Back in the summer of 1975, I was training horses for August A. Busch, Jr., the beer baron of Anheuser-Busch fame. It was great experience because it took me around the country and most of Europe competing in some of the top horse shows in the world. Part of our schedule that summer was to be in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan at the Motor City Championship – a 14 day extravaganza of international competition.
Wherever there are horsemen, there will be a good watering hole to quench our thirst and fill our hunger after a long day of competing. In Bloomfield Hills, there was such a place - Machus Red Fox - decorated in an English country, hunt-club motif, and rich in red velvet with dimly lit booths. Nightly we would go there to re-live the days adventures and do a little horse trading. Sometimes we would even go over for lunch to excape the heat and dust of the show ring.
On July 30, 1975 I did just that… not having any afternoon events, I headed over to the Machus Red Fox restaurant for a cold beer and a thick juicy steak burger. Easing into a back booth, I enjoyed the peace & quite, the cool comfort of air conditioning and watching the local patrons. One such patron was Jimmy Hoffa… I knew this from a sassy old waitress who had pointed him out on a previous visit. There he sat, all alone - commanding in his bravado manliness; louder than needed, but a bit mysterious in his actions, watching the coming and goings at the front door. And there I sat, also alone - just Jimmy and I having lunch – making eye contact just to acknowledge each others presence.At the time I did not think much of it, I just enjoyed the moment; even when he got up to leave. He roughly called out to no one in particular his goodbyes and left. Never to be seen again…
Jimmy Hoffa, president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, was an influential US labor leader with alleged ties to the Mafia. As a young man, he developed a reputation for standing up for coworkers and clashing with management. In 1964, he was convicted of attempted bribery and spent seven years in jail before President Richard Nixon commuted his sentence in 1971 on the condition he not participate in union activities for 10 years. In 1975, Hoffa was planning to sue to invalidate that restriction in order to reassert his power over the Teamsters when he disappeared at, or sometime after, 2:45 pm on July 30, 1975 from the parking lot of the Machus Red Fox restaurant in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. He had scheduled to meet two Mafia leaders, Anthony "Tony Jack" Giacalone from Detroit and Anthony "Tony Pro" Provenzano from Union City, New Jersey and New York City. But they never showed up.
Now 34 years ago to the day, his unexplained disappearance has prompted decades of speculation. Here are just a few of the theories surrounding it:
· Former Mafioso Bill Bonanno claimed in his book, Bound by Honor, that Hoffa was shot and put in the trunk of a car that was then run through a car compactor.
· Convicted mob hitman Donald Frankos, alias "Tony the Greek," has claimed that, while on furlough from prison (where he was incarcerated for a previous murder), he committed numerous hits, including that of Hoffa. Frankos claims that Hoffa was murdered in a house belonging to Detroit mobster Anthony Giacalone by a team consisting of Frankos and Westies gangster Jimmy Coonan, and that the body was subsequently buried in the foundations of Giants Stadium by another hitman, Joe "Mad Dog" Sullivan. The MythBusters showed that his body is not in any of the several locations often suggested (including directly under the 50-yard line.) To paraphrase Adam Savage, they would have had to dig up the entire stadium to prove Hoffa was not there, and that would have been prohibitively time consuming and expensive, so they only checked in places where he is commonly believed to have been buried.
· Hoffa's body was buried in concrete in or near the Straits of Mackinac Bridge.
· Hoffa’s body was buried on the sidelines of the polo fields or behind the barns at the Bloomfield Hunt Club.
· Hoffa's body was buried in a residential area in Hamilton, New Jersey.
· Hoffa's body was shipped across the border and resides at the Mondo Condo in Toronto, Canada.
· Hoffa's body was buried in the concrete foundation of the Renaissance Center in Detroit.
· Hoffa's body was cremated in the animal crematory at the Wayne State University Medical School in Detroit.
No one really knows what happened that fateful day when Jimmy and I had lunch. But I do know that I finished my burger & beer and headed back to the horse show feeling content that it was a terrific day and my life lay ahead with unknown adventure.