By Allan Lengel
DETROIT — I remember back in 1983 interviewing Jimmy P. Hoffa about his father’s disappearance and asking if it bothered him that comedians like Johnny Carson used his father as a punch line in jokes.
Eight years had passed since his disappearance, but time didn’t seem to soften the blow. Hoffa, who was 42 at the time and a labor attorney, said in no uncertain terms that it did bother him and he didn’t appreciate it one bit. He also wanted to know what really happened. To this day, no one has ever been charged.
Today marks the 40 year anniversary of the disappearance of James Riddle Hoffa, who would now be 102.
Hoffa, who is now the president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, declined to comment on Thursday on the anniversary.
Instead, the union issued a press release that said:
Hoffa was devoted to his union and to his family. He gave his life while fighting to remove corrupt elements from the union and return power to the members.
On this tragic anniversary, Teamster members and retirees from across North America join together in honoring the man who forever improved the lives of millions of workers and their families.
On July 30, 1975, he was supposed to meet two gangsters — Anthony “Tony Pro” Provenzano of New Jersey and Anthony “Tony Jack” Giacalone of the Detroit area — at the Machus Red Fox on Telegraph Road in Bloomfield Township. They didn’t show and he reportedly got into someone’s car in the parking lot and was never seen again.
Theories abound. Over the years, properties have been dug up on the hunch that the body was buried there.
Some gangsters who likely knew what happened are dead including Giacalone and Provenzano. And the Machus Red Fox is gone as well.
WDIV’s Kevin Dietz reports on the anniversary. He goes over some of the theories, reports on the embarrassing FBI digs and talks to Scott Burnstein, a Detroit area reporter who specializes in organized crime.