Did Detroit Mobster Anthony Zerilli Want to Whack Jimmy Hoffa in the 1960s?

Anthony Zerilli sits near a field in suburban Detroit where he says Hoffa was buried.
By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — Mobster Anthony (“Tony Z”) Zerilli, who was in prison in 1975, has made headlines this week, saying he might have been able to save his friend Jimmy Hoffa had he been on the outside.

But Zerilli failed to mention during a TV interview aired Sunday that in the early 1960s he talked about abducting the Teamster president, according to an FBI summary of wiretaps published in The Detroit News in 1976.

“Tony Z made the remark that he thought they should ‘grab that Jimmy Hoffa,’” the FBI summary says. But mobster Anthony (Tony Jack) Giacalone, now deceased, criticized the plan, saying the Hoffa connection was keeping him out of prison, the FBI report said.

Zerilli, 85, has caused a stir in recent days because he told Marc Santia of NBC 4 New York that he knows what happened to Hoffa and where he’s buried. He said he had nothing to do with the abduction on July 30, 1975, from the Machus Red Fox in Bloomfield Township.

Conversations from FBI wiretaps five decades ago contrast with statements Zerilli made to the TV reporter in which he talked about his affection for Hoffa and how it pained him when he learned of Hoffa’s disappearance.

“If I wasn’t away I don’t think it ever would’ve happened, that’s all I can tell you,” he said during the New York interview. “I would have done anything in the world to protect Jim Hoffa.”

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