April 20, 2021 – Intense rumor, speculation and interest regarding arguably the most infamous unsolved murder in American history still persists today almost a half-century after Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa breathed his final breath. The case is stepped in pop-culture mythology and appears to be possibly on the verge of being broken wide open.
A mad scramble of digs for his bones lies on the horizon. The summer of 2021 could become the Summer of Hoffa and Captain Ahab may finally bag his White Whale.
“Solving the Hoffa case is the holy grail for the Department of Justice, they’ll go to any lengths to put it to bed,” said one source being briefed on the status of the case investigation on a regular basis.
The 2019 Netflix film The Irishman directed by the legendary cinematic auteur Martin Scorsese and starring Hollywood gangster-movie luminaries Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci brought the historic crime back into the consciousness of pop culture. Pacino was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of Hoffa, the firebrand labor leader from Detroit who tried to take on the mafia for control of his beloved Teamsters union and lost.
Hoffa, 62, disappeared on his way to a meeting with mobsters at a Bloomfield Township, Michigan restaurant on the afternoon of July 30, 1975. Witnesses saw him get into a new-model Mercury Marquis sedan in the restaurant’s parking lot and drive away.
He was never seen again. His body has never been found.
It’s definitely not for lack of searching or expenditure of resources. People familiar with the ongoing FBI investigation into the case place the price tag at well over $100,000,000 in 46 years of tracking down leads. And the tab continues to run. Tips about the whereabouts of Hoffa’s remains and digs in search of his body have consistently made headlines around the globe for decades, satiating a never-waning wave of public interest in the case.
“I’m not surprised it still sells papers, tickets, clicks what have you, it’s human nature to be fascinated by a murder mystery and this is the ultimate murder mystery,” said retired reporter Jerry Stanecki, once an institution in his own right in the Detroit media, of the undying intrigue surrounding the Hoffa case. “Especially in today’s climate, with the movie still fresh in everybody’s minds and being at a point in time when true-crime is the hottest thing since sliced bread on television. So, naturally the Hoffa case hits the sweet spot in the interest department from a lot of different angles.”
Stanecki conducted the last interview Hoffa ever did the week before he died in July 1975. That December, the interview appeared in Playboy Magazine.
In this current Golden Age of true-crime content, the ante is being raised even higher. According to sources in law enforcement and the entertainment industry, there are three potential digs being planned for this summer, each connected in one way or another to a television or documentary-film project and being backed by law enforcement agencies working the case in real-time.
The feds remain relentless in their efforts to see the investigation to the end.
“I worked the case for 30 years and it was like every guy you bring in to question about anything, it could be a burglary, it could be a murder, it could be a jaywalking violation, the first thing we’d ask him is what did he know about where Hoffa was,” said retired FBI agent Mike Carone from the Detroit office. “That’s always been the ultimate get-out-of-jail free card and it still is today.”
Gateway to the great unknown
The most promising new break in the case comes from acclaimed author and award-winning investigative reporter Dan Moldea, who believes after four and a half decades of tirelessly working to crack the code on the Hoffa mystery, that he has finally pinpointed exactly where Hoffa was laid to rest. Moldea’s journey for the truth, in his mind, has ended in New Jersey, some 650 miles away from where he was last seen alive. Moldea, 70, is as resolute in his convictions that he’s struck gold in his search for the body and that Hoffa’s remains are underneath the Pulaski Skyway. He’s already confirmed half of the tip that led him to the one-time site of a notoriously mobbed trash dump in Jersey City, New Jersey with a ground penetrating radar readout.
At Moldea’s invitation, Fox News Channel’s streaming service Fox Nation has chronicled his Garden State vision quest for its true-crime investigative series, Riddle – The Search for James Riddle Hoffa, hosted by Eric Shawn. In Part 4 of the series, which dropped in January, Moldea took Fox Nation cameras to the site he says Hoffa is buried at. A series of steel-drum markers just under the surface of the earth at what would have been the northeast corner of the PJP Landfill were detected by Fox Nation’s radar equipment. Moldea’s source told him several steel drums were placed on top of Hoffa’s grave as an indicator of the burial site.
Moldea is considered the world’s leading authority on the Hoffa kidnapping and murder. His work on the case began from Ground Zero in Detroit in the summer of 1975. He went on to publis the seminal book on the labor-union power struggle that resulted in Hoffa’s downfall and death in 1978’s The Hoffa Wars: Rebels, Politicians and the Mob.
“I am Ahab and this is my White Whale,” said Moldea analogizing his quest for Hoffa’s body with the seaman character in the literary classic Moby Dick. “Through the years, I’ve seen promising leads fail to materialize, but I feel this is different. Everything lines up here. The overwhelming detail provided puts it over the edge. I’m putting all of my poker chips into the middle of the table on this one.”
Moldea was initially pointed to the general location of the body, now inside a New Jersey state park and nature preserve, by Genovese crime family soldier Philip (Brother) Moscato. Moldea developed Moscato as a source late in his life and interviewed him multiple times before he died of cancer in 2014.
Moscato had been a top lieutenant in the New Jersey mob crew of Anthony (Tony Pro) Provenzano, a Teamsters power broker and friend turned bitter rival of Hoffa’s, and once owned the PJP Landfill. The FBI’s New Jersey office considered Moscato’s the biggest loan shark in Bergen County at the time. Him and Tony Pro were both considered prime suspects in the Hoffa case from Day 1. The volatile Provenzano ran the New Jersey wing of New York’s Genovese crime family in the 1960s and 1970s. He was the most powerful Teamster on the east coast, put into his position in Jersey’s Local 250 by none other than Jimmy Hoffa himself, who he was engaged in a heated feud with regarding Teamster insurance benefits, in the years preceding his disappearance.
Hoffa was no stranger to the hoodlum element.
“Jimmy was one half politician, one half mob guy, that’s why he did so well in that world, the Teamsters are a tough crowd and he had those big, rough truck drivers eating out of the palm of his hand,” said one former Teamster executive and personal friend of Hoffa’s Midas touch in the union. “The man was tiny, but man was he ferocious. His force of will alone made him respect you. The mobsters liked that at first. Then, it became a liability.”
Hoffa rode his ties in Midwest organized crime circles to the presidency of the Teamster union in 1957. The Detroit mafia had cultivated him as an asset dating back 20 years prior to him ascending to the Teamsters throne. In a relatively short matter of time, he built the truckers and cartage workers union into the biggest labor union in the world and he personally became one of the most recognizable people on the planet.
His press clippings got him attention from the FBI and he was busted for bribery, fraud and jury tampering in a case out of Nashville. He was sent to prison in 1967, where he had his nuclear fallout with Provenzano at Lewisburg Correctional Institute in Pennsylvania. Hoff was let out of prison in December 1971, nearly ten years early, via a commutation from the Nixon White House which barred him from running for office again.
Moldea was the first to report that Hoffa was an FBI informant at the time of his death. According to three separate sources familiar with Hoffa’s cooperation, Hoffa had traded a series of grand jury appearances in exchange for the feds getting the ban on his candidacy lifted. Hoffa was confident he’d be able to run for president in 1976 and began brazenly threatening the mob leaders opposing his return to office.
Hoffa believed he was on his way to a mafia-style sit-down with Provenzano in Metropolitan Detroit to smooth over their differences and clear the way for his to return to the Teamsters presidency when he vanished. Hoffa’s datebook showed a lunch meeting at the Machus Red Fox Restaurant with Provenzano, Detroit mob chief Anthony (Tony Jack) Giacalone and Giacalone’s main labor consultant Leonard (Little Lenny) Schultz, a well-known Jewish mob associate linked to the city’s Prohibition-era Purple Gang. Schultz, always dapper and on-the-make, was the go-between for Giacalone and Hoffa.
The Red Fox was a fine-dining establishment in swanky Bloomfield Township, an affluent suburb seven miles north of the Detroit city limits. Giacalone and Provenzano were related by marriage and Hoffa was told Provenzano had come into town for a wedding taking place later that week.
But when Hoffa showed up at the Red Fox that July afternoon in 1975, Giacalone, Provenzano and Schultz were nowhere to be found. Giacalone and Schultz were up the road at Giacalone’s headquarters, the Schultz family-owned Southfield Athletic Club, all day with airtight alibis. Provenzano was playing cards at his union hall in New Jersey.
Instead, Hoffa ended up being whisked away in a shiny, brand-new, maroon-colored Mercury Marquis owned by Tony Jack’s son, Joey, with three unidentified individuals inside. The car, seized by investigators in the weeks after Hoffa went missing, is the only piece of physical evidence ever recovered in the case. Hoffa’s DNA was discovered in the car’s backseat and trunk.
Investigators don’t believe Giacalone’s son was involved in the conspiracy to kidnap and murder Hoffa, however, they do think his little brother and fellow Detroit mob capo, Vito (Billy Jack) Giacalone, was. Moldea agrees. Billy Jack was unaccounted for on the afternoon of July 30, 1975 by his normal FBI and Michigan State Police surveillance units, having shook his tails that morning in rush-hour traffic.
Brother Moscato admitted to Moldea in 2013 that Billy Giacalone was part of the hit crew and that they killed Hoffa at a private residence near the Red Fox. According to Moscato, Billy Jack was driving the car that kidnapped Hoffa and Tony Pro’s main enforcer, Salvatore (Sally Bugs) Briguglio, was the triggerman in the hit. He told Moldea that Hoffa’s body was stuffed into a 55-gallon drum and shipped to the PJP Landfill, for burial in a Gateway Transportation truck, on Tony Pro’s orders.
Notorious Teamsters leg-breaker Rolland (Big Mac) McMaster, another friend-turned-rival of Hoffa’s, had an ownership interest in Gateway Transportation. The majority shareholder in the business was McMaster’s brother-in-law. The PJP landfill was originally searched by the FBI in 1976 on a tip from Provenzano’s incarcerated driver, but nothing was uncovered.
McMaster’s farm in suburban Detroit, known as the Hidden Dreams Ranch, was searched for a week by federal authorities in 2006 after receiving a tip from an imprisoned drug dealer who was visiting the ranch the night Hoffa vanished and saw suspicious activity on the property. Nothing was unearthed in that dig either.
Moldea believes McMaster’s property was used as a drop-off point by the killers to hand the body over to the disposal team. Moldea suspects Hoffa’s was driven by Billy Giacalone from the Red Fox parking lot to Little Lenny Schultz’s house nearby and murdered there. The body was then transported to the Hidden Dream Ranch to be put onto the Gateway Transportation truck for delivery to Tony Pro’s crew in New Jersey, according to Moldea’s scenario.
Is Little Lenny the missing link?
Rolland McMaster and Lenny Schultz were connected through their mutual work in the Southeastern Michigan organized labor world and association with known organized crime figures in the area. Once Hoffa’s main muscle on the frontlines of the labor movement, McMaster had sided with the mob in its war against his former boss and in the months preceding Hoffa’s disappearance, he spearheaded a campaign of intimidation on behalf of the mafia targeting Hoffa. The intention of the thug tactics being employed by McMaster and his goon posse – beatings, bombing, threats of further violence, etc. – was to force Hoffa out of the 1976 Teamsters election.
“The Giacalone brothers trusted Lenny more than they did most,” retired FBI agent Greg Stejskal said. “Lenny was their eyes and ears in the Teamsters, he had all the gossip. They would use him to shake people down. Lenny would serve up businessmen to them to extort, guys that wanted to hang around the mob.”
Informants told the FBI that the Giacalone brothers had used Schultz’s residence in Franklin Village, Michigan as a kill spot the year before when they decided to get rid of local businessman, Harvey Leach, who’s business, the trendy Joshua Doore furniture store chain, they were in the process of staging a hostile takeover of. Leach went to a meeting with Schultz and the Giacalones at Schultz’s house (a five-minute drive west of the Red Fox) on March 16, 1974 and was discovered gruesomely murdered (shot, mutilated, throat slit,) the next morning inside the trunk of his car in a nearby office building parking lot.
There was the belief by some that Leach had upset Billy Giacalone by romancing one of Billy Jack’s girlfriends while Giacalone was away serving a state prison sentence. Billy Jack had just recently walked from state custody and returned to Detroit that January. The Giacalones and Schultz were observed by FBI surveillance units visiting Hoffa at his cottage in Lake Orion in the days prior to him turning up missing.
Schultz died of natural causes in Florida in 2013 at age 96. One of Schultz’s former drivers came forward last year (without wanting his name divulged) and admitted Schultz confessed to him that Hoffa was murdered in his kitchen and then his body given off to Rolland McMaster for disposal. McMaster died in 2007.
Moldea interviewed Schultz at his home in Franklin Village in the days after Hoffa disappeared.
“I was sitting right there at Lenny Schultz’s house, probably no more than 10-20 feet from where Hoffa was most likely killed in the days before and I had no idea,” Moldea recounts. “Lenny Schultz has always been the missing link. This was a huge break in the case and connects Schultz to McMasters on the day Hoffa was kidnapped and murdered.”
In the name of the father
Moldea could not confirm or deny the Little Lenny Schultz lead with his original source on McMaster’s direct involvement in the disposal of Hoffa’s body because Brother Moscato was dead. Furthermore, although Moscato informed Moldea where Hoffa was taken to be buried and how he gotthere, he had never pointed him to the exact burial spot on the former PJP Landfill property.
Enter Frank Cappola.
Brother Moscato’s partner in the PJP Landfill was a New Jersey gambler and mob associate, named Paul Cappola. On the heels of Moldea writing about his PJP Landfill tip in 2015 (coinciding with the 40th anniversary of Hoffa’s disappearance), roughly a year after Moscato had passed away, he was approached by Cappola’s son, Frank, who told him he knew precisely where Hoffa’s body was laid to rest at what was once the PJP Landfill site. His dad revealed the details to him before he died of cancer in 2008. In fact, he said, he was present when the body was delivered to the property in the summer of 1975 and it was his father who was personally tasked with burying it.
In October 2019, Cappola took Moldea to the piece of land he claimed Hoffa was buried beneath. The land, Cappola said, was “marked.” Moldea captured the moment on his iPhone. Fox Nation used ground penetrating radar to confirm a series of steel drums Cappola said would be resting on top of the steel drum containing Hoffa’s body.
Cappola was a convicted felon and one-time Genovese crime family mob associate tied to the old Tony Pro crew through Brother Moscato. When he met with Moldea, he was on his last legs health-wise, his lungs on the verge of giving out. Two months later, he did an on-camera interview with Eric Shawn for the Fox Nation investigative series on Hoffa that Moldea was allowing to chronicle his work. Before he died of a respiratory ailment in March 2020, Cappola executed and signed a sworn-affidavit laying out the particulars of what he knew related to the Hoffa case.
The affidavit stated the following:
* Cappola was working a summer job at PJP and on or around the afternoon of July 31, 1975 and witnessed Brother Moscato and his father have a meeting on the property with a group of unidentified men in a limo who had accompanied the Gateway Transportation truck carrying Hoffa’s body to the dump.
*According to what he was told by his father, Brother Moscato instructed his dad to bury the body at a pre-excavated spot in the northeast part of the landfill.
*Without Moscato’s knowledge, Paul Cappola dug a second hole in case anyone had seen the pre-dug hole in the ground and had gotten suspicious (Cappola was worried about the pre-dug hole having already being surveilled by law enforcement).
*Hoffa’s body was placed headfirst into another 55-gallon industrial steel drum and dropped into the second hole by Paul Cappola using a front-loader machine.
*Before filling in the hole, Cappola used the front loader to place 15 to 20 chemical drums on top of the steel drum containing Hoffa and left metal markers on the surface of the grave site.
Brother Moscato’s son, Phillip Moscato, Jr., also engaged in conversations with Moldea about what he knew regarding the whereabouts of Hoffa’s remains. Like Cappola, Moscato, Jr. claimed his dad gave him the specifics on the Hoffa burial, too. Unlike Cappola, Moscato, Jr. refused to take Moldea to where he believed the body was buried. He has also long refused to undergo a polygraph exam.
His information on where Hoffa’s body finally ended up doesn’t comport with Cappola’s version of events. The stories start out in similar fashion, but finish at two completely different locations.
Moscato, Jr. did an on-camera interview with the Fox Nation and suggested to Eric Shawn the body was removed from its original burial site at PJP Landfill and taken to its final resting place near a riverbed in Carlstadt, New Jersey. Continuing to play coy, he wouldn’t show Shawn or the Fox Nation cameras the exact spot where the body was.
In the last year, Moscato, Jr., is alleged to have signed a deal with a prolific Hollywood production house to tell his story and go find Hoffa’s remains with a camera crew in tow. The producers of the show have been in contact with law enforcement in New Jersey and Michigan regarding organizing a dig. Moldea and the producers at Fox Nation have been working their own angles with law enforcement, both on the state and federal level, to arrange for their own dig.
Sources in the Detroit law enforcement community claim federal crime busters in the Motor City are planning on conducting up to three digs and/or searches this summer, running down the two PJP Landfill-related leads and a third, more quietly-kept theory that involves a trip across the Canadian border. Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Ontario, Canada, a stone’s throw from downtown Detroit, believe that Hoffa might have been buried in a park that is less than a half-hour’s drive from the tunnel and bridge that separates the two countries, according to sources familiar with the discussions between the Detroit FBI and the RCMP.
Crossing the border
(with a body, a bad cop & the Butterfly)
The tip that is causing a stir in certain circles of Canadian law enforcement comes from an accomplished documentarian who has teamed brought with a retired Detroit newsman for a future docu-series about the search for Hoffa’s body. Sources familiar with the project claim the theory being explored implicates a dirty lawman in Michigan helping Detroit mobster Anthony (Tony Pal) Palazzolo bury Hoffa’s body in Canada. Both the bad cop and Tony Pal have died in recent years.
Ground penetrating radar has confirmed a “disturbing of the earth” at the site in Ontario the retired investigative reporter pointed the documentarian to. The veteran reporter was given the tip by the corrupt cop’s daughter, per sources. The cop had confessed on his death bed, the sources claim, and provided his daughter the location of Hoffa’s body written on the back of a matchbook in his final hours.
At some point in the past decade, the FBI has reached the conclusion that Palazzolo was the triggerman in the Hoffa hit, per sources familiar with the investigation. “Tony Pal,” a colorful and capable Detroit mob figure sometimes called “The Butterfly,” for his elusive nature, died of stomach cancer in the winter of 2019 at age 76. At the time of his death, the FBI and federal prosecutors on the still-active Hoffa task force were circling him as a target, hoping to finally be able to bring charges in the case.
“We called him the Butterfly for a reason, Tony Pal was always really difficult to pin down,” retired FBI agent Greg Stejskal said. “It doesn’t surprise me that the Grim Reaper got him before we did.”
Palazzolo was the reputed consigliere of the Detroit mob when he passed two years ago. He had used his role in the Hoffa murder, per FBI informants, to catapult himself up the ladder of organized crime, going from a mere soldier or “button man,” when he did the deed, to a crew boss in the 1980s, a caporegime assignment in the 1990s and finally a promotion to a mob administration post in the 2010s.
“(Tony) Pal was a mob historian, he felt proud of his place in the history books, even if nobody really knew it outside the Detroit Outfit (mob),” remarked one former member of Palazzolo’s inner circle. “The people who needed to know knew and that’s all that mattered. He got respect wherever he went.”
One of Tony Pal’s rewards for his participation in the Hoffa hit was control of the Detroit’s mafia’s operations in Canada, per federal records. He was busted in 1993 for laundering Canadian mobsters drug proceeds in a joint investigation hatched by the FBI and RCMP. During the investigation, Palazzolo was caught on a wire at his Detroit Sausage Company headquarters bragging of being part of the Hoffa hit. The wire intercepted a conversation where Tony Pal was heard telling an Ontario mafia figure he put Hoffa through his meat auger.
Former U.S. Attorney Richard Convertino was the first person to push hard behind the scenes in the investigation to recognize Palazzolo as a central figure in the Hoffa conspiracy and have Palazzolo tabbed a “person of interest” in the case, according to sources in the Hoffa task force back when he was arrested. Convertino prosecuted Palazzolo in the money laundering case that got him three years in prison. Tony Pal got out of prison in 1997 and never returned.
“I believed it when I heard him say it on the wire back in 1992,” Convertino said. “I knew the man was a killer and opportunistic in the way he did business. He knew all the angles to play. Being involved in something like that would validate him for life, put him on the fast track. That’s what it did.”
Adding to the FBI’s confidence in the Tony Pal as triggerman in the Hoffa hit was the fact that a former high-ranking member of the Detroit mob told agents in his 2012 debriefing that Palazzolo was the man who killed and buried Hoffa. The FBI searched Palazzolo-owned property in Detroit’s Downriver area back in the early stages of the investigation, but didn’t find anything. Downriver was Palazzolo’s territory.
Palazzolo was known to work with the Giacalone brothers and following his role in the Hoffa hit, per FBI records, the Detroit mob hierarchy trusted him enough to use him as a “representario,” sending him to deliver messages to other mafia crime families across the country on behalf of the Motor City dons. The Giacalones were the ones passing on the assignment destinations and specific messages to be ferried around the nation by Palazzolo, according to court documents. Billy Giacalone had previously held the position and groomed Tony Pal to take over the job, informants told investigators.
Retired U.S. Attorney Keith Corbett, an epic mob buster in the annals of the judicial system in Detroit, doesn’t dismiss Palazzolo’s involvement in Hoffa’s kidnapping and murder, but finds it difficult to believe the body would be disposed of in another country.
“Taking a body across an international border, especially the body of such a high-profile person as Jimmy Hoffa was, just doesn’t make a lot of sense,” he said. “The Detroit Mafia is the smartest crime family there is. They’ve always been viewed by the government as the Harvard or Princeton of organized crime. The bosses had college business degrees here. These men were very intelligent gangsters. Taking the body outside of Detroit wouldn’t have been a very smart thing do and that’s why I don’t think they would have handled it that way. This thing was meticulously planned and orchestrated. Leaving Detroit would have been too risky. Even a cop driving the body into Canada has a ton of risk factors to consider.”
Detroit vs. New Jersey
The belief that Hoffa’s body ultimately left the Detroit area doesn’t sit well with a group of more than a half-dozen retired FBI agents and U.S. Attorneys who were all members of the Hoffa case task force and contacted for this story. They don’t buy the theories behind any of the possible upcoming digs. To categorize them as skeptical, may be an understatement.
“Too much moving around in these new theories floating out there right now,” retired FBI agent Mike Carone. “The more movement, the longer the body is above ground or is still in one piece, the more chance you have to get caught with your pants down. This was a Detroit thing from start to finish. That’s not how those guys operate. The New Jersey stuff was just window dressing.”
One common link between the Moldea-Cappola and Moscato, Jr. theories is the thought that Tony Provenzano wanted Hoffa’s body brought to New Jersey after he was killed as a sort of big game-trophy, a head for his wall, so to speak.
“You hear about Tony Pro wanting Hoffa’s body as a trophy and I’m like if you know anything about the Detroit mob and those bosses back then, if that idea was presented to them, they would have laughed him out of the room,” Corbett said. “The trophy was that he was dead and out of the way. The Teamsters was still theirs. These men were strictly business. That’s why they died rich and powerful and as free men in their own beds and Tony Pro died in prison serving life. Don’t believe the movies, don’t believe Martin Scorsese, Tony Pro wasn’t calling any shots in this. Hoffa belonged to Detroit. This was a Detroit Outfit job. They ran this city for 100 years and they’re just going to let another family come in here and fix their problem? Come, on. No body. No perp. No face. No case. This has the Detroit mob’s handprints all over it. This was not a New Jersey or New York-style hit. Provenzano and his boys were peripheral players at best.”
Regional bias issues in this case, or at least the perception of it, isn’t lost on Moldea. The author has Midwest roots, but has lived in Washington D.C. for most of his adult life. He recognizes the stark delineation in how people view the Hoffa murder mystery depending on what part of the country they are from.
“Trying to find consensus on certain specifics of the case that we might never know, has become territorial……it really comes down to competing narratives, Detroit vs. New Jersey,” Moldea acknowledges. “And the two narratives definitely dovetail at certain points. I myself once subscribed to the Detroit narrative, so I obviously see it has merit. The Detroit angle also makes sense, especially if you’re coming from a place of knowing how that crime family did business from a first-hand perspective. But I trust my source. Brother Moscato. He said in no uncertain terms the body is at the old PJP dump site. I’ve got a lot riding on the line for this and frankly, I think the current higher-ups in the FBI and the US Attorneys Office, the DOJ in D.C., they should be throwing a party for all of this. They should be cheering this on. I’m vindicating all of their hard work on the case.”
Corbett, responsible for prosecuting all of the major players in the Hoffa conspiracy on the Detroit side of things for other federal offenses, believes the pair of new New Jersey leads in the case are just two more in a long line of fake stories intentionally put out into the rumor mill by the perpetrators themselves.
“The Giacalone brothers, the other bosses in Detroit, they launched a massive disinformation campaign in the years after Hoffa went missing,” he said. “They filled the air with all these phony tales. The lies grew bigger. Lies were built on top of lies. Before you know it, fiction is becoming viewed as fact. The idea was to muddy the water as much as possible. And objectively speaking, you’d have to say they did a damn good job.”
There are have been four fruitless searches staged in pursuit of Hoffa’s remains in the past decade. The most recent search occurred in 2019 and was conducted by the Michigan State Police on a piece of private property near the Ohio border. The property was once owned by a powerful Detroit mob figure.
Today, almost everybody even possibly involved in the Hoffa murder conspiracy is dead. Two of Tony Provenzano’s men, Gabe Briguglio and Stevie Andretta, -both long implicated as being part of the clean-up crew for the hit –, remain alive. Neither would comment for this story.
Briguglio’s brother, Sally Bugs, who Moldea points to as the triggerman in Hoffa’s murder, was slain gangland style on the front steps of a Manhattan social club in 1978. Moldea was the last person to interview Brigulio before he was shot dead.
Tony Provenzano died of a heart attack in 1988 while serving a life prison sentence for ordering another Teamster union-related slaying. For that hit, he is alleged to have used Sally Bugs as the hit man. Briguglio was killed before he reached trial.
Tony Giacalone died of liver cancer in 2001. Billy Giacalone lasted until 2012, rising to the role of Detroit mob underboss in his latter years. The FBI placed a listening device in Billy Jack’s nursing home residence hoping to catch a Hoffa-case nugget or two in his dementia-ravished ramblings in the final months of his life, according to sources with knowledge of the wire-tapping operation
Carone, responsible for tracking Detroit’s Giacalone brothers for the better part of his three-decade tenure as a G Man, doesn’t’ believe the case will ever be solved.
“This case is one of kind, it never ends……the people who pulled it off are from the old school,” he said. “Nobody who really knows anything is ever going to talk. If someone’s talking, odds are they have no idea what went down. The mythology that’s built around this case is so big it takes up all the energy in the room. The Giacalones, the guys above them, they took this to the grave with them. I don’t think they’ll ever find his remains. And who’s left to arrest? It was the perfect crime.”