The day before he disappeared, legendary labor union boss Jimmy Hoffa had lunch with then Mayor of Detroit Coleman A. Young at the fabled Book Cadillac Hotel. The beloved and blustery former Teamsters union president was in the process of trying to reclaim his throne atop the empire of truckers and cartage-hauling workers he once led much to the dismay of his one-time allies in the mafia and was attempting to rally support from powerful people wherever he could find them, especially in the organized labor hotbed of the Motor City where he lived.

According to exclusive Gangster Report sources, the chat with the mayor was a straight up “quid pro quo” with Hoffa offering to feed cash into the hotel by way of a pension-fund loan and swing union votes his way in return for Young’s backing in his grab for power in the organized labor goliath he helped build years earlier but had lost a grip on due to a federal prison stint.

Hoffa, 62, was kidnapped and killed on the afternoon of July 30, 1975, 42 years ago this week. He was last seen getting into a maroon-colored Mercury Marquis in the parking lot of the Machus Red Fox restaurant and lounge in Bloomfield Township, Michigan and driving away with three unidentified men. His remains have never been found and nobody has ever been charged in his murder.

On July 29, 1975, Hoffa dined with Mayor Young in the Presidential Suite of the Book Cadillac on Washington Boulevard in downtown Detroit, at that point a cherished structure in aesthetic and financial disarray. The iconic pair of historical Motown figures spoke of a possible bailout package for the hotel funded by the Teamsters if Hoffa was re-elected president of the union the following year in return for the diminutive, brash, in-your-face Young’s backing of Hoffa’s bid for the office he had to give up while serving time behind bars in the late 1960s and early 1970s for fraud, bribery and jury tampering, per sources with intimate knowledge of the lunch rendezvous.

Part of that backing, according to these sources, included Young pledging to help Hoffa get the ban on his right to run for the president’s seat removed. As part of the conditions attached to the commutation he was granted from President Richard Nixon, springing him early from his prison sentence in December 1971, Hoffa had agreed not to run for an elected office position until the 1980s.

Coleman A. Young

Young, the first African-American mayor of a major United States city, reigned for 20 years (1974-1994), his tenure at City Hall marked with a string of juicy political and personal controversies and what was perceived by many as a divisive attitude towards the suburbs. His adversaries in the political arena and in federal law enforcement never nailed him though and he died peacefully of natural causes in 1997 at 79, having won a whopping five terms as mayor.

The Book Cadillac Hotel opened its doors in late 1924 at the height of the Prohibition Era and quickly became the premier luxury lodging and social quarters in the city for decades to come. By the time Young and Hoffa met to discuss the Teamsters financing a refurbishing in the summer of ’75, however, the building was virtually falling apart and had shed its glitzy image considerably. They ate veal and poached salmon at their meal in the Presidential Suite, per one source.

With an increasingly diminishing occupancy rate, the Book Cadillac, which had been through a slew of ownership changes since it was built by the Book brothers in the Roaring Twenties, shuttered in 1984, only to be brought back to prominence by the Westin Hotel & Resorts group with a grand re-opening in October 2008. Celebrity chef Michael Symon’s highly-acclaimed Roast steakhouse is currently located in the new Book Cadillac.

During Prohibition, Detroit’s infamously bloody and ruthless Jewish mob, the Purple Gang, headquartered out of the Book Cadillac, with the group’s boss, Abe Burnstein, residing in a penthouse suite on the hotel’s top floor. Burnstein died of a heart attack at the hotel in 1968. He had turned over the remnants of the Purple Gang to his counterparts in the Detroit Italian mafia 30 years earlier and stayed on in an advisory capacity to the shot-callers in the Tocco-Zerilli crime family and one of its liaisons to the east coast mob scene, specifically Meyer Lansky, the lone Jewish representative on the national “Commission” in New York.

Abe Burnstein

Hoffa used numerous ex-Purple Gangers as muscle and labor negotiators in his climb up the ranks of the Teamsters. A lot of the remaining Purples wound up in the mafia’s Giacalone crew, a fearsome bunch of killers, con men, thieves, bookies and shylocks led by the notorious Giacalone brothers, Anthony (Tony Jack) Giacalone and Vito (Billy Jack) Giacalone.

The Giacalone brothers were Hoffa’s direct contact in the Detroit underworld and two of the top suspects in his slaying. They also had connections in Mayor Young’s office, according to sources.

Hoffa was headed to a lunch date with Tony Giacalone the day he went missing and his DNA was later found in Tony Jack’s son’s Mercury Marquis, the vehicle Hoffa was witnessed being kidnapped in from the Red Fox at around 3:30 p.m. on July 30, 1975. Tony Jack died of kidney failure in early 2001. Billy Giacalone, the only member of the Giacalone crew unaccounted for by the FBI the afternoon Hoffa vanished, died of old age in the winter of 2012.

On May 2, 1939, Hall of Fame baseball player Lou Gehrig was staying at the Book Cadillac on a road trip with his New York Yankees to face the Detroit Tigers when he decided to call it quits on his 2,130-game “Ironman Streak.” The streak wouldn’t be snapped until 1995. Gehrig took a meeting with his Yankees manager Joe McCarthy in McCarthy’s room on the 36th floor to inform him of the decision after falling and almost fainting walking down the hotel’s staircase to the lobby for breakfast that morning.

The front of the Book Cadillac circa Prohibition

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