The real story of the Teamsters boss told through exclusive interviews, news footage, and photographs.
Jimmy Hoffa's disappearance and probable murder is one of the great crimes of the century. Despite a massive Federal investigation spanning 4 decades and hundreds of suspects, only the general contours of the crime are known. In the American mythology Hoffa is both hero and villain; a self-made man who ran the nation's largest union and was so beloved by the rank and file Teamsters he represented that they supported him as union president while he was under indictment and even in prison.
Hoffa also moved in the highest circles of organized crime. Among his closest friends and business partners were members of the national Mafia commission, men he was forced to align with during the violent and chaotic early days of union building when corporations deployed armed goons and police to attack workers in the street, and unions battled each other to control the workforce.
Hoffa's chief nemesis was US attorney general Robert F. Kennedy, and the two men developed a deep hatred for each other. In the long aftermath of President F. John Kennedy's assassination Jimmy Hoffa's name swirled in the aether of conspiracy theories, and his close Mafia associates Carlos Marcello and Santos Trafficante are at the center of the most plausible theories about Kennedy's death.
The two men Hoffa thought he was going to meet on the day of his disappearance have the most ironclad alibis of any suspects in the case. All the FBI's other leads came from informants and unreliable witnesses. In the years after the case the FBI has dug up farms, investigated waste dumps, and debriefed numerous Mafia turncoats that purported to have information on Hoffa's death, but they all turned out to be ephemeral. The only physical evidence is a single piece of Hoffa's hair found in Mafia enforcer Tony Giacalone's son's car.
Frank Sheeran, a Teamster ally and Mafia enforcer, made the claim that he personally killed Hoffa in a house in Detroit and his story became a national best seller. But the veracity of Sheeran's story is undermined by his previous attempts to get a book deal centered around the claim that Richard Nixon had Hoffa killed, and his use of a forged document purportedly signed by Hoffa that validated his story.
"Killing Jimmy Hoffa" covers the life and times of Hoffa and explore all the theories about his disappearance. In analyzing the suspects we will take a tour of America's 20th criminal landscape and see how the Hoffa hit was the final act in the nearly 50 year reign of La Cosa Nostra as a shadow government that wielded chilling power and control over America.
Finally, we will unveil a previously unknown, and the most likely, account of the events of July 30th, 1975, the day James Riddle Hoffa vanished.
Jimmy Hoffa was a Shakespearean character. One of the last of the self-made American men to rise out of the working class, he was born fighting. To seize and maintain the power he so obviously craved Hoffa had to embrace the corruption of the world he inhabited. Corrupt businesses, corrupt politicians, and the very essence of corruption: La Cosa Nostra. He was a Caesar surrounded by many Brutus'. He lived to see his great nemesis, the golden boy Robert F. Kennedy, die before him, but also lost his greatest possession-the Teamsters union itself. In the ultimate insult, whoever killed him got away with it; Hoffa's soul forever un-avenged.
Why do we still think about him? It must be that he reminds us of something about America, he reminds us that it wasn't always so easy, that it wasn't always so slick and clean. We know that he is dead, but the important question is: Who Killed Jimmy Hoffa?
The cast of characters in the saga of Jimmy Hoffa is quite a menagerie. His peers were the most powerful men in America, on both sides of the law. The Kennedy brothers, Mafia strongmen like Detroit's Giacalone brothers and the murderous Carmine Galante, hard-nosed union men, CIA spies, and the captains of American industry. Hoffa was at the center of such a complex web of relationships, plots, and conspiracies that eventually he could no longer manage them and found himself taking a ride that he would never return from.
At the height of his fame, his face was more recognizable than a movie star, he was more loved than Mickey Mantle. Just as the Kennedy's were the Golden Boys of the aspiring classes, of the college students , James Hoffa was the Golden Boy of the all those Americans who worked for a living, even if he was just as flawed as Jack and Bobby.
The Hoffa hit was the last great flexing of Mafia power on a national scale. While the government didn't charge anybody, all the prime suspects received significant prison sentences soon after, unlike in the assassination of JFK, where they got away fairly cleanly. Starting in the late 80's many of the top Mafia chiefs were sent to prison for lengthy terms, and their ability to pull off crimes right in the public eye diminished. What we saw was an end to a period of extreme corruption in the American economic, political, and social systems that began during Prohibition. The era of assassinations, Watergate, etc. Corrupt politicians, corrupt police, corrupt leaders. Hoffa was a man of his times. Hoffa's disappearance was the capstone of 15 years of psychic trauma and shocking events that started with JFK's assassination and continued through the murders of MLK , RFK, and Watergate.