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NY Rep. Zeldin pushes DOJ to come clean, declassify info on death of Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa

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A Republican lawmaker from New York is pushing Justice Department officials to come clean about what is known regarding the disappearance of Teamsters union boss Jimmy Hoffa, who went missing in the mid-1970s.

“It would be fantastic closure for the Hoffa family, for those who knew him, and for the American public,” Rep. Lee Zeldin said this week, the New York Post reported. “Declassification should have been done years ago. This should have been released.”

Zeldin has filed a congressional request for the FBI to open up all of its case files on Hoffa and release them to the public.

James Riddle Hoffa, a noted labor leader in his youth, rose to prominence within the then-fledgling Teamsters union in the 1930s and 1940s. In 1957, he took over as president of the organization and quickly gained popularity and respect from its members for being a tireless advocate for even the lowest-ranking member.

While he gained power and influence in corporate America and in Washington, D.C., he and other Teamsters officials also developed business relationships with the Mafia that including racketeering, embezzlement, and extortion, which drew the attention of federal investigators. He was convicted of bribery in 1967 and sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Nevertheless, Hoffa never ceded his position as leader of the union, so he sought to reassert himself within the organization after then-President Richard Nixon commuted his sentence in 1971. 

Though he was barred as a condition of his release from participating in union activities for 10 years, Hoffa planned to fight the ban in court. However, on the afternoon of July 30, 1975, he disappeared from the parking lot of a Detroit-area restaurant and his whereabouts never revealed.

Most theorists believe Hoffa was killed by the mob as a means of protecting the leadership of the Teamsters that had taken control while he was in prison. While that’s just speculation, Zeldin believes it’s past time Americans knew the truth.

“We have a process in our country, once you get past 25 years or so, that items like this should be declassified and released publicly and here we are, it’s been 45 years,” he said, according to The Post. 

“You still have members of the Hoffa family, members of the Teamsters, and the public interest in this information. It is a message to let them know that Jimmy Hoffa has not been forgotten. His legacy lives on and we will not rest until we get these answers,” the New York Republican continued.

Zeldin’s request is based on several key aspects of the case that are being laid out in a currently-streaming Fox Nation series, “Riddle, The Search for James R. Hoffa.”

“You’ll see these papers being released to the public,” former federal prosecutor Alex Little said in the series. “I think it can work. I think the question for the FBI is, how important is it to you to let the public know what happened? And I think these sorts of crimes that are infamous, that do get a lot of public attention, are exactly the ones that are important for the public to know about.”

In the most recent episode, the series reported that Hoffa was murdered by mob hitmen, dumped in a steel drum, and then buried at a Mafia-owned landfill in New Jersey.

A few months after Hoffa disappeared, the FBI searched the Genovese crime family-owned PJP Landfill after being tipped by Ralph Picardo, a mobster-turned-informant, as well as other intelligence the bureau had obtained via wiretaps.

The FBI did not find Hoffa’s body, but the spot where it allegedly was buried “rests a few feet from the dump’s property line and was technically not part of the search area,” The Post reported.

“Here you have evidence that Moscato’s dump is possibly where Jimmy Hoffa is buried,” Zeldin said, referencing the landfill then owned by Phillip “Brother” Moscato.

“The FBI had gone there in the past, they tried hard and maybe they weren’t searching the right sites, for whatever reason. They were unsuccessful, but Jimmy Hoffa could still be buried there,” he added. 

“And if what has been provided through your good work, going back to the early stages of this investigation, Moscato’s dump would really still, to this day, be the resting site for where Jimmy Hoffa was buried and still remains today.”

That plot of land today is owned by the New Jersey Department of Transportation, The Post reported.

Jon Dougherty

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