it. He then dug up the body and put it in the trunk of a car to sell as scrap.

Who set it up: Kuklinski, who argued in his 2006 book, “Iceman: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer,” that he received $40,000 for the murder.

Result: The former director of organized crime investigations for the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice told The Record of Bergen County, New Jersey, that he doubts this claim.

“They took a body from Detroit, where they have one of the largest lakes in the world, and drove it back to New Jersey? Come on,” said Bob Buccino.


Theory: Hoffa was killed and his body was buried under a pool in the Oakland County Town of Hampton.

Who set it up: Richard C. Powell, who used to live on the property and is serving life in prison without the possibility of parole for the 1982 murder in Saginaw County.

Result: Police used a hoof to tear down the pool and dig beneath it in 2003, although no trace of Hoffa was found. At one point, the police brought Powell to the scene handcuffed and shackled. Then-Bay District Prosecutor Joseph K. Sheeran told the Bay City (Michigan) Times that Powell “didn’t have any connection to Hoffa” and that the convict just wanted a little bit of fame.


Theory: Hoffa’s killers buried him beneath the 73-story Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit.

Who set it up: Marvin Elkind, a self-described “private chauffeur and lover for gangsters,” in his 2011 book “The Weasel: A Double Life in the Mob.”

Result: The building, where General Motors is located, stands and the claim has never been taken seriously.


Theory: Hoffa is buried in a makeshift grave beneath the concrete slab of a warehouse in Oakland Township, about 25 miles north of Detroit.

Who set it up: Famed Mafia Captain Tony Zerilli in “Found Hoffa” online. Zerilli was in prison for organized crime when Hoffa disappeared, but he claims he was informed of Hoffa’s whereabouts after his release.

Result: The FBI and police in 2013 spent two days digging at the site where there was no longer a barn, but found nothing.


Theory: Hoffa’s body was moved to a Jersey City landfill in 1975, placed in a steel barrel, and buried about 100 meters away in state property located below an elevated highway.

Who set it up: Journalist Dan Moldea, who has written extensively on the Hoffa story, following an interview with Frank Cappola. Cappola, who died in 2020, said that his father owned the dump and buried the body.

Result: To be determined. The FBI received a search warrant to conduct a site survey, which was completed last month and is analyzing the data. The agency has not said whether it has removed anything from the site.


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