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THIS MONTH IN HISTORY
At first glance, any American can tell you what happened on at least one day in July history. (I’ll give you a hint: It’s after July 3.) Instead, how about a pleasant jaunt down a dark lane, filled with mobsters, fraud, and murder? You’ll find all that and more in the fascinating story of Jimmy Hoffa, who disappeared on July 30, 1975. Jimmy Hoffa was born in 1913 and became an important union activist in his 20s. By the time he was in his 40s, he had become the national vice president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), which became the largest union in the U.S. But he had to step on a few toes to get there. Little is known about Hoffa’s mafia activity during several decades, but in 1964, he was convicted of attempted bribery, jury tampering, and fraud (basic mob stuff). He was sentenced to prison, but he struck a deal with President Richard M. Nixon for a presidential pardon if he resigned from the union.
At 2 p.m. on July 30, 1975, Hoffa visited the parking lot of the Machus Red Fox Restaurant in Bloomfield, Michigan, near Detroit. He told his friends he was there to meet with two mafia leaders. After 30 minutes, a frustrated Hoffa called his wife from a pay phone to say he would wait for a few more minutes. He hung up the phone and was never heard from again.
Wild speculation has surrounded his disappearance. After several decades and thousands of leads, including some from former friends and associates, the Hoffa case remains unsolved. One theory commonly retold in pop culture is that Hoffa was killed and stuffed in an oil drum that was buried under Giants Stadium in New
Jersey, as several ex-mobsters claimed in a 1989 Playboy article. However, when the stadium was demolished in 2010, the FBI searched for remains and found none. You may know what happened on July 4, 1776, but we’re afraid you may never know what happened to Jimmy Hoffa. Forty-two years later, the FBI claims that the investigation is ongoing.
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