The Trail of the Mysterious Vanishing of Jimmy Hoffa Leads to One Likely Suspect
The disappearance and murder of the Teamster’s President labor union leader has been object of much speculation ever since he vanished in July of 1975. Many people believe that Jimmy Hoffa was murdered, but the question as to who was responsible for the murder of Hoffa has been an issue for nearly thirty-five years. Throughout Hoffa’s life, he had a number of enemies. However, among these enemies, the man who stands out from the rest as the most likely suspect is Anthony Provenzano.
Jimmy Hoffa dropped out of school in the 9th grade and began working when the stock market crashed. Born a natural leader, at the age of eighteen Jimmy Hoffa and his coworkers organized and negotiated a union contract while working for Kroger Grocery and Baking Company. He quickly advanced his way to the top of the Teamsters union in the 50’s. While being active in the in local organized crime groups and the union, Hoffa was a devoted loving father to his two children. Hoffa made deals and provided the Mafia with money while the Mafia gave him force and strength, this got Hoffa into trouble with the law many times. Hoffa’s intelligence and leadership were a huge part of the Teamster’s success over the years. In 1967 his presidency was taken away from him by being convicted of fraud, and he was sent to prison for a thirteen-year sentence. Hoffa continued trying to regain his power in the union after being release from prison. Many people were not fond of Hoffa for his sly dealings and many were jealous of his success. Several did not want him to be a part of the Teamsters, one of whom was Provenzano.
On the afternoon of July 30, 1975, Jimmy Hoffa drove to the Machus Red Fox restaurant in Detroit, Michigan. Hoffa waited over half an hour and the men he was expecting never showed up. Jimmy’s last documented conversation was with his wife, Josephine, letting her know he was going to wait a bit longer for them to come. After that phone call, Jimmy Hoffa was never heard from again.
Anthony Provenzano was an obvious heartless brutal man. He was found guilty of the murder of Anthony Castellito in 1961. “Tony was known within Teamsters circles as ‘a real bad guy’ and two if the more frequently descriptive words about him were ‘intimidating’ and ‘scary’” (Sloane 365). Considering the fact that Provenzano was a part of the Mafia (a group of organized killers), he being notorious as such a daunting figure is very powerful and key to recognize. If Hoffa ever felt threatened by someone it was Provenzano. On many occasions Provenzano terrorized Hoffa with threats on his family, “Tell Hoffa I’m going to snatch his granddaughter and put her eyes out” (Sloane 364). Anyone who takes threats to the level of killing someone’s family members will have no problem doing the same to that particular person. Most knew Provenzano as a, “High-ranking mobster with close ties to the Teamsters” (Bruno online). Provenzano was clearly a nasty figure to be involved with in general and a danger to Hoffa and his career.
The day after Jimmy’s disappearance, investigators looked into the names of people Hoffa was negatively affiliated with throughout his career and they created a list of possible suspects. “Since that day the FBI and Justice Department have accumulated nearly 70 volumes of evidence, much centering on the rival New Jersey faction that had been headed by Provenzano” (Zacharias 7). The fact that officials have found that many pieces of evidence shows that Provenzano had something to do with the deed. Even though Provenzano was proven to be in a completely different state the day of the murder, he was linked to various high ranked Mafia members, including Anthony Giancolone. Giancolone was one of the men Hoffa planned to meet at the restaurant. Provenzano could have easily set up the attack himself but not actually have been involved with the murder.
Certain people were not supportive of Hoffa regaining his power in the union. Provenzano had told Hoffa at one point, “Get out of union politics or else” (Seize the Night online). Provenzano could have simply ordered his New Jersey group to kill and dispose of Jimmy Hoffa.
The old friendship and long time mob alliance between Hoffa and Provenzano went unpleasant while both were spending time in the Lewisburg prison. Jimmy began spending his sentence in 1967 for attempted bribery and conspiracy and Provenzano was in for racketeering. “Hoffa blamed Provenzano for a much of the federal ‘heat’ that had come down on the Teamsters during the Kennedy reign” (Zacharias 7). The time period Hoffa referred to were the negative days in his career when the Kennedy Administration made charges against him for the fraud, jury tampering, and conspiracy. The two began their feud after Hoffa refused to help Provenzano out financially with protecting a loan he needed to open a restaurant. Hoffa explained to Provenzano, “It’s because of people like you that I got into trouble in the first place” (Sloane 343). Provenzano was obviously offended by Hoffa’s remark and especially angry since Provenzano had looked after Hoffa when he needed it most in the prison. After the hostile confrontations in prison, the two became permanent foes.
After being released from prison, Provenzano and Hoffa did not come in contact. “Investigators said the Giacalone, a local mob enforcer, had tried to convince Hoffa to meet with Tony Provenzano, a New Jersey Teamsters boss” (Sinclair 3). These two men who planned on meeting Hoffa at Machus Red Fox, obviously stood him up on purpose. They were both proven to be in completely different states the day Hoffa went missing. Although men like Provenzano wouldn’t have a problem finding others to do his dirty work.
From the condition of the friendship between Hoffa and Provenzano over the years, it is clear as to why Provenzano would be linked to Hoffa’s murder. The manner in which Hoffa was killed remains a mystery for the reason that no hard evidence was found. The hostility from Provenzano towards his biggest rival led to a murder. The death of Jimmy Hoffa took the life of a hard working revolutionary union leader who was a hero to those who he represented.