Sunday, March 01, 2009
My Town Monday: Detroit-Jimmy Hoffa
Jimmy Hoffa reading.
I only had dinner at the Machus Red Fox restaurant once. In was the early seventies, my parents were visiting from Philly, and it seemed like the kind of place they'd like. Dark walls, a clubby feel. In those days, every restaurant in town served baked potatoes in foil and iceberg lettuce with your steak. Or your piece of frozen fish. Nobody bothered much with vegetables and dessert was almost always cheesecake. The Red Fox didn't disappoint.
A few months later, Jimmy Hoffa disappeared from the same Red Fox. You all know Hoffa's story-teamster leader, jail time, ties to the mob, a target of Bobby Kennedy in the early sixties, a thug.
This is his last story.
On July 30, 1975, Hoffa went to the Red Fox restaurant outside of Detroit, allegedly to meet three men: a Detroit labor leader, a local mobster and a powerful figure from New Jersey. Hoffa arrived around 2:00 pm and waited for half an hour. None of the other men showed up. He called his wife, telling her he'd wait a little longer. At 2:45 Hoffa was seen getting into a car in the parking lot. Several other men were in the car. That was the last time Hoffa was seen--dead or alive. Hoffa was eventually declared legally dead. Theories on his death include
...His body was put in a 55 gallon steel drum and carted to toxic waste dump in NJ.
...His body was taken to NJ, mixed with concrete and rests as part of the New York Giant's football stadium.
...He was buried in a gravel pit in Highland, MI, crushed by an automobile compactor in Hamtramck, MI or buried in a field in Waterford Township, MI
...He was ground up at a meat processing plant and dumped in a Florida swamp or into a fat-rendering plant
No one imagines a normal burial for Hoffa. The scenarios make it seem like a mob hit. Who else would cart a body to New Jersey? Who else has access to the sort of VEHICLES necessary for this sort of demise.
He was declared legally dead in 1982 but his case remains open. Unlike Tony Soprano or Don Corleone, Hoffa's persona could not be successfully glamorized. It was men like Jimmy Hoffa who made the Teamsters and other unions look like a bunch of thugs.
For more My Town Monday contributions, see Travis Erwin right here.