Deceased east coast mobster Vinnie Ravo may have played a role in the disappearance of labor union boss Jimmy Hoffa, according to brand new reporting by best-selling author and world-renowned investigative journalist Dan Moldea, the preeminent authority and expert on the historic Hoffa case. A source of Moldea’s names Ravo as one of those who helped dispose of Hoffa’s body at a New Jersey landfill owned by Genovese crime family soldier Ralph (Brother) Moscato 42 years ago this week (visit Moldea’s website here and read his breakdown of the fresh revelation).

The 62-year old Hoffa vanished from a suburban Detroit restaurant parking lot on the afternoon of July 30, 1975 after locking horns with his former benefactors in the mafia over his desire to reclaim the presidency of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the massive and then heavily mob-infiltrated truckers and cartage workers union, against their wishes. Hoffa had relinquished his post atop the monolithic union years earlier as he served a federal prison sentence for fraud, bribery and jury tampering.

Despite tens of thousands of tips and dozens of high-profile searches, Hoffa’s body has never been unearthed and nobody has ever been arrested in his kidnapping and murder, making it the most infamous and iconic unsolved crime in modern times. He was on his way to a meeting with Detroit mafia street boss Anthony (Tony Jack) Giacalone and New Jersey-stationed Genovese syndicate captain and Teamsters powerbroker Anthony (Tony Pro) Provenzano, who was aligned with Brother Moscato and Vinnie Ravo in the Garden State underworld, the day he disappeared.

Moscato died of natural causes three and a half years ago in the winter of 2014 at 79. Ravo passed away in prison in March 2006 at 71 years old. Moldea’s source in tying Ravo to the Hoffa probe was tight with Moscato and part of his inner circle.

During the 1980s and early 1990s, Ravo could often be seen doing the town in Manhattan, across New Jersey and even in the Caribbean Islands with NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor of the Super Bowl champion New York Giants. Ravo owned a series of strip clubs (The Bench being the most popular) in New Jersey frequented by local professional athletes, most notably Taylor and his Giants teammates. Retired Giants linebacker Brian Kelley testified in front of a New Jersey State Commission on Organized Crime in 1992 that he was being shaken down by Ravo for $500 a week following Ravo arranging a sale of a bar business for him. Ravo also allegedly helped Taylor get started in the bar and restaurant trade.

Ravo’s rap sheet included arrests for murder, attempted murder, drug dealing, illegal firearm possession, kidnapping and burglary. Court and FBI records connect Ravo to Brother Moscato and New Jersey Genovese capos John (Johnny D) DiGilio and Angelo (The Horn) Prisco. DiGilio was killed in the spring of 1988. Prisco just passed away this summer.

Known as one of the Tri-State area’s most notorious loan sharks, Moscato owned Gateway Transportation, a large trucking company, and a number of construction firms and garbage dumps and toxic-waste landfills as his legitimate businesses. Moscato’s landfill located under the Pulaski Skyway Expressway in Jersey City, New Jersey was searched by the FBI for Hoffa’s remains in the 1970s to no avail.

Ralph (Brother) Moscato

Moldea interviewed Moscato before his death and on the 40th anniversary of Hoffa going missing two years ago in July 2015 penned a bombshell guest piece for the legendary Gangland News column out of New York. In it, he shared a tape-recorded conversation with Moscato in which the retired Genovese button man appeared to admit he and another New Jersey-based Genovese Goodfella, Salvatore (Sally Bugs) Briguglio disposed of Hoffa’s corpse at Moscato’s Pulaski Skyway toxic-waste dump.

Per FBI records, Moscato and Briguglio were suspected of murdering fellow mobster Armand (Cookie) Faugno, a partner of theirs in the shylocking business, and getting rid of his body at the Pulaski dump too. Faugno disappeared in 1972.

Briguglio, slain gangland style himself in 1978, was Tony Provenzano’s right-hand man and has been a suspect in the Hoffa case since Day 1. Provenzano’s driver, Ralph (Little Ralphie) Picardo, became an FBI informant and pointed investigators to Moscato’s landfill as to where they could find Hoffa’s body. There was speculation by informants that the reason Hoffa’s remains were not found in the search of the property was because the Provenzano crew got wind of Picardo’s betrayal and moved the evidence in lieu of the pending dig.

Salvatore (Sally Bugs) Briguglio in 1975

Picardo told the FBI that he was filled in on the details of the Hoffa hit by one its alleged participants, Provenzano crew member, Tommy Andretta, who according to Picardo, admitted him, his brother Stevie Andretta and Briguglio kidnapped and killed Hoffa in a private residence just outside Detroit, stuffed his dead body in a 55-gallon drum and shipped it to Moscato’s New Jersey trash dump for burial in a Gateway Transportation truck. Andretta, 80, is no longer active in mob affairs and lives in Las Vegas.

Provenzano kicked the bucket behind bars in December 1988, locked away on an unrelated racketeering and murder conviction. He was in a fierce feud with Hoffa, a former close friend, at the time Hoffa was done away with. Tony Giacalone, the mob’s official liaison to Hoffa dating back to the 1950s and related to Provenzano through marriage, arranged for a purported sitdown to bury the hatchet between the pair that in fact was a ruse to get Hoffa out into the open so he could be kidnapped from the popular Machus Red Fox restaurant in ritzy Bloomfield Twp., Michigan and executed at a nearby home.

Both Tony Jack and Tony Pro had airtight alibis for the afternoon Hoffa got clipped. Giacalone was at his Southfield Athletic Club headquarters five miles north of the Red Fox holding court and Tony Pro was at his Teamsters Local 560 union hall office in Union City, New Jersey doing the same. However, per more trailblazing research by Moldea via an interview he conducted from 2009 with former underworld figure Don Wells, Provenzano was in Detroit the night before Hoffa got bumped off, on July 29, 1975, dining at Carl’s Chop House, a favorite local mob haunt of the day and Giacalone crew dining staple.

Wells was good friends with feared Teamsters enforcer extraordinaire Rolland (Big Mac) McMaster and in 2006 traded a tip that Hoffa had been buried on McMaster’s once-owned Hidden Dreams Ranch in Commerce Twp., Michigan, for a proverbial get-out-of-jail-free card from a narcotics-trafficking bust. McMaster was a Hoffa ally-turned-enemy, heading the so-called “Goon Squad” enlisted in the early-to-mid 1970s to prevent a Hoffa bid for president of the Teamsters at all costs. He died at 93 in 2007. The dig at McMaster’s former property a year prior proved fruitless. McMaster’s brother-in-law Stanton Barr ran the lucrative steel hauling division of Brother Moscato’s Gateway Transportation.

Tony Giacalone succumbed to liver failure in 2001 awaiting trial for racketeering. He had done seven years in federal prison (1979-1986) for extortion and tax evasion in the direct aftermath of the Hoffa murder. His younger brother, Vito (Billy Jack) Giacalone, rose to be the Detroit mob’s underboss, and is believed by investigators and most experts to have acted as his big bro’s representative on the Hoffa hit.

Billy Giacalone leaving court in 1996

Unlike his big bro, Billy Giacalone had no alibi for the day Hoffa went missing and was unaccounted for by his normal FBI surveillance unit. Billy Jack died of dementia in 2012. The Giacalone brothers were suspects in dozens of mob slayings in their half-century as the face of the mafia in the Motor City on the street and their collective muscle aided the Detroit-based Hoffa tremendously in his ascent up the ranks of the union. Hoffa’s capturing the Teamsters presidency in 1957 coincided with Tony Jack’s promotion to street boss and day-to-day overseer of the Tocco-Zerilli crime family.

Dan Moldea is considered the seminal researcher on the Hoffa case. He published The Hoffa Wars, the undisputed bible on the topic, in 1978. Besides writing about Hoffa, Moldea has released seven other investigative classic, ranging in topics from pro football and the mob, O.J. Simpson, Ronald Reagan, Robert Kennedy and the Clintons.

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