Vinson: The Disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa: "The Down and Dirty Truth" ...?

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DATE: July 30, 1975

LOCATION: Mount Clemens, Michigan; approximately 30 miles north of Detroit

Three men waited inside the nondescript suburban home. Two were armed with .22 automatic pistols with screw-on silencers. A third man, also armed, lurked in the background, in the event "backup" was needed. A maroon 1975 Mercury Marquis Brougham, carrying three other men, pulled into the driveway. The three inside the Mercury exited and walked toward the front door. The three inside the house readied for the moment ... it was going down!


Born February 14, 1913, James Riddle 'Jimmy' Hoffa was the tough labor leader who served as the President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters/IBT Union from 1958 until 1971. Hoffa began colluding with organized crime early on during his tenure as Teamster boss. Some say Hoffa used the mob; others say the mob used Hoffa. Convicted of jury tampering, attempted bribery, and fraud, Hoffa served time at Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary in Pennsylvania, from March 1967 until December 1971. Regarding Hoffa's release from prison in 1971, a precondition imposed by U.S. President Richard Nixon stipulated Hoffa couldn't participate in Union activities until 1980.

This Union restriction on Hoffa suited his mafia cohorts just fine, because they had "their man" as president of the Teamsters: a mob flunky named Frank Fitzsimmons, which meant the mob had direct access to Teamster funds.

However, Jimmy Hoffa, due to ambition and ego, commenced campaigning for the Union presidency, defiantly promoting "throw out the Mob" as his campaign platform. This didn't sit well with major mafia family leaders, such as 'Fat' Tony Salerno, the bull-necked, cigar-chomping, much-feared underboss of the Genovese criminal organization, out of New York City/NYC. The Teamsters Union was the Genovese's "goose that laid the golden eggs." Millions upon millions of Teamster money had built and/or bought lavish casinos; financed multi-million- dollar shipments of heroin to major water ports in NYC; helped corner the lucrative vending machine market, etc. 'Fat' Tony wasn't about to let go of that kind of Teamster money!

Jimmy Hoffa was last seen on the afternoon of July 30, 1975, at the Machus Red Fox Restaurant in Bloomfield Township, an affluent suburb of Detroit. Hoffa reportedly was supposed to meet with mafia/Teamster leaders Anthony Giacalone and Anthony Provenzano at the restaurant and iron out some Teamster-related issues. Neither Giacalone nor Provenzano showed up at the Red

Fox Restaurant that day, and both provided alibis.

Though the theories regarding Hoffa's actual demise range from the absurd to the logical, here's one I find to be remotely plausible. In his 1992 book "Contract Killer," former New York-based career, criminal hitman Donald "Tony the Greek" Frankos (serving a life sentence at the time) gave this account of Jimmy Hoffa's disappearance:


In 1973, 'Fat' Tony Salerno spoke with Frankos about eliminating Hoffa. As of July

1975, Frankos was serving a 2 ½ - 5-year sentence at the notorious Dannemora Prison, located in Clinton County, New York. Frankos' incarceration stemmed from charges of forcible theft with a deadly weapon and, also stabbing to death a Dannemora inmate.

By this time, 1975, 'Fat' Tony supposedly had enlisted two more vicious New York killers for the Hoffa hit: John "Mad Dog" Sullivan and Jimmy Coonan. Like Frankos, Sullivan was a New-York-based freelance hitter who killed for several of the major crime families. Coonan headed the "Westies," a violent Irish gang that controlled the Hell's Kitchen section of New York City.

The problem, however, was Frankos--as mentioned--was incarcerated inside Dannemora Prison. 'Fat' Tony relayed to Frankos his incarceration was the perfect cover, because 'Fat'

Tony had the clout, connection, and money to buy Frankos a "furlough," which would allow him to travel from New York to Michigan and participate in the Hoffa hit. 'Fat' Tony's strategic rationale was: If authorities ever dig too deeply, they'll back off because they will notexpose high-ranking prison officials for selling "furloughs" to notorious killers.

If there's any credence to his story, Tony 'the Greek' Frankos, John 'Mad Dog' Sullivan, and

'Westie' Jimmy Coonan shot and dismembered Teamster legend Jimmy Hoffa at a house in Mount Clemens, Michigan, July 30, 1975. Frankos was covertly returned to Dannemora Prison minus any fanfare.

In closing, I'll say this: The book "Contract Killer," Tony Frankos's narrative of Jimmy Hoffa's disappearance, was co-authored by two well-respected writers: William Hoffman and Lake Headley (both deceased). During his career, Hoffman won several writing awards. Headley was one of the most respected private investigators in the business, to the extent that Attorney/author Vincent Bugliosi, who prosecuted Charles Manson, called Headley "the best P.I. in the world." Hoffman and Headley are said to have "logged over 40,000 miles in verifying what Frankos said was the 'down and dirty truth.'"

Jimmy Hoffa has been called "the most dug after man" in American History. In an attempt to locate his remains, earth and concrete have been dislodged and moved in Michigan, Florida, New York, and many other locales, to no avail.

The "dirty truth"... Maybe, maybe not!

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Mike Vinson
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