Hey, everyone. Last week was Labor Day in America, or what many call the unofficial end of summer. New York City held the first Labor Day parade and the state of Oregon was the first to make it an official holiday in 1887. In 1894, it became a Federal Holiday.
With the holiday, I decided to hold this month’s Mystery Monday post to this week. And since we just celebrated Labor Day, why not write about the mysterious disappearance of labor leader Jimmy Hoffa?
James Riddle Hoffa was born in Brazil, Indiana on February 14, 1913. He became a union activist at an early age. By the time he was in his mid-twenties, he was a regional figure with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT). Hoffa became the national vice-president in 1952 and then served as general president from 1957-1971.
Hoffa also became involved in organized crime during his work with the Teamsters. In 1964, he was convicted of jury tampering, attempted bribery, and fraud. He went to prison in 1967 to begin a thirteen-year sentence.
In 1971, he resigned as president of the Teamsters as part of a pardon agreement with President Richard Nixon. He was released that year with a stipulation he would not engage in union activities until 1980.
On July 30, 1975, he disappeared in Oakland County, Michigan. Hoffa is presumed dead, but his body has never been found. On July 30, 1982, he was declared legally dead.
The identity of his killers and the location of his body is an ongoing mystery. Police and anthropologists have searched several sites in Detroit and Oakland County but haven’t found any evidence.
A popular theory that surfaced years ago was that Hoffa’s body was buried beneath Giant Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. This has since been debunked.
Richard “The Iceman” Kuklinski was a hitman who claimed to have killed Hoffa and “dumped his body in a scrapyard.” His confession was the subject of a book by Philip Carlo, who visited the confessed killer in prison. Kuklinski died in 2006. After Carlo’s book was released, several police officials cast doubt on the confession in media interviews.
The life of Jimmy Hoffa was depicted in the 1992 movie Hoffa, directed by Danny DeVito, and starring Jack Nicholson in the title role. Over forty-six years have passed since Hoffa’s disappearance. At this stage, it is unlikely that anyone will locate his remains. But who knows? Stranger things have happened.